"I certainly can't complain about the rates and fees I'm paid.
"But there's no certainty: we never know exactly how much I will earn and when that income will come in.
"It makes planning really challenging: we live in either 'feast or famine'."
Paolo Rotondo, New Zealand film director, actor and playwright.
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.
Newshub spoke to Kiwi-Italian Paolo Rotondo, artistic director of the Italian Film Festival about the financial uncertainty that comes with working as an artist.
Sticking to his Italian roots, Rotondo prefers his Vespa to a car. Naturally risk-averse, he's grateful to own a home and has an investment property to help family. But if he did have spare cash lying around, he'd be more inclined to invest it in something that benefits the community.
1. Are you a saver or a spender?
Both. I try and not spend but invariably, I end up spending.
Money is like water to me: sometimes it rains, other times it evaporates.
2. What was your biggest financial lesson, success or failure?
My choice to be an artist and have a family was a bigger challenge than I anticipated. At times it's been a significant financial challenge - one that conditions your life journey.
I certainly can't complain about the rates and fees I'm paid. But there's never any certainty: we never know exactly how much I will earn and when that income will come in. It makes planning really challenging: we live in either ‘feast or famine’.
It's made me realise that choosing to be an artist can be both a generous and selfish choice.
3. Give an example of a recent purchase that you consider was great value for money:
Recently, I restored my Vespa PX200 that I've owned for 20 years. I keep it in Auckland for work, and now I cannot abide driving in a car in Tamaki Makaurau.
Blasting around on a Vespa designed for style and freedom makes me feel more Italian.
4. What was your last impulse or 'fritter' purchase, and how did you feel about it afterwards?
We bought a beautiful Bell tent on a bit of a whim. I thought it was a bit excessive because it was more expensive than practical tents.
But it is beautiful. As soon as we used it with the kids, I felt it was worth it.
5. What's your best saving tip?
If you have the opportunity to save, you must. But when you're stretched and can't save, don't feel guilty: seek the opportunity.
6. If you have spare cash to invest, what’s your preferred form of investment and why?
I personally don't believe in property speculation, but I'm grateful to have my own family home.
We also bought a rental property for the family, although we see that as a way to help rather than a pure investment.
I'm very risk-averse. My partner is much more of a calculated risk-taker and she dabbles in shares. We all have KiwiSaver accounts, including our children and we’ve chosen an ethical KiwiSaver provider for those.
If we were ever to have a sizable chunk of cash to invest, our preferred investment is probably cultural rather than financial. Maybe sustainable finance and restorative investments for community-led developments and investing in productive, creative endeavours - like the arts.
7. Does having more money increase happiness?
I used to idealistically insist that money does not equate to happiness. But now I realise that this was a privileged attitude. As soon as you have children (I have two), money begins to take on other associations, like responsibility, safety, basic needs, family holidays, and providing.
Those things make me a happier parent.
8. What’s the best money advice someone's ever given you?
When I'm worrying about money, my darling partner always reminds me to have 'plentiful thinking'.
The views expressed in this article are personal and are not professional financial advice.