A Leg Up not a Crutch
The vision of the Rotorua Budget Advisory Service is for ‘the people of the wider Rotorua community to have the knowledge and skills to successfully manage their own financial affairs’. We have always seen ourselves as a ‘leg up’ rather than a ‘crutch’, knowing that ultimately the only people who can implement positive change is the client themselves. We have always helped people in crisis and will continue to do so but finding long term positive ways to get ahead requires client buy in, participation and willingness take on responsibility for themselves.
Our service was happy to see the changes made last year to the budgeting advice sector that focussed on trying to achieve our vision through building the financial capability of the Rotorua community and the rest of the nation. The old saying about teaching someone to fish rather than giving them a fish is very appropriate especially since fish is a food and one of the three basic necessities along with accommodation and power.
So how do you build someone’s financial capability? The theory says that because people are experts on their own lives they need to lead any actions that provide solutions to the issues they encounter. Identifying client strengths and then building on those is a key part of the process. However, in practice building someone’s financial capability requires a large ‘buy in’ from the client and can be difficult to do, after all if you got it wrong in the past you need to make changes so that you get it right in the future, and many people find change one of the most difficult things to deal with. However, another saying that change is the only constant in today’s world also rings true. It is a lot better to work towards change than have it forced on you.
The knowledge, skill, guidance and experience of budget advisers is still key as clients may not have the skills and experience to resolve their own financial issues and of course having an unbiased third party opinion is always good.
- Pakanui Tuhura (Manager – Rotorua Budget Advisory Service Inc)