15 Apr 2021

National Strategy for Financial Capability aims to simplify the language of finance

8:23 am on 15 April 2021

A new government-backed campaign group is being launched to get people smarter about their money after research showed panicked and bad investment decisions when Covid-19 first hit last year.

New Zealand currency held fanned out in someones hand

Photo: 123rf.com

The National Strategy for Financial Capability brings together more than 100 financial organisations to simplify the language of finance to help people make better and informed decisions around money.

The Commission for Financial Capability has taken the lead and brought together commercial, non-profit and government agencies, the major banks, insurance companies, budget and financial advisors, and iwi.

The head of the Commission and Retirement Commissioner, Jane Wrightson, said the time was right to push for getting rid of jargon, and replacing it with clear messages that would reach people from different cultural backgrounds.

She said the panicked response to Covid-19 was a wake-up call for the industry.

"I was taken aback because I was new to the sector then, about the wide range of response and panic from the public, particularly around KiwiSaver, in the first few months, before I realised that people had misunderstood that KiwiSaver wasn't a savings accounts, it was investment an account that would fluctuate," she said.

"We do need to understand the differences in simple terms between different kinds of investment products and different kinds of risks."

The strategy's three-year plan included the development of a jargon-free glossary as well as projects to help the sector work together to demystify money for the public.

Women, Māori and Pacific peoples will receive special attention in the first three years.

"By uniting under the umbrella of the national strategy, the sector will be better able to work together, with a shared purpose and vision, and defined objectives. It will reduce duplication, and help us to help the people we serve," Wrightson said.

She said the initial projects will be undertaken and funded by the industry.

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