• RaboDirect managed funds are no longer. What now?

    Change is tough, right?

    Particularly when it requires a decision from you.

    I first started investing on my own through RaboDirect’s managed funds, because I already had online savings and term deposits there. It was pretty easy to buy online, aside from the security layers required each time you log in that is! And after, I don’t know, 10 years or whatever, I guess there’s a bit of sentiment there.

    Now that RaboDirect is pulling out of the managed funds business, I’ve got to decide what to do with the few thousand I have in funds over there. (It’s also apparently winding up the Cash Advantage Fund and Term Advantage Fund 🙁 )

    Obviously nowadays we have a lot more choice as small-time retail investors, and more passive investing options. Case in point: I started investing through Smartshares last year. Granted, there are hardly any online capabilities there (quite frankly, I would have no idea at this stage how to go about selling my holdings) but that money’s for the long term so I’m okay with that.

    Options for existing RaboDirect investors are to hang in there until March, when all our units would be sold and cashed out; or to transition over to InvestNow. That would mean giving consent for RaboDirect to facilitate the opening of an InvestNow account (as I don’t currently use InvestNow) and the eventual transfer of my investments over to that platform.

    Pros of InvestNow seem to be low fees, access to Vanguard funds and a modern digital platform. That said, I might also need to investigate Superlife more closely (blogger The Smart and Lazy has done a quick comparison of some of Smartshares/Superlife/Simplicity/InvestNow here).

    I suspect I’ll wind up doing that – path of least resistance, as well! –  but if you’re in the same boat, I’d be curious as to what you’re thinking!

  • The fine line between beasting it and BS

    The fine line between beasting it and ... BS
    Maybe it’s something to do with hitting the late 20s, but lately I (and seemingly the majority of those around me) have been getting deep into personal growth and the power of mindset. Adjusting how we think on a very deep level and rewriting the stories we tell ourselves.

    I have never really been one to read books that fall under the self help, personal development umbrella. But at this stage in life, they are SPEAKING to me.

    Most recently, I tore through Jen Sincero’s books You Are A Badass / You Are A Badass At Making Money.

    None of this is new stuff, obviously:  committing every fibre of yourself to a goal, being utterly convinced that you will achieve it, seeing it through.

    Where I do take pause, however, is when we get to the topic of money.

    It’s one thing to commit to a big hairy financial goal – whether that’s smashing your debt, earning six figures, starting a business, buying that house/car/designer item.

    Sometimes you do need to invest in yourself. Sometimes stretching yourself IS the push you need to commit to a path.

    But it’s about calculated risks, not blind leaps.

    The idea that sometimes comes through in this space of doing whatever it takes now – even if that means going into serious debt – in pursuit of your grand vision? I am not at all down with the concept of spending the money now and manifesting (aka figuring it out) it all back later. Borrowing money blindly – NOPE.

    I’m all for taking leaps of faith. Nothing is ever 100% in this life. The two biggest financial decisions I’ve ever made were not watertight.

    The thing is: I had a plan, was most of the way there, and it worked out just right.

    You don’t necessarily need every single piece of the plan locked and loaded right now. But don’t fall into the trap of magical thinking.

    Visualise your dream life, sure. Do what you can now to start getting into that frame of mind, and take what steps you can toward living that life now. Just don’t overextend and commit to funding things now that you can’t yet afford.

    Having the right mindset goes a LONG way … but ultimately there’s no substitute for doing the work.

  • Class, relationships and money: What happens when opposites attract?

    hands

     

    What happens when Hillbilly Elegy meets Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother?

    (Oddly enough, JD Vance, author of the former, credits Amy Chua, author of the latter, as a key influence in his life and success – she was one of his professors at Yale).

    There’s lots of talk about interracial relationships, but I’m just as interested – scratch that, I’m WAY more interested – in cross-class relationships. Ones in which partners hail from very different upbringings and class backgrounds. Class barriers are not as immediately visible as racial differences, but that doesn’t mean we should gloss over their power. We just have to work harder to identify and address them.

