Me and My Money: Dion Jones

Dion Jones, ceo of Instant Finance.
The new CEO of Instant Finance shares his views on money. Photo credit: Supplied.

"I do believe [money] is an enabler in some ways, but not that happiness actually comes with having more. 

"If money could buy time, the answer would be "yes."

 Dion Jones, CEO of Instant Finance.

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 Dion Jones, the new CEO of Instant Finance, about his top goal for the business and how this will be achieved, the convenience of buying online and how money is an enabler, but having more of it doesn't equate to happiness.

What is your goal as the CEO of Instant Finance?

The number one focus is ensuring customers can afford the loan they seek without putting them in a precarious position.  

The sad reality is that many New Zealanders need to borrow for things we take for granted, e.g. car repairs, school or sports uniforms.

Whilst we help by creating a budget, [lack of] financial literacy (or even priorities) is a general problem we see very often and is one of the reasons why we launched the 'Makers of Possible Study Award' (a grant of up to $2500 that can be used towards education or training).

How do you ensure that customers can afford the loan? 

A household budget [based on] affordability is undertaken with every loan application processed.

Fees, procedures for distressed payments and total costs are explained in detail with all customers before we allow a loan to be drawn down. 

Are you a saver or a spender?

Definitely a saver.

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

Both. We generally go with a middle-of-the-road option based on price, but always with a trusted brand. 

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

A wireless charger for my iPhone...a game-changer!

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

Yes. I have always tended to use the internet to research items before purchasing, but in recent years I’ve used online much more often.

There is normally a greater variety online, but primarily, the convenience of home delivery is what I like.  

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

Given my retail banking background, I have generally favoured property as a form of investment. The smaller capital outlay and having something tangible made it attractive to me. 

However, I’ve slowly shifted towards high yield shares now, to chase better returns (and diversify a little). Fixed managed funds comprising shares, property, cash and other classes have also proven successful.

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

I purchased a new suit (online) because it was on sale, not because I needed it. I don’t do this often!

Do you have a household budget?

Not a comprehensive one, however, we do put set amounts into savings each week towards larger items, like planned holidays and home improvements.   

Does having more money increase happiness?

I do believe it is an enabler in some ways, but not that happiness actually comes with having more money. If money could buy time, the answer would be "yes." 

What's your golden rule for saving money?

Save first from each pay, then pay the bills. [There's] generally a way to meet commitments, without compromising savings goals. 

If [people] don’t save first, [they] may find there’s less leftover.

How much cash do you have on you right now?

$80. I always like to have cash on me for something (normally the kids). Otherwise, everything goes on the visa card to earn reward points, which we pay off monthly to avoid interest charges.

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