• Link love (the all-the-feels edition)

    NZMuse - Link love roundup with awesome reads from the week

    Some books are life-changing.

    The Secret Currency of Love: The Unabashed Truth About Women, Money, and Relationships is shaping up to be one of those for me. It’s a collection of essays by writers about their deepest feelings about money and how it affects their relationships with partners, family and themselves.

    There is so much rich ground covered – and I’m only a third of the way in!

    Stories so far delve into the realities of dating/marrying men who make less; dating a rich older man and being offered the chance to live a comfortable life as a kept woman; watching the transformation of a partner into a financially responsible adult; the stress of becoming the de facto breadwinner and the relief when that burden is lifted (“fortified with dual incomes, we began to believe that our marriage might stand a chance”).

    These tales and their truths may make for uncomfortable reading for some people. Personally, I applaud the courage and honesty and wish there were many more to read. Here are a few snippets that stood out to me:

    On romance vs reality

    For those of us predetermined to be the breadwinners, it’s more fun to date a man than to marry him. We understand that the more people there are living under our roof, the more it costs us. I am appalled by how unromantic this sounds, but there you have it. The breadwinner will ALWAYS be worrying about replacing the clutch in her car, or paying her life insurance premiums, or if she’s a homeowner, covering all the uninteresting expenditures that go with that.

    I suppose that what I am rather ridiculously pining for is the luxury of having someone else pick up the slack. It has always been a girl’s prerogative, hasn’t it? To choose to either make money or not … But being responsible for making all the money all the time means being forever prevented from engaging in the magical thinking that money matters less than love and romance.

    On struggling to come to terms with struggle

    I’ll never know if something inside of me shifted or if it was the revealing of a truth that was already there, but … I was suddenly and clearly not okay … I told myself that there were people out there who never paid their Con Ed bill on time and still went on to lead happy, fulfilling lives. But the tears still streamed down my face as I sent American Express my last penny and ticked off the days until my next paycheck.

    On income and class differences

    My three most significant relationships were with a carpenter, a lighting designer, and the furniture maker … At the time I never thought money had much to do with the demise of these relationships. But now I’m not so sure. In retrospect, I think it was troubling to be dating someone who might not be able to take care of me for the long haul.

    On knowing when to call it quits

    The difference between help and rescue is sometimes difficult to see… I finally reached a point where stretching any further would have done nothing more than take me down with him … The only person I could save was myself.

    This week’s links

    How to turn your quarter-life crisis around

    I hadn’t heard of Jessa Crispin before, and I don’t agree with about 50% of this, but the other half is super thought provoking

    The latte factor, poor shaming, and economic compassion

    The things that REALLY, truly motivate us

    Figuring out when to say yes

    On car loans and growing into the person you want to become

    3 totally free forms of self-care

    The 4 principles of financial success that you can’t ignore

    The 2 most dangerous words (when it comes to your money)

    Relationships and total honesty

    How to stop being afraid every time your manager wants to talk to you (THIS. IS. ME. But for no good reason…)

    Treating yourself is not the answer

    7 key phrases to use when talking to your boss

    On wealth and class in the literary world

    It is uncouth to talk too frankly about money to people who have it; it makes them feel self-conscious, guilty, and defensive, as if you are suggesting that they don’t have difficult lives filled with complex problems. And I saw that my friends had strong ethics about, say, not accepting help from their relatives, or which kinds of help it was acceptable to accept. (Direct deposit into bank account: no; down payment on purchase of apartment: yes.)

    I, meanwhile, exploited a rule of class struggle: You may lump everyone who comes from more money than you into a monolithic bloc, dismiss their hardships, and, if you wish (one does wish), downgrade your opinion of their achievements by however much seems appropriate to account for the favors, tips, recommendations, opportunities, and inflows of cash without which their talents would not so easily have flourished.

     

  • Link love (the reminiscing edition)

    NZMuse - Link love roundup with awesome reads from the week

    Little BIL will soon be taking his restricted licence test.

