How to move forward after a crisis

5 min read
23 August, 2021

There's a clear link between money and wellbeing. Over 55% of Kiwis agree that financial issues affect their overall wellbeing. That's more than half of us.

The pandemic has significantly impacted New Zealanders' wellbeing, confidence, resilience, job security and financial preparedness (Financial Resilience Index). Yep, it’s been a rough one, but there are lessons we can take from this challenging time, and others like it. 

In this article, we look at how to navigate unexpected global events and improve your ability to weather future storms.

1. Talk to your nanna 

If anyone can shed some light on how to get through global crises with minimal stress, it’s your nanna. When we tracked wellbeing before and during the pandemic, we noticed that older generations were a lot less worried about money than younger New Zealanders; 27.4% of the Millennial generation worried about money daily compared to 0.6% of those aged 73 and older. 

Our latest Financial Resilience Index, released in May 2021, showed a similar trend. Those aged 73 and older were slightly more worried (9.6% were worrying about money daily), but worrying a lot less than younger Kiwis. 

Your grandparents, if they’re still alive, have a lifetime of unexpected events they’ve had to navigate. They may have endured redundancy, the passing of friends and family members, recessions, health scares and perhaps much more. 

If all the change and uncertainty of this strange new world is leaving you feeling confused at what to do, ask someone older and wiser to impart some of their knowledge.  

2. Build your rainy day fund 

A rainy day fund is money that you set aside in case of an emergency – things like losing your job, a family member getting sick, the car needing urgent repairs, or a global pandemic. As a general rule, you should aim for a minimum of three months of expenses in a rainy day fund. 

If you don’t have one of these yet, you’re not alone. According to our research, only about a third of Kiwis could survive for one month and around a quarter for three months. More than 25% would not be financially stable at all. But it’s never too late to start! 

Calculate what three months of expenses would add up to (or however much is your goal). Then set up a separate bank account. This is important, as you don’t want easy access to this money. Every time you get paid, transfer a set amount across into your rainy day fund and make any extra payments you like until you reach your goal.  

Want to learn more about rainy day funds (also known as 'emergency funds')? Kate Reddington from Sorted talks about them on Episode 2 of Money and You below:

You can never be totally prepared for a crisis, but if you have a buffer you'll have the peace of mind you can get through it financially.  

3. Learn the language of money 

There's no better time to learn about managing your money better than after a hit to your finances, so start now and start making wiser decisions for your future. 

Here are a few suggestions. As with anything you read or listen to, just remember that it’s not financial advice, so take your personal situation into account or seek professional advice: 

  • Read up: Support your local bookstore or borrow a personal finance book from the library. There are plenty of NZ-specific reads that explain things clearly for the not-so-financially-savvy, and we've got a list of some of them on our resources page.

  • Listen up: The Happy Saver, Cooking the Books (NZ Herald), Smart Money (Newstalk ZB) and Your Money (RNZ) are just some Kiwi personal finance podcasts that will inspire you to manage your money better. 

  • Go online: Subscribe to finance newsletters and join online personal finance forums. Sorted’s website has plenty of great resources and online tools, including a goal planner, budgeting tool and debt calculator. 

4. Consider a side hustle or portfolio career 

The FSC's Financial Resilience Index, which tracks our financial confidence, financial literacy, financial preparedness, job security and wellbeing, found that the pandemic has impacted our sense of job security.  

So many small businesses and industries like tourism, retail and hospitality are doing it tough. If you work in one of these industries, what can you do to improve your feeling of job security? 

One possible idea could be to turn a hobby you have into a side hustle that earns you extra money outside of your primary job. 

Start small, whether it’s making cakes, doing odd jobs around the house, photography, pet sitting or repairing old clothes. You never know what it could turn into, and should your job become unstable in the future, you’ve got something to fall back on.  

A portfolio career is where you undertake several paid activities at a time, instead of working full time for a single employer. You might combine a part time job with freelance work, for example. If one of these income sources is severely affected by a recession (or a global pandemic), you’re less likely to lose your entire source of income.  

Before leaping into that side hustle, though, it's important to do the following:  

  • Make sure the boss is on board: Check with your current employer that you’re able to undertake freelance or contract work in addition to your existing contract.  

  • Research your tax obligations: Read up on how to meet your tax obligations and other important details. As a starting point, has some helpful resources on becoming a sole trader and starting your own business.  

  • Read up on IP: Understand what Intellectual Property (IP) is and why it’s important when starting a new business. 

  • Chat to a mate: Talk to someone you know who’s self-employed are about how they’ve made  things work. There are some things that you only really learn from doing, so getting that personal perspective can be incredibly helpful. 

5. Ask for help 

Money troubles can be hard to talk about at first, but you might find that opening up to a close friend or family member will bring relief. 

If you’re struggling to pay the mortgage, talk to your bank about financial hardship options. MoneyTalks is a free financial helpline where you can get advice and support from trained financial mentors. 

Enlisting the help of a professional financial adviser could be worthwhile if your goal is to become more financially prepared and secure. After all, Kiwis who have gotten financial advice are 15% more likely to survive an income shock for longer than one month.

Your bank will have financial advisers available, and there are plenty of self-employed financial advisers around the country – you can search the Financial Service Providers Register to find one. Many advisers also offer their first consultation free of charge, so ask if you can take them up on that offer. 

We hope this blog has given you a few ideas of how you can start to move forward from these tough times


This information is general information only. It is not intended to constitute financial advice and does not take your individual circumstances and financial situation into account. We encourage you to seek assistance from a trusted financial adviser or other professional advice. 

The links that are provided are additional resources that you access at your own risk and the FSC takes no responsibility for any third party content. 

The FSC and its employees make no express or implied representations or give any warranties regarding this information and we accept no responsibility for any loss, damage, cost, or expense (whether direct or indirect) incurred by you as a result of any error, omission, or misrepresentation in this information. 

23 August 2021

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