New Zealand's first ever Money Week kicks off this Sunday, an initiative by the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income which encourages kiwis to spring clean their finances and manage their money a little better.

"Money Week is about encouraging all kiwis to give their finances an annual check-up and make adjustments if necessary," Commissioner Diana Crossan said in a statement.

"Worries about money can put major strain on relationships, within families and even affect the workplace - the key to getting on top of your finances is to take control and make sound decisions."

Money Week's spring clean should include, setting short, medium and long-term goals, putting surplus income towards paying off debts faster, checking your insurance is up-to-date and looking into KiwiSaver or other retirement saving schemes, Crossan said.


Reserve Bank figures from May show kiwis owe about $3.6 billion in interest-bearing credit card balances. At an average rate of 17.7 per cent that means kiwis are paying about $639 million annually in interest alone.

"Most people think about their finances when faced with big life events such as studying, starting work, buying a house or retiring," New Zealand Bankers' Association, chief executive Kirk Hope said. "Knowing how to best manage your money to meet your needs and aspirations helps you, your family and your community - it's also essential to our country's economic growth."

During Money Week free financial education activities will be undertaken by a range of organisations across the country, including money management, investment seminars and competitions for school children.

Money Week runs from September 2 to 8.