Me and My Money: Gillian Boyes, Financial Markets Authority

Gillian Boyes, FMA
Gillian Boyes, Financial Markets Authority (FMA) manager investor capability spoke to Newshub about the traits that coincide with being a saver. Photo credit: Supplied.

"I love the feeling of control that saving gives me. 

"When I do spend, my poor family and friends will attest to me being very deliberate: I’ll spend hours researching, comparing and getting the best possible option."

Gillian Boyes, manager investor capability, Financial Markets Authority.

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 regular feature that investigates Kiwi attitudes towards money and what drives the choices they make.  

As FMA's manager investor capability, Gillian Boyes helps Kiwi investors be capable and informed so they can make confident decisions about their finances. She's especially passionate about helping women build confidence in investing.

Boyes spoke to Newshub about the personality traits that coincide with being a saver and why people are reluctant to get advice on where and how to invest their money.

She suggests automating savings, (e.g. setting up an automatic payment into a separate account) so there’s less time to think about it and shares how drip-feeding money into a managed fund has paid off.

1. Are you a saver or a spender?

Brought up as a saver, I love the feeling of control that saving gives me. 

When I do spend, my poor family and friends will attest to me being very deliberate: I’ll spend hours researching, comparing and getting the best possible option.

2. What was your biggest financial lesson, success or failure?

In the early 2000s, I invested in a high-risk fixed interest product where my money was locked in  for a year.

As similar offers ran into problems, I counted down the days until I got my money back. That type of product has since been outlawed.

3. Why are New Zealanders as a whole hesitant about getting financial advice and is that changing?

Research suggests reluctance to get advice isn’t just a Kiwi thing. 

The reasons for not getting advice (or at least investment advice), are similar in many countries: people think they’re not wealthy enough or that it’s too expensive. 

It’s changing internationally and I think it will change here. 

New advice laws now give people the option to receive different types of advice, like low-cost automated online advice services, or limited scope advice. Those might be really appealing to KiwiSaver members, or to online users who need an initial hand with selecting the right mix of investments to meet their goals but don’t necessarily need a full financial plan.

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

I bought the latest iPhone. 

As a saver, I’d spent a long time researching it and trying to convince myself a cheaper model was all I needed. 

But I love my phone - it takes far better photos than my old phone, the battery lasts (another pet hate of my old phone) and it fits perfectly in pockets. As I’m not one to upgrade every year, I reckon it’s great value for money.

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

I was walking past a shop on the weekend and spied a great pair of earrings. 

I walked in and bought them within three minutes. I put them on right away and have worn them twice since, so I feel they were a great choice. It helped that they were only $30.

6. What's your best saving tip?

Automate it. The less time I have to spend thinking about saving money, the better.

7. Does having more money increase happiness?

Personal finance writer Mary Holm quotes a great piece of research that suggests its age, not money that increases happiness. 

As someone with a lot more age, I’m happy to support this research.

8. What’s the best money advice someone's ever given you?

When my son was born, I worked for a funds management company. 

Colleagues suggested setting up a low-cost managed fund and drip feeding money into it for him. 

He’s now 18 and even with modest monthly deposits, it’s risen to enough to cover his first few years at University. It’s been an almost painless way to help him out.