Welcome to the Money Maven's Financial Blog

Money Maven Blog by Sheryl Sutherland, Authorised Financial Adviser and Director of The Financial Strategies Group

Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading by Sheryl Sutherland: Girls Just Want to Have Fund$ - Every Women’s Guide to Financial Independence, Money, Money, Money Ain't it Funny - How to Wire your Brain for Wealth, and Smart Money - How to structure your New Zealand business or investments and pay less tax.

The Financial Strategies Group

We think for ourselves and make unique recommendations. We only recommend investments and insurances that are in the best interest of our clients.

The Financial Strategies Group

Most of us spend 40 years working to secure our financial future; the most important investment you can make is to purchase appropriate financial planning advice.

Contact us for a review of your investments and insurances.

Begin to experience the serenity that accompanies financial responsibility and integrity: email sheryl@strategies.co.nz, call 0800 64MONEY or visit our website http://www.strategies.co.nz

Friday, 11 April 2008

Who's counting?

Well I am not at all sure who is counting. Perhaps some people can't count - and I am thinking here about Michael Cullen. We have veered between not counting $700 million or so from tax revenues, to not being able to afford the last lot of tax cuts because of KiwiSaver, to "significant" tax cuts.

Dr Cullen, the right honourable has not defined "significant." We have seen some pretty significant price rises; interest rates, petrol, food for example which has caused many of us to count and recount the dollars in our pay packets and count and recount our costs.

Musings and Amusings

Like you I always wish I had more will power so I was thrilled to find out that the latest studies tell me I can grow my will power. Yes it's true - something as simple as using your non dominant hand to brush your teeth for two weeks can increase will power capacity. People who stick to an exercise programme for two months report fewer impulse spends, eating less junk food, drinking and smoking less. They also study more, watch less television and do more housework. Other forms of willpower training, like money management work as well - now how did money enter into the conversation!

No-one knows why willpower can grow with practice but doing any activity that requires self control seems to increase will power - and the ability to resist impulses and delay gratification is highly associated with success in life.


The Human Rights Commission has just released a "Census of Women's Participation." The findings of that report clearly delineates inequality across sectors such as the police, legal and justice systems and at company director level:

• 41.6% of lawyers are women but only 19.34% are partners in law firms.
• 3 of the top 50 police officers are women.
• 54 women sit on boards of publicly listed companies, 8.65% of board membership.
• 23% of public service CEO's are female but women are 59% of state sector employees.

It is now more than 30 years since sex discrimination legislation came into force but our progress towards gender equality seems minimal.

It amazes me given that we mouth the mantra of social responsibility, and the value of diversity, that women are so excluded from the top jobs.

Everyday Money

I have just read a hugely entertaining book review by one Jessa Crispin, the founder and editor of www.bookslut.com - check it out. Her discussion revolved around those ubiquitous fashion/shopping guides.

The Trinny and Susannahs, the Paula Ryans; she makes an extremely valid point; these guides exacerbate the negative feelings we have about our bodies.

So I have decided to retain more of my everyday money by not shopping for that special garment which will make me look tall, slim and brown. What a saving that will be...just kidding - the shops are open, where is my credit card?

Finance and Investments

When I think of the finance company sector I am reminded of that scene in Alice in Wonderland where she says "You are nothing but a pack of cards." The assembled company then flutter gently to earth in a flurry of diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs.

Yet another finance company has hit the ground, the 17th, and, I wearily note the story is the same old, same old. Lombards investment strategy is apparently an issue with a substantial amount invested in a Brooklyn Rise Development, rumour has it that around 25% of its capital is at risk, Lombard is only secured as the second mortgage.

This is the 17th finance company to fail or freeze funds in less than two years. Thank goodness for the New Zealand Qualifications Authority initiative which will teach the next generation about personal financial management. I am delighted to be the industry advisor in this instance. We are covering the full range of investment and financial decisions. One area I intend to focus on is the sorts of questions investors need to put to the companies they use; the relationship between knowledge, risk and return and some knowledge of the biases which affect our savings and investment decisions.


Why don't we read and write more poetry? A review poem of Money, Money, Money Ain't it Funny follows for your amusement and edification. You might even find yourself agreeing with the poet's sentiment.

A Poetic Book Review of Money, Money, Money Ain't it Funny....

Money, Money, Money written with sex on her mind,
Compare my sexual progress to my money progress and they are the same I find,
If I am going to fail with money, why the bloody hell am I in a job?
If I invest emotionally it will still only be worth two bob.

Ms Sutherland knows her subject, and gives good examples with backup.
Information is concise, quoted research it's an overflowing cup.
Not all boring, injected light relief with a few humourous quizzes,
I made up my own answers which had me in stitches.

Some case studies are really very bloody good,
How does compound interest work - yes we understood.
I have questioned how I behave when dealing with my money,
And I have come to the conclusion - it ain't bloody funny.

By Anon