Santana Maihi is a Relationship Consultant at Westpac NZ and volunteers as a Managing Your Money (MYM) Facilitator to teach ‘money skills sessions’.
How long have you been a MYM Facilitator?
I’ve been an active facilitator for one year. I became interested in the training when I started at Westpac two years ago, but I waited until I found my feet in my role within the bank.
Why did you want to become a facilitator?
I saw a post on our internal social networking platform looking for facilitators, which ended up being at my iwi’s education hui.
I was going to the hui anyway, so I put my hand up to participate and I really enjoyed it. After that event, I got in touch with the program manager and trained to become a facilitator.
What is the most rewarding part of the role?
Being able to help everyday people who do not work in the banking industry, by passing on knowledge that can improve their financial lives.
What types of groups attend the MYM workshops?
Sometimes they’re high school students who know nothing about banks. Others are kids who do understand how to manage finances from their experience with pocket money and debit cards.
We also teach employees within organizations – some who understand investments, savings, insurances and mortgages, and others who do not.
What subjects do you teach within the session?
We facilitate sessions on understanding debt, credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts. We can also talk about Kiwisaver in a general way, so it’s not bank-specific to Westpac.
It’s generic advice. We teach skills surrounding insurance, wills and attorneys, as well as savings and budgeting sessions.
How often do you take training sessions?
This year I’ve done one or two every fortnight. It’s great to see the same people regularly for a few weeks to see their journey of development.
Can you think of an example of someone who reached a financial milestone after your sessions?
One person, who I gave information to about managing a mortgage, then later went into a bank branch to change their mortgage terms to work better for them.
What have you learned for your own financial life since becoming a facilitator?
I now understand the importance of having a will, power of attorney and insurance. And also how you can make Kiwisaver work for you.
I’ve also learned the difference between fixed and floating mortgage rates, which will help me when I do take on a mortgage in the future.
What do you wish you had known earlier in your life that you know now?
The importance of saving.
I’m usually a spender, but I know now the importance of putting away money for a rainy day and asking a lot of questions whenever going into a loan contract.
I got my first loan when I was 20. It was an overdraft and I didn’t care about the interest rate, I just thought of it as free money. Now, I understand the importance of asking lenders more questions.
What has been one of your most memorable financial milestones?
When I first realized I had saved enough savings for a holiday and had extra put away for a rainy day. I also bought a car with my own money after saving for that milestone.
When I was younger, I never saved anything.