    It’s taking me right back to my early 20s…

    You can’t just risk sitting your licence in any old car. I faced a bit of a bind when it came to sit mine. I had to get my licence pretty quickly before university started but didn’t own a car. (So they told me, as journalists often need to head out to chase stories on short notice. In reality, I actually didn’t wind up needing to drive myself places.)  At the time I wasn’t really in contact with my parents and our relationship was in a difficult place.

    So I borrowed a friend’s car to take the test in, and it was a disaster. The car was an old dunger; I wasn’t used to driving it; it struggled to start on a hill among other things and I think it contributed to my failing the test. (Goodbye, $80 down the drain!)

    The second time around I leaned on a different friend who had a much better car, and for that I’m forever grateful, because the drive went smoothly and I passed … just.

    And don’t get me started on what happened with our car when T tried to sit his! The douchey inspector actually physically kicked the bumper, insisted the tyres were not inflated enough, and after going down the road to the petrol station to confirm that yes, they WERE in fact inflated correctly, he refused to carry out the driving test because it had taken a couple minutes too long over the grace period you get to remedy any vehicle issues. Even though nothing was ACTUALLY wrong with the car, and it was his mistake in claiming there was. Even though that minute would have been saved in the first place if he, oh, hadn’t taken it upon himself to kick the car as part of his ‘inspection’. Again, $80 down the drain.

    It is a privilege to be able to sit your licence in a decent car, and I’ve always thought they should provide vehicles for people to take their tests in who need it.

    So I’ve offered up ours to BIL, and I hope he’ll take it up if required.

    This week’s links

    How to crush your goals on a nonprofit salary

    The truth about saving half your income

    When saving 50% ain’t enough

    Adopting an abundance mindset

    How to work when you’re going through a personal crisis

    Rich lives, poor lives and financial peace

    Lessons learned from family Monopoly sessions:

    I’d argue that creativity is pretty underrated in personal finance. This is probably because most people have a healthy fear of personal finance — I know I’m not alone in viewing it as a tightrope act. You go forward, you go backward, but there certainly isn’t room to go side to side. Creativity means a potential for error, and financial error is a terrifying prospect.

    But creativity is important because, if done right, it forces you to let go of social norms. So much of how we spend our money is dictated by how the people around us spend money and how we think the people around us spend money. Letting go of the normal gives you more options.

    As a very important caveat: thinking creatively about money is a privilege in and of itself. You have to have money to have multiple options in its spending; you have to have time and a roof over your head and internet access to learn about what those options are.

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  • Link love (the crowded house edition)

    NZMuse - Link love roundup with awesome reads from the week

    I’ve made my first money off Airbnb!

    Not a lot – about $150 net. We’re not in a touristy area, and only have a tiny single room in a shabby house with 2 crazy dogs. But that’s okay, any extra is a bonus. Especially given lots of recent and upcoming expenses (two weddings, two friends both expecting babies, one expensive stag do, plus dog behaviourist consulting). And as the universe would have it, the exact week of the first booking, a friend wound up needing a place to stay. So, Airbnb is back on hold while we have a flatmate for now.

    Our guest wanted to book a second short stint after arriving, and so we arranged that off the site. But man, do I feel awkward handling cash – the actual exchange, the handover. I gotta say, it’s more work than expected too – the laundry, the working to keep the house cleaner than usual, even always closing the bathroom door. Not to mention all the dang time spent setting up the listing online, researching the market, and organising payout to my bank account! Paypal is great – whether you want to receive or transfer money overseas it’s super convenient – but I figured that bypassing Paypal would save me a couple bucks in fees to receive the payments.

    This week’s links

    Thoughts on the lost generation (aka millennials)

    The agony and ecstasy of small offices

    Four ways to be better with money (that don’t suck)

    Competing priorities – a tale of too many dials

    Embracing a mindset of abundance

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  • Link love (the contemplative edition)

    NZMuse - Link love roundup with awesome reads from the week

    One of our Class of 09 journalism grads went straight into a combo PR/marketing/admin role at $60k a year. I remember her telling us that, and I’m pretty sure my jaw literally dropped when she named the figure.

