Sam Wallace plays the long game

16:00, Nov 30 2013
Sam Wallace
GOOD POINT: 'I'm a relatively good saver.'

TVNZ breakfast weatherman Sam Wallace counts himself lucky to still be doing the job he loves after 12 years.

The 32-year-old started out writing and co-presenting afterschool kids' show Sticky TV and after eight years moved to the TV3 newsroom.

In 2011 he made the jump to rival TVNZ.

Despite having a science degree and NBL-level basketball skills, Wallace says he wants to stay in television for as long as he can.

"I'm kinda at the point where I don't know anything else."

Wallace says his parents encouraged him to get a qualification because a career in TV is "fickle" and "hopeless".


However, more than a decade later Wallace says he thinks he exceeded his parents' expectations.

"I hope it lasts."

How financially savvy are you?

I'm learning quickly. I spend a lot of time picking TVNZ business reporter Nadine Chalmers-Ross's brain.

I have one thing in my favour, I'm a relatively good saver. TV taught me nothing is forever, so save for the famine.

What was your first paid work?

A Pizza Hutt commercial. I was paid $100 and I still have a photocopy of the cheque.

When I was younger I did odd jobs around the house for pocket money. I got 50 cents a pop for rubbing my dad's feet.

How did your upbringing shape your attitude to money?

Financially, I behave exactly like my parents - slow and steady and with very little risk. They have always played the long game.

They set up a roofing company 30 years ago and it's still going strong today. There is no such thing as quick or easy money.

This is the same reason why I will never own a Lamborghini.

Is a career in TV as glamorous and lucrative as people think?

I don't think so. The reality is I spend a lot of time at my desk going through weather scripts and talking to PR agents.

What everyone sees is the tip of the iceberg.

But I love what I do. Sometimes I have to kick myself.

As a person in the public eye, do you feel pressure to spend on nice clothes and social events?

I don't feel any style pressure at social events. I have no idea about style. I went to a wedding the other day and I had to ask the TVNZ stylist to kit me out. That's such a luxury.

I spend a lot of the day going to events for work so when it comes to my own time, I don't go to many. I'm a complete recluse.

Are you a collector ?

No! I would like to collect art but I have neither taste nor money.

Tell us your best investment decision?

Buying a house. I bought a house in Milford on the North Shore with my girlfriend when I was 31. We scraped together everything we had and managed to come up with a deposit because we went in together as a couple.

We were very lucky with the timing and we got something we are proud of.

Emotionally it's just amazing when you get those percentage gains. It is impossible to save at the same rate.

What has been your biggest investment mistake?

I haven't made one yet . . . but perhaps the car I want to chuck on the mortgage. Imagine a retro Ford Mustang or something pointless like that.

How do you sum up your spending?

Conservative and well thought through because I work so hard for my money.

Everyone thinks the TV gig is a pretty good number but there are massive hours involved.

I do 12 hours most days, not including drafting a script the night before.

Is this a typical spending approach for a young Kiwi male?

I don't think my attitude is typical of how a lot of people feel financially.

I'm lucky to have a good job but I think a lot of people feel hopeless.

Obviously the goal is to try and build some sort of capital and save up for a house.

However, young New Zealanders can't afford to make those big investments and they feel hopeless and potentially become reckless with their spending.

Are you in KiwiSaver and if so, which fund and why?

Yes, I'm in KiwiSaver and I pay into TVNZ's Superlife. I know exactly how my Superlife fund is broken up but have no idea who's keeping an eye on the KiwiSaver.

I should probably work on that.

Gambling is something of a national pastime. Do you like a flutter?

I'm a very good gambler. I've been to the casino three times and never lost. Three from three isn't bad.

I don't buy Lotto tickets or scratchies but when there's a really big Lotto draw I'm tempted.

I also enjoy a good day at the races but in the past I have gone a whole day at the track without seeing a horse.

Sunday Star Times