    We’ve always had contrasting views on and approaches to money and career stuff. I’d always thought these stemmed from our wildly different personality types – and that is an important factor for sure – but I’ve come to believe that the biggest influence that shapes our approaches is our polar opposite upbringings.

    While Jessi Streib’s book The Power of the Past: Understanding Cross-Class Marriages is hardly a definitive work on this topic (it’s based on interviews with a small group of white middle-class American couples, where one partner grew up blue-collar and the other white-collar), I personally found it hugely validating of my own experiences, and it even shed some light on things I hadn’t previously considered.

    The main gist is that white-collar upbringings are associated with a more structured, managerial, proactive approach to not just money, but life in general. These partners tended to spend only after research and budgeting; save for the future; actively manage their careers; and plan and organise their time. Their blue-collar partners generally spent for today; bought without thinking; let weekends unfold at home and went with the flow.

    In short, white-collar = planner, blue-collar = laissez faire. This was true of most, though not all cases in the book.

    She makes the case that the class we’re born into leaves an imprint. Yet even after years together, the couples overlooked the ways class shaped their ideas and choices (rather perceiving these as stemming only from personality differences). Almost every couple interviewed were drawn to each other because of those differences, however many later felt that these became things they lived with but did not love. “The things that you’re drawn to sometimes become the things that drive you crazy,” one observed.

    Money, unsurprisingly, was a key battleground. People like Aaron, who spent their childhoods imagining what they would spend once they had money. bought everything he wanted once he started earning. No longer bound by constraints, he used money to distance himself from his past. Despite leaving their original class behind, they retained the strategies they learned at home.

    The strategies that worked for their parents, who typically had limited means, were spending when money was available and having faith it would work out. Worrying was pointless, since they would always have financial difficulties and no amount of planning or fretting would change that. Low savings weren’t a cause for concern, as they had always gotten by on a shoestring. And that was at complete odds with the views of their white-collar partners.

    Of course, that’s not to say that this is a blanket, universal rule. Obviously, there are blue-collar families that are financially comfortable, and white-collar families that aren’t. And for some people, growing up without much can be a great incentive to build their own security.

    I put a call out for thoughts from people in similar boats – cross-class partnerships – and was pleasantly surprised by how willing you guys were to engage on this subject. One thing is clear to me:  the PF blogging world is its own microcosm – who have mostly experienced quite the opposite of the dynamic Streib writes about!

    Because he grew up with nothing, he’s arguably got more hustle than better-off peers.

    If I dated a fellow silver spooner, I may not see as much drive and ambition in him and instead just complacency and entitlement.

    We’ve also got quite a few hustlers who grew up with not much and paired off with more laissez faire, well-off partners.

     

     

    (That said, there may well be a lot of overlap with typical immigrant values/mentality – because that’s another common thread among many of the people who replied.)

    Savvy Financial Latina and her husband grew up at different ends of the socioeconomic spectrum. Her family immigrated to the USA when she was 7 years old.

    “On top of all the cultural differences (completely different discussion), my parents had money problems. They never spent more money than they ever had. Actually, they were always the ones with savings despite their low income. Family members and friends knew they could reach out to my parents for money. I learned quickly my parents were too nice and they have been burned (again another note). I would love to say even though my parents were poor, life was happy at home. In general, the lack of money combined with other life events, always, always caused a lot of stress in my family.

    “I grew up knowing I didn’t want to be poor because when you are poor you have no options. I wished many times Superman would come rescue me and suddenly transport me to a new life. I had to work really hard to get to where I am today.

    “On the other hand, my husband grew up in a fairly middle income class family. I say they were upper middle income class, but his family assures us they were lower middle income class. To this day, they don’t realize how blessed they are. As part of a “Jones” family, he always got what he wanted in life. Enough toys, vacations, etc.”

    While coming from different backgrounds has definitely influenced their individual perceptions of money, she says they’ve slowly moved towards more of a happy medium after many years together.

    “I’m definitely the more frugal person, always saving for tomorrow. I watch every penny, and although have loosened up to some extent, I still keep up with every penny. My main fear is not having enough money.

