Retirement commissioner Diane Maxwell tells Annemarie Quill that women need to up their financial literacy and plan for the future. But it's not all bad - you can have the shoes and a retirement fund.

Diane Maxwell, Retirement commissioner, is coming to Tauranga in October to speak at the indulge Speaker Collective, a new event in association with Craigs Investment Partners taking place in conjunction with the indulge Bay Model and indulge Outlet Sale.

1. Growing up did you know you wanted to work in the financial sector?
It took me a long time to find my "pack" (see Women Who Run With The Wolves - strange but fantastic book). I spent years doing something I was good at but didn't really enjoy and then I got into banking. Banking is really the intersection of people, money and life, which means our homes, businesses, hobbies, dreams, health. It's all there.

2. How old are your children?
I have a 13-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son (and yes, I am 48).


3. Do you consciously talk to them about money, teaching them financial literacy?
Yes! There are so many mistakes I made with money that I'd like to save them from. And I keep telling my daughter about the importance of financial independence and always being able to earn your own money. Even if there are times in your life when you don't earn, you need to know that you can. It gives you choices about what you do, where you live and who you live with.

4. You were a single mother when your children were small - how did you manage with money then?
It was just my daughter and me for years and the only income came from me so things were tight. I got very good at bargain-hunting and home baking but we had a lot of fun and we really valued little treats like fish and chips at the beach. I was very focused on trying to buy us a home and it occurred to me that 150 years ago, for a woman alone, that wouldn't even have been an option. I wouldn't have been able to own property or earn enough to support us, we would have been at the mercy of somebody else. I think it's important that the next generation of women understands the significance of those changes, and just how much is possible today.

5. Do you believe women should manage their money separately from their partner/husband and why or why not?

I think that's a very individual decision and something couples have to determine for themselves. It's part of the bigger conversation around how you make your lives work together and who does what.

6. If you could share three pieces of advice about money and financial literacy with women, what would they be?
Women do need to get their head around relationship property laws and protect their assets, particularly as women enter new relationships later in life. It might feel unromantic to thrust an agreement under someone's nose, but you need to take a deep breath and make it a priority. It's called looking after yourself (and your kids). Remember that when you're older you will still be you. Pay it forward and buy your future self something. Sometimes buying lots of little things, and telling yourself you deserve them, stops you from getting the bigger things that you really deserve. Lipsticks, shoes, takeaways over a year add up to a holiday and over several years they add up to a house deposit. Decide which ones you really want and which ones will make you sleep better at night.

7. What common mistakes about money do women make?
Women are good at short-term budgeting but not always good at long-term planning. Women can allow emotion and "spirituality" to drive decisions, and rely on "the universe to provide", which doesn't always pan out. Men are more likely to get the calculator out and make some cold, hard, financial decisions. Women can also be too kind and sign personal guarantees for colleagues, family members and friends, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

8. Isn't saving boring, what about shoes?
Saving money might be boring, but having money is great. You need to go through one to get to the other. If you get it right, you get to have more of whatever it is you want, whether that's shoes, travel, your own home, that's up to you.

9. What age should you start thinking about your retirement and how?
Start thinking while at school. The key really is about "little and long", just small amounts, over a lifetime. It's the most painless way to do it. You don't need to knit your own shoes or survive on bread and water. Think about increasing the money coming in and decreasing what's heading out the door. Just one less coffee, shop smart, eat those leftovers, and drink cheaper wine (yes, really).



If you want inspiration to improve your financial literacy and get your finances into shape, come and listen to Diane Maxwell at the inaugural indulge Speaker Collective in association with Craigs Investment Partners.

Other speakers involved in the event include nutritionist Claire Turnbull and Jane Hastings, chief executive of NZME. There are also three local female entrepreneurs involved in the event: Rachelle Duffy - Little Big Events, Shaye Woolford - On My Hand Props, Styling and Flora and Danielle Cubis - Spongedrop Cakery.

Purchase tickets now from as little as $30 each