Starting your first job.
You nailed the interview, the contract is signed, and you're all set to start earning wages for your first job. Here are some tips on setting up and managing your account.
Which bank account is the best fit for you?
Not all transactional accounts or savings accounts are created equal, and each will likely suit you at different stages in your life. At this moment, you probably don't want to be spending valuable wages on fees so look out for ways to keep your bank fees down. To see how we can help with your everyday banking, check us out here. And to see what savings accounts are on offer, you can find that information here.
When it comes to where to put your wages, the best place may be a transactional account as it's built for money to go in and out of on a regular basis. To keep transactions free, or at their lowest cost, look into online banking to manage your money, and do your spending from a Debit or EFTPOS card.
As with transactional accounts, savings accounts may be cheaper if they're operated online. To encourage you to park your money in savings, your bank will likely offer you interest (a percentage of what is in the account). There can be lots of ways your bank encourages you to save: paying bonus interest for putting money in but not taking it out, or making it harder or more expensive to withdraw for example.
Again, it's about knowing what's available and how you can best use an account to suit your needs. Take the time to compare accounts that are on offer, and ensure you know how to make the most of fee-free features.
Before you choose a savings account, work out what you're saving for. Is it a financial milestone (e.g. save $1000 in a year) or is it to purchase something (e.g. a new car in two years)? Your savings goals and the way you use the savings account will likely determine which is the best fit for you. Make sure it's right for you by talking to your bank.
How do I make sure I'm not going to spend everything I get?
Now, it's not surprising that getting some money in the bank makes you think of all the things you can spend it on, but the perfect time to start thinking about saving is at the beginning.
Below are ten simple tips to becoming a savings master
- Stick to the 50/30/20 rule
This is an extremely handy ratio to remember – spend 50% of your income on your needs and essentials, 30% on your 'savings (both longer term and for rainy day)' and put 20% away for gifts and other unexpected expenses.
If 20% seems a bit steep, aim for 10%. The 50/30/20 rule is simply about having a plan in place so we don't get too carried away and are getting into good savings habits right from the beginning.
- Budgets don't have to be boring
You don't have to calculate a budget in minute detail and have absolutely everything factored into it. It's more about knowing what your fixed costs are and being aware of what you're spending.
Knowledge is power and even something as simple as keeping a list of purchases in your smartphone can give you a clearer understanding of what portion of your income can be spent on the 'wants', and where you can make cut-backs.
If you have your main account with us, you might find our Cash Nav® app a helpful tool to honestly track where your money is being spent.
- You're never too young to start saving for your retirement
When you're 18, retirement can seem like a long time away. Turning 21 can seem like an age away. But time passes quickly and the reality is that in the future there's never going to be an ideal time to start saving – you can't start yesterday.
When you first start working, chances are you're going to have more disposable income than any other time in your life, so it's the best time to start putting the pennies away. New Zealanders are lucky to have KiwiSaver as a place to start saving for retirement.
As with anything financial, seeking advice is valuable to ensure you're making informed decisions. Below are a couple of independent websites that will offer a lot of helpful information, and don't hesitate to talk to your bank.
How does KiwiSaver work?
How can I compare KiwiSaver providers?
- Think about KiwiSaver as an option to buy your first home
One of the good things about KiwiSaver is that if you're a first time homebuyer, you can apply to withdraw the contributions that you and your employer have made to date to put towards the purchase of your first home.
You have to have been in KiwiSaver for three years before you can apply for the first home buyer withdrawal, so consider the ways you can increase your KiwiSaver contributions if home ownership is a goal within this time frame.
- Understand the cost of debt
Adulthood comes with a lot of freedoms as well as more responsibilities. One of those freedoms may be your ability to get lending, like a personal loan or a credit card. But as a responsible consumer, it's important to know what you're really signing up for if you do take out any lending products, with a bank, or any other financial provider.
First things first, savings is always the most cost-effective way to pay for things outside of your day-to-day budget. If this isn't an option for you, it's important to understand the entire cost of any debt.
As well as the purchase price, factor in what it's going to cost you in the long run, including things like establishment fees and interest, and any fees there may be should you miss a payment.
Avoid loans from third tier lenders (non-bank providers) which may cost a fortune in fees and interest. Avoid making purchases on a credit card if there's another option.
Different types of lenders charge different rates for interest and establishment fees (banks are usually the cheaper options), know what the interest will be and don't be afraid to shop around.
With interest free offers, make sure you'll be able to pay it off during that period. Store cards can be a trap – some with interest as high as 29% or more.
Before you take out any debt, make use of a debt calculator as they can be a real eye-opener for what you'll actually pay over the course of a debt.
- Only get a credit card with a limit that you're able to repay in full
It might sound like a no-brainer, but if you're earning $1000 a fortnight, don't apply for a credit card with a $4,000 limit.
To avoid high interest costs, you should be paying off your credit card in full each month and the only way that's going to happen is if it's within your earning potential. Again, research is important. Know what the card will cost you and consider annual fees and any interest you'll pay. Sometimes cards that have reward schemes may have higher annual fees, as do cards that have lower interest rates.
- Like Mum said: if you can't afford it, don't buy it
If you don't have the money to buy those shoes or go to that gig, don't do it. Living within your means is the easiest way to stay out of debt.
You can make it easier on yourself by withdrawing some cash and leaving your card at home when you go shopping or have a night out. If you have a credit card it should only really be there for bigger purchases or emergencies, but remember that saving for what you need is the most ideal way to manage your money.
- Always pay your bills on time
Just because the phone company isn't threatening to cut off your phone line, it doesn't mean that you're not incurring late payment fees.
Some companies offer prompt payment discounts for paying on time, which is a great way to save money.
It's also really important to keep track of what bills are in your name, particularly if you're flatting. If you move flats and the account is still in your name you'll be ultimately responsible for any unpaid bills. It can also contribute to getting a bad credit rating which can make it harder to borrow in the future.
- Download your bank's mobile banking app
Get across what your bank offers in terms of mobile banking. Our smartphones are always with us so apps are an excellent way to keep track of your money, whether you're in line at the supermarket or at home on the couch. The more you know about what your money is doing, the easier it is to reach the financial goals you're aiming for.
- Seen some bank talk you don't understand?
Head to our helpful bank terms page to get familiar with some of the language we use, and that you'll start hearing more and more in your working life.
Things you should know.
Westpac accepts no responsibility for the availability or content of any third party websites to which this page may refer.
The information above is subject to changes in government policy and law, and changes to the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme, from time to time.