Me and My Money: Kathryn Wilson, CEO

"Obviously, we're not able to be physically in-store for click and collect. 

"We're also not able to process and send out online orders, so it's a really tough time as it means zero income."

Kathryn Wilson, CEO.

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.  

Having started her business 18 years' ago, Kiwi shoe designer Kathryn Wilson says being unable to go in-store for click and collect, or to process and send out orders during the level 4 lockdown has been "really tough" and means "zero income".

But she sees the COVID-19 lockdown period as an opportunity to come up with fresh ideas and plan events.

Having been careful with her money from her early 20's, Wilson bought her first home, an apartment, at age 26. Now, her investment focus revolves around her family home and holiday home.

1. How is the level 4 lockdown affecting your business?

Level 4 is tough for all retail businesses.

Obviously, we're not able to be physically in-store for click and collect. We're also not able to process and send out online orders, so it's a really tough time as it means zero income.

We're mindful that level 4 will not be forever and is necessary to stay home and stay safe. Our staff and customers are our priority.

2. Do you have any words of wisdom for other business owners during the level 4 lockdown period?

Take it one day at a time.

Try to use this down-time to find headspace to come up with new, fresh ideas to work on once our alert levels begin to lift.

It's human nature to want to come together and connect as people - which is what customers will want to do when we're allowed to.

We're using the time to plan fun events and hostings to put in-place when we can.

3. Are you a saver or a spender?

I save until I have enough to spend! 

I'm a bit 'old school': I don't like to use credit cards or owe any money to the bank. If I want something special, I put money aside until I have enough to buy it.

4. What's been your biggest financial lesson, success or failure?

I bought my first apartment at 26 years old, off my landlord at the time. This was back in the day when buyers only needed a $10,000 deposit. 

I used all my dividends (bonus payments) to pay down that loan. By 31, I was mortgage-free and sold that apartment to buy the next bigger home. 

I was always tempted to use the money for a holiday, a new designer handbag, etc. But looking back, I'm now so grateful that from my early 20's, I was sensible with money.

5. What do you know about money now that you wish you'd known sooner?

Start a savings account early: the earlier in life the better.

Even putting aside $50 a week now, with the benefit of compound interest, turns into a lot of money in 25 years' time.

Don’t touch your savings: leave them as long as possible. They'll grow without you realising. 

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

I’m not really an impulse shopper.

If it's a large purchase, I'm likely to take my time thinking it through and justify all the reasons why it’s a great idea.

By the time I've decided to buy, I feel content knowing it's what I really want or need.

7. What's your preferred form of investment and why?

Over the years, I've had savings in term deposits.

Now, our family home and holiday home in the Coromandel are our focus for investment.

8. What's your best saving tip?

Pretend it's not real money and wasn’t yours to spend anyway!

My husband and I put a small amount aside each week for each of our daughters' savings accounts.

If the money isn't taken out, it's amazing how quickly their savings grow.

After five-to-six years, their savings accounts have more money than ours. 

9. The best money advice someone's ever given you?

To be respectful (and avoid paying interest), to always pay people the money they're owed before the due date.

Secondly, to always pay taxes on time. 

The views expressed in this article are personal and are not professional financial advice.