In recent years, each Annual Report has reported a rise in Money Mentors client numbers and their associated debt – this year is no exception.
Once again, our financial mentors have seen an increasing number of people struggling with a high level of personal debt that has spiralled out of control because they could not meet their minimum payments.
A continuing rise in the number of clients presenting with complex needs such as mental health issues, high debt, food insecurity, and unstable housing situations has also been observed. These add, not only to the number but also to the length of each client session.
Money Mentors has a Ministry of Social Development (MSD) contract to provide Building Financial Capability (BFC) services to help people and whānau to improve their financial wellbeing. Alongside this, we also have a contract for Building Financial Capability Plus (BFC Plus) Kahukura which is an intensive service aimed at helping people and whānau with multiple and complex needs who are experiencing (or at risk of experiencing) extreme financial hardship.
This holistic approach to building financial resilience acknowledges that financial issues don’t occur in isolation of people’s wider social needs and fits well within Visionwest where the delivery of wraparound support is at the core of all we do.
The increase in the number of sessions has led to an increase in workload and hours for our financial mentors. Lockdown added to this further with isolating clients needing food deliveries or online “wellbeing” sessions. There are plans to add to our financial mentoring team.
An increase in demand for our Money Mentors service has led to an increase in the number of Financial Mentors which now totals five.
The combined debt of clients seen this year is $15,000,000 ($25,423 per client). Of this $1,000,000 has been saved, the rest is on its way to being paid off.
90 clients have been seen under the BFC Plus Kahukura contract; these whānau meet with a mentor weekly or fortnightly for up to 12 months.
The most common age ranges of clients are 26 – 35 years old and 46 – 65 years old. Many clients are approaching retirement age with high debt.
Our response to financial hardship
Tā mātou whakautu ki te āhuatanga rawakore
Total sessions delivered
Whānau received financial mentoring support
Whānau debt cleared
Stacey was apprehensive about letting someone advise her about her finances because she thought a budget advisor would dictate what she could do with her money. Her first visit to Visionwest Money Mentors changed both her mind and her life.