    “I earn more money. I view work as a means to an end, but work hard to get the most out of it! My husband views life in a more relaxed way and thinks there should be more leisure. He doesn’t see the need to climb the ladder. I view more work, ultimately, as a blessing. He views more work hours as bad. I’m always thinking 5, 10, 15, 20 years ahead. My husband doesn’t think he’ll live past 45 LOL.

    “I’m starting to loosen up a lot more. Especially when you compare me to 5-6 years ago. Now, I think the next couple of years will be finding a middle ground where we are saving enough for FI and enjoying life.”




    Here’s another story shared anonymously with me, where she and her husband are both savers and both make good incomes but essentially hail from different rungs of the ladder. While both of their families have always had blue collar jobs, her parents own a blue collar business that has enabled them to build wealth and given them many more glimpses of white collar life. His parents don’t talk about money period while hers do – all the time.

    “My mom never grew out of her poverty mindset despite the wealth mine have built, which in turn left me with some poverty mindset for a while. It’s really bizarre to my husband to listen to my mom talk about how broke my parents are all the time when they aren’t really.

    “My husband is only now starting to believe me that financial independence is a real thing…basically as we hit its early milestones. No one in his family has really ever retired, so it seems crazy to him as a possibility. If we wanted to spend MMM levels of money, we could quit working right now, both of us. But we don’t want to spend that little and my husband doesn’t want to retire before his parents. They already think it’s bizarre enough that just his income can support us – they have no concept of our household income and we mostly just avoid talking about money with them.”

    His parents have no retirement savings – something she says she spends a lot of time worrying about, while her husband tries to avoid thinking about it.

    Wedding planning has also highlighted the differences between their families.

    “My husband’s extended family mostly don’t have passports so they likely won’t come, with that additional cost on top of flights. His parents and siblings are coming but they’ve definitely been telling us how expensive it is, while my parents are trying to save the $20/night hotel parking cost by parking at our place (that’s a firm no, parents!) during the event. My parents think we don’t have enough things on the registry, his parents should be paying for more things, etc. Weddings bring out so many class differences. My parents think we picked too expensive of a venue while his think the food sounds delicious. Honestly I have much less patience now for my parents trying to say they’re broke with his parents actually being broke.

    “Vacation and travel planning is another difference. His parents and siblings all work blue collar jobs where they don’t know very far in advance if they can get the time off. So they pick dates before they book flights! This confuses the heck out of me because my parents would always adjust the dates to more reasonable prices so the dates were never final until they booked flights! My parents wanted to buy us a two week Christmas trip to somewhere warm this past year and it freaked the hell out of my husband. Their wedding gift being 10x his parents’ didn’t weird him out since that was a one off thing but he did not understand parents buying a trip for their grown children.

    “I could probably go on about this stuff forever. I didn’t think our class differences were that severe but it turns out they’re more subtle than I realized.”

    One thing is clear: it’s a journey but it does get easier – the beginning is the hardest. 

    As one blogger put it:

    Lots of trying to teach him long-term vision with money.

    Progress is slow, but it’s getting better.

     

  • The 3 paralysing emotions that will hold you back financially

    3 EMOTIONS THAT HOLD US BACK WITH MONEY

    When it comes to money, there are a few intense emotions most of us experience at some point that paralyse us financially.

    I’ve struggled with every single one of these, and if there’s one thing those battles have taught me, it’s this: we are our own worst enemies.

    The mind is a powerful, powerful thing and that cuts both ways. It’s up to us to harness that power and use it to our advantage.

    Regret

    Regret that you didn’t negotiate that salary. Regret for all the money you spent on things you didn’t care about. Regret for the money you wasted on deadbeat exes.

    As hard as these regrets are to stomach, there’s only one way forward: Accepting the past, learning from those mistakes, and moving on. We all move through this process at our pace, but sooner is better, and healthier.

    Fear

    Fear of losing an income source, of some financial disaster striking, of the unknown in general.

    Living in a state of constant tension and low-level panic SUCKS and it takes its toll.

