It’s Money Week, and we’re talking to well-known New Zealanders about their financial lives and the lessons they've learned over the years.
We continue the conversation with Fonterra Chief Operating Officer Global Consumer & Foodservice, Lukas Paravicini, who opens up about what money means to him, his best investments, and some of the missteps along the way.
What were your parents like with money and what effect do you think it's had on your financial habits?
Between the First and Second World Wars there was no work in Europe so my parents emigrated from Switzerland to Argentina where they had to start out from scratch. It was hard work for my father and he had to put in extra effort and work long hours to succeed. And while we were comfortable, my father would always remind us that money was not easy to come by and that you have to put in the effort and earn it.
What was your first job and how much did it pay?
When I was young I got a monthly allowance from my parents but it never seemed enough. When I was 17 and my allowance kept running out, I took on my first ever job as a delivery boy for a furniture company. It was hard, heavy work and I had to be at work by 4:00am every morning. From memory they paid me $110 for the very long day.
What was your best financial decision or purchase?
We have been fortunate to live in a number of countries around the world. In each case we have invested in a home in that country as it makes us feel that we are more part of the local community. Over the years the homes we have bought have increased in value and this has provided us with a good financial return over the long term.
What was your worst financial decision or purchase?
When I was a teenager I bought an expensive keyboard. I couldn't really afford it and I was paying it off from my allowance each month. Eventually my parents could see I was struggling and they helped me sell it. Ever since then I have always paid for everything up front.
Has there been a time in your life when you didn't know how you were going to pay the bills?
Not since the keyboard episode in my teens. I am conservative when it comes to finances.
What does financial freedom look like to you?
First and foremost it is all about ensuring my family are comfortable and happy in their surroundings and that my kids have access to good education. Following on from that is having the freedom to get involved in activities you enjoy — such as travelling.
What's been the most difficult lesson you have learned about money?
Nothing too difficult, but when you are young, learning that there is no such thing as 'quick money' is important. For most of us it is all about putting in the effort and working hard and having a plan for the long term.
What plans do you have for saving for retirement?
As long as I keep good health, retirement should still be a way off! And while we don't have a specific plan, our real estate investments will form an important part of the plan together with some portfolio investments.
What financial advice would you give to your younger self?
I think younger people should be prepared to take a bit more risk while they are young. They should enjoy life, take a few chances and try putting some of their money in to different investments. Later on in life they can look at making some smart choices on how they can turn those investments into longer term savings to ensure that they can go through later years without too many worries.
You come into a surprise $100,000 windfall tomorrow. What do you do with it?
It may sound conservative, even boring, but I would put a good portion of it into our long term savings and put some aside for a nice trip with my family.