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Commission teams up with NZ Defence Force to build financial capability

Posted to Financial Capability on 04-09-2015

A series of face-to-face programmes has been piloted across the Navy, Army and Air Force to help Defence Force personnel and their families change the way they think about and manage their personal finances.

The programmes cover the basics of managing money, including goal setting; budgeting; saving; and dealing with debt, as well as investing; KiwiSaver, home loans; insurance; and wills.

It’s a joint initiative between the Commission for Financial Capability and New Zealand Defence Force, to promote and support financial capability and wellbeing, and which is being highlighted during Money Week 2015.

The programme aims to contribute to effective financial practices, reduce financial problems and improve independence and financial security for defence personnel and their families. So far, four pilot programmes have been run at Linton, Devonport and Whenuapai.

Damien Gillett-Jackson, Ordinary Marine Technician, who attended a course at HMNZS Philomel, in Devonport, said: “Before taking the course I felt like I was already quite on to it when it came to money. I was curious to see what I was missing so I put my name down.

“Turns out I was missing much more than I realised. After the KiwiSaver session my whole mind-set towards retirement and the scheme itself changed for the better. After the home loans session I have also completely changed my plans when it comes to where and how to buy my first home.”

An important family workshop brings in the participants’ relatives to help seal that commitment from the rest of the household about getting financially sorted for life.

Lieutenant Bryce Morgan said: “I learned about how to get my credit history and to understand how it impacts future financial decisions. Most importantly, it made me realise the benefits of taking control of my finances. Few places teach that, for free, these days.”

Susan Hyatt added: “I wished I had been given the information years ago, it could have made a real difference to my financial affairs and stopped me making some big mistakes.”

NZDF hopes participation in the programmes will lead to changing attitudes, increased confidence and enhanced family wellbeing; anticipating this will also have a positive impact on personnel engagement and productivity.

The programmes run over several weeks and present some challenges unique to the Defence Force, including postings and deployments that make it difficult for some to complete the course.

The Commission is researching ways  to make up for this, including completing the workshops missed next time the programme is run, as well as a webinar option for each module to help people complete the programme if they have been deployed.

Rebecca Cameron-Turner, the Commission’s Programme Delivery Manager, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with NZDF. Personnel are really engaged and receptive to the facilitative delivery of each workshop. Facilitation taps into the wisdom of the participants and draws ideas out.

“This means that those who take part actively contribute to the learning and are empowered to make changes to or simply enhance the way they manage their personal and family finances.

“Each participant’s learning is personal to them and the variety of topics covered allows for people of all levels of financial capability to benefit from the programme.”

With more than 14,000 NZDF personnel plus their families, 105,000 RSA members and 31,000 veterans, there is significant scope to build financial capability across all generations.

Damien Gillett-Jackson added: “I’d highly recommend the course to anyone interested. It is rewarding and the commitment pays off. Choosing not to do it could cost you in the long run.”


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