    $60k is, and has always been, an interesting number to me. I feel like it’s quite a polarising one.

    To a huge section of the population, it’s a number they’ll never hit. To others, it’s an entry-level income.

    A colleague recently asked for my thoughts on a piece of work that he was involved in. It will reach thousands and thousands of people – from all industries, regions, life stages, etc – and it had to reference a certain number as an example. Specifically, it had to be an example of an average salary over a lifetime.

    Was $60k too high to cite as an average salary over a career, he wondered?

    Old me would have said yes. New me, no.

    But I’m not sure if I’m in the majority on that – I suspect possibly not, given that NZ is such a low wage economy.

    I used to think $60k was so much money. But realistically, in Auckland, it is not. It’s possible to survive on a $40k journalism income, but if you aspire to more than just survival…

    I wanted to hit $60k when I left journalism, but it felt like so much to ask for. I could not imagine my work being worth $60k. They offered me a salary even higher than that, and at that point my jaw literally dropped, once more.

    Failing to value yourself is a key trait of underearning – a concept I’ve really only stumbled across in the past year or so. And that, my friends, is the topic of my very next post. Stay tuned.

    This week’s links

    How much do flight attendants really make? 

    How to buy a house in your 20s 

    Don’t let your debt depress you

    Yes please. Stop telling your friends to become an entrepreneur

    How to spend money on yourself and your own happiness!

  • Link love (the ranty edition)

    NZMuse - Link love roundup with awesome reads from the week

    Indulge me, if you will, in getting a few things off my chest:

    WTF: Steamrolling your fiancee into changing her name (if you care that much, you better damn well be just as open to changing your own surname).

    WTF: Caring more about whether a baby is born, than the quality of life it is going to have as a human for all the years beyond that

    WTF: Believing that you, as a non-indigenous person, have more claim to the country that you live in than any other immigrant

    I think that helped.

    Need to let off some steam? Blow all your steam off in the comments. Go for it.

    This week’s links (the first link love of 2017, if you can believe it!)

    For 90% of us, LESS money is NOT the solution (Couldn’t agree more! People who espouse this sound so hilariously oblivious to me, and I wrote about this exact topic late last year)

    How to stop expecting certain things of people

    Bullshit reasons not to buy a house, refuted

    How to let go of financial regrets

    10 daily money affirmations 

    8 money moments for your bucket list

    The underlying privilege in minimalism

    How to deal with food boredom

    5 ways to spend on your marriage

  • Link love (the year-end edition)

    NZMuse - Link love roundup with awesome reads from the week

    I’m SO excited to be spending my first Christmas / summer in my own house. It’s the best feeling!

    I got a bit excited about Special Housing Areas back when they were introduced – parcels of land where development was intended to be fast tracked. Of course, I didn’t wind up buying in one – between location, affordability, and properties actually getting built (or not) things did not align.

    To be honest, it feels like SHAs, and new construction in general have been a bit underwhelming to date. A bunch of SHAs recently got cancelled (probably just land banking for the gains), it’s damn near impossible to actually find information on those that are proceeding or to figure out how to try to buy one, and meanwhile a number of new apartment projects have fallen through of late.

    Interestingly, a couple of large scale housing projects driven by Chinese developers have been announced in the last few weeks. Hope they’ll do it right. Unfortunately, I think it’s fair to say most Auckland apartment/townhouse complexes of a certain era are pretty shoddy (and I’ve lived in 3 of those myself). They tend to leak and require recladding, if they haven’t already been reclad by now that is.

    Those complexes I lived in? They haven’t really appreciated in value over the years, plus owners have had to fork out who knows how much to repair them. Overseas, newer developments might be sought after for their amenities, but here they often spell trouble – an acquaintance who recently returned to NZ with his British partner fell victim to this, and are now in their second leaky townhouse in a row (I thought they might have learned from the first… but ah well).