    That’s where a solid savings buffer and good insurance cover come in – knowing you’ve got those safety nets to fall back on. And so too does making contingency plans.

    Some people don’t like to imagine the worst-case scenario, but I’m the kind who needs to confront my worst fears rather than hide from them – to ask myself questions like “Has it happened before? What are the odds of it happening? What would I do then?”

    In lots of cases, the catastrophes we’ve conjured up in our lizard brains are over-exaggerated. They have never happened and are not likely to.

    Guilt

    Guilt for all that you have now, all the privileges you’ve been blessed with … and the fact that yet you want more.

    But you know what I’ve realised? It does nobody else any good for me to struggle, to not have what I want, to play the martyr.

    By taking care of myself first and flourishing, I can then turn around and help others. Giving back is fantastic, once you can comfortably and safely do so from a solid position.

    Each of these are ultimately useless emotions, and I’m personally done with wasting my time and headspace on them! We’ll be covering all of them – and much more – in my new course, Money Groove. Sign up below to get the lowdown.

    *Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*

  • The accidental breadwinner

    HOW I BECAME AN ACCIDENTAL BREADWINNER

    I never envisioned myself as a high earner. And I’m still not. But somehow, I’ve found myself in the position of accidental breadwinner.

    I had no interest in the typical commercial career paths (I was one of like three Asians in the journalism track of my degree). Zero interest in climbing the corporate ladder. Money was not a consideration for me when I was thinking about careers. I didn’t set out to earn heaps and I didn’t aspire to it. I embarked on a creative path and didn’t imagine veering from it.

    And then, like so many other journalists, I left – for a new challenge, yes, but also for more financial security. I make decent though not crazy money, I enjoy my work and my life, and I can’t imagine any other way now.

    It wasn’t all smooth sailing. As it turned out, T happened to be unemployed at the point of each of my significant income increases. I suspect unconsciously this led to problems.  We could survive (although not thrive) on my earnings alone. The more I made, the less urgency there was for him to contribute … until it all boiled over.

    For a long time I kind of hoped he’d somehow land an epic job that would set us up for the future, take the pressure off me, let me sit back and relax for while (payback, if you like, for all I’d done for so long).

    I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is unlikely, and that odds are I’ll continue to be the breadwinner. It’s a strange concept to accept, a new way to see myself, even though it’s been definitively true for many years now. But it is definitely no longer a temporary thing. It’s just how it’s going to be.

    He landed a new job this year. I’m so proud of him. Stepped up of his own accord. He knew he needed to bring in more and set about changing that. #makingshithappen

    The extra money certainly makes a difference. Here’s to thriving, not just surviving.

    Our income differential is still massive though, and we’re not anticipating huge pay jumps that would change that equation. That’s fine.

    Ultimately, we’re both people who never expected to make much money. People who never ever imagined earning, say, $60k. While I’ve broken through that barrier and more – I can’t and don’t necessarily expect the same for both of us. What I can count on is myself, and continuing on the quest to get paid well for doing work I love, or as close to it as possible.

  • Online grocery shopping has seriously changed my life

    Groceries

    By: Tasha

    Life has never been busier, and while I’m hanging out for Pak n Save to join the online supermarket shopping revolution (come on Foodstuffs!) I’ve cobbled together a routine in the meantime with a couple of other online retailers.

    For meat: The Meat Box

    Finding quality, affordable meat has long been an issue for us. Supermarkets have been grim and uninspiring in this department, and even the butcher lately has been disappointing. Cue The Meat Box!

    The Meat Box is a local operation (we still get handwritten thank you cards with every delivery) and we’ve found it offers really good value for us. The prices are reasonable and the quality is great. We usually order one of the Couples Boxes and occasionally make up a custom box of individual packed meat items. The downside is they only deliver Tuesday-Friday and the cutoff time is 7am the day prior to delivery – so basically, 2 nights before in reality (unless you enjoy ordering groceries immediately upon getting out of bed?)

    North Island deliveries are $8, but there are special discounts from time to time sent out via email and Facebook. And you can get $10 off your first order by signing up for the newsletter!

