What was your first job?
My first job was working on my dad's milk run in Ashburton at the age of 12. I had to start at 4.30am and it was no fun in the winter, I can assure you. It nearly came to a premature end one dark morning when, clutching an armful of bottles, I reached into a box and grabbed what I thought were the empties.
Instead my fingers sank into something warm and soft and there was a horrendous shriek, and I screamed even louder myself, dropping the full milk bottles. Ever since then I haven't been a real fan of cats.
However, my first career role was as a teller at the Post Office Savings Bank at 17, which reminds me just how old I am now.
What did you learn from it?
The Post Office Savings Bank role made me think about the customer. I come from a family that talked about money because we had to count it every day from the takings of the milk run. I could see it growing, understood its value and how it worked.
However, for most of the customers I spoke to it was complicated and stressful. I learned to try to demystify it (both from a savings and lending perspective) so people could see how to make it work for them. Looking back over my career I have been trying to do that ever since.
What was the best advice you got from your parents?
I was very lucky my parents gave me a lot of love, support and advice, but the key nuggets for me were: treat people the way you would expect to be treated yourself, spend less than you earn and save it, and the harder you work the luckier you will become.
How will you relax over the summer break?
We are having a family Christmas here in Auckland with my Mum who is coming up from Ashburton, then heading to Ruakaka. I will be researching the bands playing at Laneways, listening to some new vinyl I bought this year and chilling out with friends and family.
What are the big challenges ahead for 2016
I worry about low interest rates for those that are on a fixed income in retirement, I worry that many New Zealanders who have mortgages aren't taking advantage of the low rates by reviewing their repayments and seeing how they could reduce the term of their loan, and I'm concerned about the access to quality information and advice that will help Kiwis improve their financial wellbeing.
The key challenge with all this in mind is how we look to help to get some of these key messages through all the noise of day-to-day life.
2015 has been a bit of a mixed bag but the economy is still in pretty good shape. I think next year might be a little tougher.
For your company
Somehow getting more New Zealanders to connect better with their financial future. If you can see how you would like it to look you have a much better chance of getting there.
A great foundation has been built this year at the commission, and a number of excellent programmes are in place to help with this.
As you know it is not the most sexy or exciting topic, however, the impact it can have on your overall wellbeing cannot be underestimated.
Our challenge is to help bring that to life even more next year with a number of great initiatives, so watch this space.
And for the wider economy?
2015 has been a bit of a mixed bag from an economic perspective but the economy is still in pretty good shape. I think next year might be a little tougher.
The expectations of continued growth in house prices most likely isn't sustainable at the levels we have seen over the past few years, and I don't think we should expect equity markets generally to return the double-digit performances they have over the same period, either.
So if you have investments for the long term, like KiwiSaver, review the fund you are in and if the market corrects don't panic - talk to your provider or adviser before making any decisions about switching to something more conservative.
For those that have mortgages this might be a good time to review what you have today and think about fixing some of it to mitigate against future rates increases.
Again, important to get some good advice on this.