    To be fair, as a renter I’d rather live in a newer but leaky house – they’re warmer and drier, whereas older houses are where I’ve had to deal with mould and damp. But as an owner? I’d buy an older one over a 2000s era house any day. (Brand new excepted – things have improved since the crisis came to light.) Insulating a roof is a lot cheaper than recladding a whole house.

    This week’s links

    What you probably don’t know about negotiating

    How to get through your performance review

    I can absolutely get behind these 5 core money beliefs!

    Reflections on a layoff

    It’s not about money goals

    When it pays to buy what you wanted in the first place

    Relationship advice – distilled from 1500 people (I love this one – That said, I cannot emphasise how vital it was for me to talk to other people about my marriage struggles. Don’t shit talk your partner, but don’t bottle up emotions, either. Of course you need to communicate with your partner. But some things you genuinely need outside perspective on.)

  • Link love (the feeling-the-pinch edition)

    NZMuse - Link love roundup with awesome reads from the week

    Although we had a nice surprise last week coming in under budget for groceries, money has been flowing out seemingly non stop overall. We were meant to have 2 more months of flea treatment stuff for the dogs which has vanished; we’ve started our veggie garden; had to spend a fair chunk on dog-and-bird proofing it; replace a window the dogs shattered (glass panes down to floor level are NOT COOL); plus we’ve got our wall map project and my ongoing quest to get photos printed for the walls as well. Life!

    This week’s links

    Financial stability makes Mel thankful (I’ll drink to that!)

    Amanda has a hungry mortgage

    It’s about more than living within your means

    Dealing with financial shame

  • Link love (the shaky edition)

    NZMuse - Link love roundup with awesome reads from the week

    You’ve probably heard about the earthquakes in New Zealand. I’m very thankful to be untouched and unscathed up here in Auckland – zero impact for me personally – but it sure has got me thinking about how we really should get an emergency kit together.

    Sometimes a small town stirs something in you that mutters ‘man, maybe we could retire to a place like this’. While Kaikoura’s township itself did not hit that particular nerve for us, we did so admire the weathered old bloke who ran our chartered fishing trip and the lifestyle he clearly enjoyed – and the vibe he emanated was definitely of the ‘wow, one day I hope that’ll be us’ variety. And most memorably, the scenery around Kaikoura was just breathtaking. Here are a few photos from our 2013 trip (via this blog post)

    Kaikoura alps - mounains and cloud

    Albatross landing on water off Kaikoura coast

    I’ve donated to the Red Cross campaign – here’s the link if you would like to, as well.

    This week’s links

    5 lessons from 5 years of marriage

    The subsidies that make success possible

    Greed – the PF topic nobody talks about

    Good things in the wake of a life collapsing

  • Link love (the emotional edition)

    NZMuse - Link love roundup with awesome reads from the weekWell, well, what a week it’s been.

    Rather than dwelling on the hideous, let me share with you a short film that made me bawl in a good way this week. If you can’t watch it right now, bookmark and save for later. It’s a beautiful thing.

    This week’s links

    Every word rings clear and true – read this if you are a woman, or in fact a human being with a soul: We were woefully unprepared

    Juggling priorities: money, community and a full life

    The financial impact of kindness

    The terror and beauty of not knowing

    Dealing with dissatisfaction in ourselves

    If nothing else, remember this. Happy weekends.

  • Link love (the viral edition)

    Link love NZ Muse

    I’ve been struggling with whatever heinous virus seems to be doing the rounds lately. All I can say is, good thing we have a pretty well stocked kitchen this week, with lots of soup! Otherwise I’d have been dropping money left right and centre on easy comfort food.

    This week’s links

    You’re allowed to be wealthy. You’re allowed to like money. You’re allowed to want more money.

    I should be able to do money but I can’t

    Scary things people say about money

    Some things in life you can’t get for free

    A sensible hot take on poverty

    How to face your financial fears

    Can’t find a mentor? Look to your peers

    Striving for compassion in a world of judgement