    For other stuff: Greenkart

    Greenkart is another local operation that sells everything from meat and produce to dairy, packaged goods and personal care items. Not as extensive in range of products or brands offered as a supermarket, but possibly more so than your local dairy or corner shop. The weekly specials can be quite good too. Delivery charges range from $6 to free depending on how much you spend.

    The best part is the flexibility. You can literally order on the same day at a pinch! They deliver every day, and offer delivery options in 3-hour slots (eg you can request delivery between 9am-12pm). I usually just place my order the day before.

    Most relevant Facebook ad ever – so glad I saw it …I actually clicked and wound up eventually downloading the app! Yep, there is an app! Seriously. However, the interface for adding your credit card details is horrendous. I’m fairly tech savvy but it took me way too long to figure it out, and I nearly gave up. There’s a visual of a credit card and you have to tap the relevant parts on the fake card to enter your real digits, if that makes sense – complete with ‘flipping’ it over to enter your CVV number on the back.

    Now they just need to keep building out their product range further (new stuff is frequently added, so they’re on to it).

     

    (I also returned to Foodbox for a few weeks – lured in by their new Careful Couple offering.

    However, I’m not in love with the interface (there’s no itemised pricing; to work out what something costs I had to add or remove it from the cart and see how the total cost changed) and they charge $6 for the chiller box, which they’re supposed to pick up the next time, and refund you … except the driver never did collect ours.)




    Typically we still do a small supermarket run for things like milk, pet food, toiletries, cereal, pantry staples etc, but this lets us get in and out SO much quicker and reduces the mental load by a huge factor.

    This is obviously not the route to go if you’re trying to shop for food as cheaply as possible – you’d need to be driving around to small fruit and veg/meat/ethnic/bulk buy shops – but at this stage in life it’s saving a ton of time and hassle.

    What’s your grocery shopping routine?

  • If you could go anywhere…

    Carrie of Careful Cents recently asked:  If you could get a free ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

    If it were up to me, right now I’d probably pick a nice leisurely cruise over anything else (cruising is still sitting pretty on my Life List) but here are some of the places that would be my top picks:

    Spain

    Tapas. Architecture. Sunshine,according to what I read JetSmarter can make all this easier. I’ll get there one day! And it would be a crime to not pop over to Portugal while out that way…

    Vancouver

    Okay, so I hear it’s a lot like Auckland but that hasn’t put me off wanting to visit – plus it’d be a great excuse to explore more of the Pacific Northwest at the same time (Seattle! Portland! etc)

    Hong Kong

    Markets, shopping, street food! Hit me with it all. And while I have no interest in gambling, I do want to visit Macau for Macanese cuisine and taste the Portuguese influence.

    Gold Coast

    Before I get too old to enjoy theme parks (or is it already too late?)

    Melbourne

    To visit a friend who lives there and explore what is by all accounts a very cool and colourful city!

  • You can’t always force things to happen on your timeline

    You can't force life to happen on your timeline

    All in good time.

    Things happen when they’re meant to.

    Make a plan, the universe laughs.

    Looking back, Big Life Things have happened for me when I least expected them. Often, when I’d given up entirely on them.

    Not when I was pushing, pushing, pushing.

    Not when I was fixated on them.

    Not when I was desperate.

    Much like with writing, which for me flows best not when I try to force it; but when I relax, when I’m in the right frame of mind, when the environment and circumstances are right.

    And likewise, life is funny that way. It’s always worked itself out, just not necessarily in the ways I imagined or within the timeframe I anticipated.

    It sounds woo-woo – but I’m getting more and more into the realm of woo, and liking it, with age. I’m appreciating the power of mindset, and the importance of getting into flow and alignment wherever possible.

    So this is a public commitment to myself.

    I have established my goal; now I must stop obsessing, and let it come to me when the time and circumstances are right. I’ve done my part, laid the foundations, and will continue to do my thing to make sure I’m worthy of it, and ready to identify and receive it when it appears.

    Patience, humility, and a whole lot more patience.

