Sponsored Money Management Book Given Away By UBS

Sponsored Money Management Book Given Away By UBS

If only students actually had money to manage

Full disclosure: Denzel is a member of Simplicity, who funded and sponsored Money Made Simple.

A mysterious money-management book, sponsored by a KiwiSaver provider, is being given away with every purchase at the University Bookshop (UBS). Critic Te Ārohi decided to investigate, primarily because like most students, we’re suckers for free stuff.

This month, UBS are giving out a free book with every purchase. The little, bright orange volume, called “Money Made Simple,” calls itself a guide to “managing your money”. The blurb sells the book as revealing “three simple truths and eight golden rules which will help you take control of your finances and your future.” These rules include paying off debts quickly, “investing in education,” buying a house (rip), getting into KiwiSaver and investing in “passive, diversified funds”.

Of course, nothing good in life really comes for free. The book giveaway was funded by Simplicity, a KiwiSaver and investment funds provider, and written by its managing director Sam Stubbs. The book’s colour scheme and fonts match those of Simplicity, and some of its advice, especially getting into KiwiSaver early and choosing low-fee, diversified, passive investment funds, seem to fit suspiciously well with Simplicity’s product offerings.

Sam told Critic Te Ārohi that the book was a “joint promotional initiative” between Simplicity (who paid for printing) and publisher Potton & Burton (who paid for publishing). The book was the idea of Robbie Burton, co-owner of Potton & Burton, who attended a presentation run by Simplicity and “thought we de-mystified concepts to do with money well”, according to Sam. 

As to why they’re giving the book away, Sam says that it’s “in the spirit of our business as a not-for-profit social enterprise, 100% owned by a charity”. Sam admitted that using bookshops was “unusual for sure,” but said that Simplicity did it “to both support bookstores during a traditionally very quiet month, and also make it available to our members and the public in a manner that would help educate them and their whānau.”

Students we talked to mostly seemed unaware of the giveaway. When Critic Te Ārohi visited the UBS on the Museum Lawn one afternoon, most customers seemed to be using the store to post parcels or top up their Bee Cards. The few who did buy books seemed to have little idea that the giveaway was even taking place, despite the bright orange display on the counter saying: “The Best $10 You’ll Never Spend.” There was only one book left on the table, though.

UBS’ General Manager Philippa Henshaw says that overall, the giveaway has been rather successful. She told us: “Students have been very happy to be offered the book. A tiny handful have politely and jovially declined it for various reasons including that they have no money to manage, or have enough to read without adding that to the reading list.” Both highly relatable reasons. She added, however, that UBS were not being paid to give the book away. “It is purely a promotional initiative between the author and publisher to have the book given away by bookshops nationwide.”

Asked about conflicts of interest, Sam told Critic Te Ārohi that “financial services providers distribute educational material all the time. We were also careful not to reference any Simplicity products in the book.” The book also features Simplicity’s logo on the inside cover, and mentions several times that this book was funded by Simplicity. Sponsored or not, anything that can replace breathas mansplaining investment strategy at parties is a godsend in Critic’s eyes. 

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2022.
Posted 3:04pm Friday 19th August 2022 by Denzel Chung.