Our ‘Rooster Heroes’ series brings you financial experts from all over the world, asking them 10 quick fire questions on all things pocket money and allowances – so you learn from the best. They’re all leaders in their field, and they’re all people we at RoosterMoney admire.

This month we spoke to Tom Hartmann.

Tom is the Personal Finance Editor of the Commission for Financial Capability in New Zealand. Regularly publishing articles with top newspapers, Tom also posts a weekly personal finance blog on sorted.org.nz, a site full of great resources to help build financial capability and get people in control of their money.

1. What’s your earliest money memory? 🍼

The quarters. Not sure how old I was, but I used to get 0.25 or 0.50 cents a week as an allowance. I remember being a bit puzzled, as there didn’t seem to be much you could accomplish with one or two of those quarters, so they probably got spent on candy.

2. What did you want to be when you were a kid? 👶

I think I always wanted to be in a band and make music, which I eventually stopped pretending about and got around to doing so as an adult. I think I had a few things to say through songs, and now I do that in different ways.

3. What's your favourite candy? 🍬

Definitely M&Ms. But close behind are Hershey’s kisses and Reese’s peanut butter cups.

“When it comes to money matters, apparently I’m thoughtful, independent, imaginative, creative, ingenious…”

4. Describe your money personality 🤔

We’ve got a neat personality quiz on Sorted, which has me pegged as a “systems innovator”.

When it comes to money matters, apparently I’m “thoughtful, independent, imaginative, creative, ingenious, logical, analytical, critical, adaptable, innovative, scholarly, precise and flexible.”

Which all sounds good, although it also says I “enjoy the theorising, conceptualising and dreaming about your financial future”, but I “like to develop moneymaking systems but prefer to get others to administer, apply and execute them.” Sounds fishy…

5. What's the best bit about your job? 💼

People get into some sticky situations money-wise, so the best bit is seeing their anxiety subside when they get it sorted. They feel much better, and so do I.

6. Do you give your kids an allowance? And if so, what was the system? 💰

I’m the lucky dad to Eva-Marie (15), Theo (12) and Isaac (10), and we’ve had a four-jar system for some years now. That is, we started with four jars each, but now those have transitioned to their online accounts. But they’re still for the same things: spending, saving, giving, and growing. That last one is for making more money – investing or an entrepreneurial fund. It can be used for anything that will grow even more money.

“The best bit is seeing their anxiety subside when they get it sorted.”

7. Best piece of money advice you’ve ever been given? 🎓

Definitely “Pay yourself first.” Before all the other things to pay in life, bills, fun stuff, etc. – pay yourself first. Make sure your money is flowing the way you want it to. In fact, I don’t think I would have been so successful with giving my kids pocket money if I didn’t automate and set aside money first for it.

8. What’s your top tip for parents on teaching kids the value of money? 💡

My main message to kids and parents is an answer to the question of what money is for: “Money is for growing.” I’ve made a lot of money along the way and spent a lot. Made a lot, spent a lot. What I was missing was having money also growing in the background for the future. There should always be part of our money that is steadily growing – and when it is, we’re on the right track.

“There should always be part of our money that is steadily growing – and when it is, we’re on the right track.”

9. How will we be paying for things in 2040? 🤖

Sometimes we won’t. That is, we won’t be paying right when we get whatever it is we’re buying. We’ll just get the bill eventually and pay it automatically. I think the time between getting the goods and paying for it will probably increase.

10. Bonus: Favourite app on your phone (apart from RoosterMoney of course!) 📲

Sorted’s Debt Empire, where you play a loan shark and learn all about how debt works and what to watch out for.

One last thing from Tom ?

There’s new evidence these days that people’s financial wellbeing is linked to the conversations they had as kids with their parents. So any and every money discussion at home is really important!