  • The lazy girl’s guide to NZ

    LAZY GIRLS GUIDE TO NZ

     

    Sure, you can jump off ledges, dive out of planes, and roll down hills in giant inflatable balls – but you don’t NEED to be a hardcore adventurer to appreciate the best of nature here. You might, like me, have decidedly average fitness and nerves of cotton wool. So if intrepid multi-day hikes and epic ski sessions aren’t really your thing, read on to find out how to get your fix of amazing sights and scenery with minimal exertion…

    A waka tour in Northland

    You can almost imagine that you’re travelling back in time as you paddle a traditional canoe along the Waitangi River, taking in the flora and fauna along the banks. I won’t lie, rowing is definitely a workout for the arms, but at least there’s a group of you to help spread the load.

    Horse riding along Auckland’s west coast

    Imagine trotting down a windswept beach as waves lap at the shore. You too can have your own movie-worthy scene when horse riding out at Muriwai. (And yep, these treks are A-OK for total newbies.) Take in the black sand of the west coast beaches, then cross the sand dunes and explore the Woodhill Forest.

    Find more things to do in Auckland

    Walk to Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel

    The walk to Cathedral Cove takes about half an hour, and the cliff/ocean views along the way are just spectacular. Of course, the payoff at the end is the cove itself! There’s a secluded beach, where you can sun and swim all day and enjoy the pristine environment. The track does have some fairly steep up and down parts that get a bit rough, so take your time navigating the path – but it’s well worth it.

    Ride through the redwoods in Rotorua

    The Whakarewarewa Forest is packed with biking trails that cater to all levels of rider, including beginners and kids. Ride through towering redwoods, native fern canopies, and keep an eye out for the odd lake and mountain view too while you’re out on the tracks.

    Find more things to do in Rotorua

    Take the Wellington cable car

    A must-do in Wellington, with basically no effort required! Take the historic red cable car up the hill toward the botanic gardens, observatory, planetarium, and sweeping views of the city and harbour.

    Find more things to do in Wellington

    Punting on the Avon in Christchurch

    One iconic way to see the Garden City is in fact from the water. Luckily, the professional punters are the ones doing all the steering and poling as you travel along the Avon River in a flat-bottomed boat. Just lean back and soak up the sights, from the boat sheds to the botanic gardens and more.

    Find more things to do in Christchurch

    Take the Treetops walk in Hokitika

    Take a walk through the West Coast forest – 40 metres above ground, that is. Making your way along narrow suspension bridges high in the air lets you get amongst the treetops and get a whole new perspective.

    Heli hiking in Queenstown

    If you’re keen to get away from busy ski slopes, then snow shoeing will be right up your alley. (Seriously, if you can walk, you can snow shoe – it’s a dead simple alternative to snowboarding or skiing.) You’ll take a helicopter ride high up to the winter wonderland that is the untouched parts of the mountains, strap on some gear and start making tracks across unbroken snow. It’s absolutely silent, stunning and spectacular.

    Find more things to do in Queenstown

  • Link love (the #fittech edition)

    NZMuse - Link love roundup with awesome reads from the week

    I’ve always resisted applying any sort of structure to my running, or exercise in general.

    But for the past few weeks I’ve been living life with a smartwatch and sticking to a running schedule.

    Why? I’m helping a friend’s company test out their technology – and between the hardware and the app, I’m kinda hooked…

    It makes sense, really. I’m an Obliger (according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies) and so having a routine/schedule to commit to, plus the gamification and points accumulation, actually works for me.

    I’m particularly fascinated by the data on my sleeping patterns – the proportion of deep sleep hours vs light sleep hours, and the poor broken graph that pops up on particularly troubled nights.

    I’ve also downloaded an app called Seven, which gives you 7-minute workouts you can do at home, and just might change my life.

    What’s your approach to working out – structured or not? Does fitness tech and data tracking interest you at all?

    This week’s links

    Is it terrible to want my BF to earn more?

    Post-traumatic debt syndrome

    Would you choose to work?

    The 7-second rule

    How to move toward your fears

    A vulnerability hangover