I’m not going to lie: In New Zealand we’re spoiled for choice for fantastic Kiwi-owned, homegrown personal finance apps and websites. I could talk about Sorted, where I’ve spent hours playing around with mortgage and retirement calculators. I could go on a tangent about PAYE.net.nz, and how it’s great to see how much tax you’re really paying. I could mention investment platforms Hatch and Sharesies, neither of which I’ve used (yet) but both of which I’ve heard good things about.
But I won’t. I’ll stick to my top three, the apps I use day in and day out to manage my money from start to finish: Hnry, Kernel, and PocketSmith.
What they are: Hnry first grabbed my attention when some astute bloke on social media replied to their slogan of “Never think about tax again!” with the comment, “I tried that but the IRD don’t like it.” Once I’d stopped laughing, I started reading. Hnry, it turns out, is a playful but scarily efficient one-stop-shop for freelancers looking to simplify the business admin of invoices and taxes.
How I use them: As a freelance writer, Hnry is the start of my money train. It’s invaluable. Here I invoice clients and track outstanding invoices. Here my tax is paid for me before any money ever sees my bank accounts. Here I divert 10% of my income to my church and, when I can afford it, another 5% to my investment accounts with Kernel.
What they are: Kernel’s tagline of “Grow your wealth, spend your time” reflects their values and offerings with pinpoint accuracy. The investment platform started out purely as an index fund provider, but in recent times has branched out to Kiwisaver (with jaw-droppingly low fees) and a Notice Saver with interest rates that rival even the best banks.
Also, they make a bangin’ podcast called It’s No Secret.
How I use them: If money is a train, Kernel is the next stop for mine. When I have enough cashflow, I add 5% into my High Growth KiwiSaver, up to the $1,042.86 a year needed to get the government match of $521.43 (because where else do you get a guaranteed 50% return on your money?). As a freelancer, I don’t have an employer to match my contributions — which means there’s not a lot of benefit in sinking more money into government-controlled retirement funds that I can’t access until I’m 65. Past the match amount, I put money into my personal retirement/investment fund, a 50/50 mix of the NZ 50 ESG-Tilted and the Global 100.
What they are: In their own words, PocketSmith is a money management tool for life’s adventures and everything in between. It boasts an impressive range of fully-custom features, from cashflow forecasting toward achieving goals, to managing multiple streams of global income, and saving for a house deposit while paying off a student loan.
This is the last stop for the money train. It’s where I do… well… basically everything else on either side of actually spending the money. I track and organize and color-code and budget and gleefully make as much of a mess as I want, like a kid with finger paint scribbling on the walls — and then I take what works, pare the system back, and streamline it again. I’m always discovering new things, like a Sankey widget, and figuring out how (or if) to integrate them into my current system.
So that’s it. The top three Kiwi-owned personal finance apps that I use on the daily — the apps that, now that I’ve found them, I couldn’t imagine not having. What are yours?
Rachel E. Wilson is an author and freelance writer based in New Zealand. She has been, variously, administrator at an ESOL non-profit, transcriber for a historian, and technical document controller at a french fry factory. She has a keen interest in financial literacy and design, and a growing collection of houseplants (pun intended).