"Contrary to popular myth, insurance companies take their role of looking after our customers very seriously, which means we cover all valid claims."
Chris Curtin, chief executive, AA Insurance.
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.
Insurance is often thought of as a grudge purchase: it costs money, yet there's nothing tangible to show for it.
But Chris Curtin, chief executive of AA Insurance, says insurers take their role seriously and pay out all valid claims. To the average Kiwi, insurance "is definitely not sexy". But helping people in the "direst of circumstances" is rewarding, he says.
Making money can be all-encompassing, but to Curtin, what's most important is balance. As in other areas of life, setting savings goals is important - if we're not working towards something specific, it's easy to overspend.
1. Are you a saver or a spender?
I've always wanted to feel financially safe by having a nest egg in the bank, even when I was a teenager.
Every now and again, I'll splash out on something. Spending can definitely feel good, for a little while at least.
2. What's been your biggest financial lesson, success or failure?
In my early twenties, I inherited some money which was enough to put a deposit on my first property.
I resisted the urge to spend it on a flash car (and it was a very strong urge).
In hindsight, it was the best decision I ever made!
3. What do you know about money now that you wish you'd known sooner?
Making money is only one aspect of achieving overall wellbeing.
It's important to also invest in relationships, hobbies, health and having fun.
Balance is the most important thing in life.
4. What would you say to people who disregard insurance as 'boring'?
If you can afford to own a home, a car or precious possessions, making sure you protect them through insurance is really important.
Imagine being able to help someone in the direst of circumstances, for example someone who has lost their home and treasured possessions in a fire. That's truly rewarding.
Insurance is definitely not sexy from the outside looking in. But people who work in our industry find it exciting and fascinating, as well as rewarding.
And contrary to popular myth, insurance companies take their role of looking after customers very seriously, which means we cover all valid claims.
5. What's your preferred form of investment and why?
I'm a big believer in not having all my eggs in one basket.
When I first started work, I made sure I invested in a superannuation plan and haven't stopped.
Along the way as my circumstances changed, I've been able to invest in property and other areas to get my balance right.
6. What's your best saving tip?
Set a savings goal and stick to it.
Like anything in life, unless you set goals, you'll end up meandering to a place you didn’t necessarily expect.
7. The best money advice someone's ever given you?
My Mum was a spender and my Dad was a saver.
I watched what they both did, listened to their general advice about money, and ended up being fairly balanced.
Thanks Mum and Dad.
The views expressed in this article are personal and are not professional financial advice.