From the Momentum Waikato Annual Report 2023 - see full report in PDF.

Managing your own finances wisely is a life skill that is becoming ever more important for survival and wellbeing in the modern world, and yet many people don’t know how to make money work for them and often pay a high price for that lack of understanding.

Cambridge philanthropists John and Nicola Kenel see this knowledge gap as a serious issue for the wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and the nation. Treasury recommended in 2010 that financial literacy be added to the school curriculum, but with no sign of that actually happening, they decided to get on with actively supporting financial literacy training in the community.

So in mid-2022 they made a significant founding donation to establish the Waikato Financial Literacy Fund at Momentum Waikato. It offers grants for well-run local financial literacy programs for kids and teenagers, and providing access to relevant online tools and apps, such as ‘SquareOne’.

John is the director of successful medium-density housing developer Assured Property. His concern and passion for good money management comes from his own life experience. He was one of seven children, his parents both immigrants who started with nothing in New Zealand and then worked their way up from there.

“The financial responsibilities that people need to take on are becoming increasingly complex, with factors such as retirement planning and recognising risk becoming ever more critical.

“It is all about being able to distinguish between a want and a need. It is easy to get into debt but not out of it. If you budget and save, you’ll then be able to invest, and its investment that gets you ahead,” said John.

“There is no reason you can’t live reasonably well, making good decisions and not worrying about money, but you need to know how.”

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