Tim Walker’s Compulsory

There’s been talk of setting up all New Zealand babies with Government assisted, obligatory saving plans.

The problem is that Kiwi folk are just not that good at looking after themselves. Many of us seem to be going through life living from day to day but with no financial cushion; too many young adults in NZ are embarking on life in the real world, despite having been part of the workforce for a number of years, without any savings, with no assets, and still with no real idea of how to handle money.

So this new idea is to set up children with saving plans from day one – the Government will first line the account with an ‘incentive’ then match subsequent deposits up to a set amount each year, all with the intention that when the kid is old enough to handle money they’ll have some cash stashed away to put towards a house, some land, or a big party or something…

Sounds more like a pension for newborns. Sounds like a Labour initiative to me. Sounds ambitious. Sounds daft.

The fact is a high number of NZ children grow up without a lot of financial nous. This is a quality that should be instilled by parents or other caregivers but if that parental body is similarly ignorant, what are you going to do? Hand them a large lump of cash once they’ve reached twenty years’ old? Send them out into the world cashed up and stupid? Will that sort the problem?

No, it won’t. Education. Teach these kids how to deal with money. Too many young adults still lack this ability. Education is the key. Speaking of which, John Key, possibly the most fiscally astute person I have ever known, is not keen to pay a pension at both ends; he says it won’t work and damn it, I believe him.

Come on, Labour. Pull your heads in. Focus on education.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Des T Toot

Photography by Ed U Kay-Shinn

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