Me and My Money: Craig Hudson

Craig Hudson, managing director of Xero.
The Managing Director of tech giant Xero shares his views on money. Photo credit: Supplied.

"'Bricks and mortar' is perceived as more tangible than buying shares - there’s less risk associated with it.

"The idea that you’re not a 'grown up' until you own a property is in the DNA of New Zealanders."

Craig Hudson, managing director at Xero.

Money.  It's the driving factor behind many life choices, but is it the be-all and end-all?

'Me and My Money' is a weekly feature that investigates Kiwi attitudes towards money and what drives the choices they make.

Newshub spoke to Craig Hudson, managing director - New Zealand and Pacific Islands at Xero about buying local, why Kiwis are fixated with investing in property and using 'cost per wear' to assess whether a buy is a good one.

Share an example of a goal that you achieved in 2019.

It wasn't a goal I set myself, but winning the 'Walk the talk' award at this year's Diversity Awards was pretty special to me. 

I'm passionate about making workplaces safe, inclusive places where every person has the opportunity to do great work. 

I'm really proud of the culture we've created at Xero, and the initiatives we’ve put in place to build positive wellbeing and work-life balance.

Are you a saver or a spender?

I used to be a spender in my younger days, but now I'm definitely a saver and will wear things out until they're broken. 

Having four kids does that to you!

You need a new dishwasher. Are you mainly driven by quality, price or both?

Both. To get value for money, there needs to be the right balance of quality and price.

Whiteware is often subject to competitive pricing, so most of the time, people can get high quality for a good price.

Give an example of a recent purchase that you consider great value for money.

I bought a couple of memory foam pillows that I now travel with because the quality of sleep they help provide is so good. 

Travel isn't easy when you're 6"4, so getting good sleep when I can is key.

Have your buying habits changed from in-store to online?

I value the experience of going into a physical store and having that human interaction. 

I also like the convenience of shopping online and think it's a valuable tool for retailers of all sizes to connect with their customers. I try to buy from local stores as often as possible to support the local community, whether that be in-store or online. 

Because of where I live, I often shop at Mighty Ape. They're just round the corner, so it's easy for me to go and pick up purchases - the user experience is awesome.

If you have spare money to invest, what would you invest in?

Property. 'Bricks and mortar' is perceived as more tangible than buying shares - there’s less risk associated with it.

The idea that you're not a 'grown up' until you own a property is in the DNA of New Zealanders.

That is starting to change as the ease of buying shares on platforms like Sharesies have started, but I think it's still a little bit ingrained in our society.

What was your last impulse or 'fritter' purchase and how did you feel about it afterwards?

On a recent trip to London for Xerocon, I bought a new pair of sunglasses. 

I'd worn the same pair for over five years with super glue holding the arms on - so you could say I was due for an upgrade.

That was my 'fritter' purchase - and now I feel pretty flash!  The 'cost per wear' is definitely down - a running joke in my family.

Do you have a household budget?

Yes, we do - but not as rigid as what we've done in the past, where every dollar was budgeted for the cost of living. 

[Having] lived that paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle where even $10 makes a difference, we're a bit more flexible now.

Does having more money increase happiness?

I don't think so. 

There's a point where you don't have to worry about blowing the budget if your car breaks down, for example. 

Being able to cover those unexpected costs definitely reduces stress, so in that respect it is good - but I don't buy into the idea that more money makes [people] happier.

What's your golden rule for saving money?

Being clear on what needs and wants are and trying not to keep up with the Joneses.

How much cash do you have on you right now?

$0! I never have cash. I find it incredibly frustrating having coins lying around. 

My wallet is on the back of my phone, so if you don't take paywave, you've lost me!