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

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Musings and Amusings

Neuroscience, still a relatively new science is examining “the benefits of enhancement” through drugs.

They theorise that cognitive enhancement is already practised by most of us. We drink coffee, eat nutritious foods, train our brains and get a good night’s sleep.

Taking drugs they say is simply a little further on in the continuum. Wouldn’t you want the surgeon whose mind is extra sharp, a pilot who’s extra alert or the medical researcher whose memory is finely tuned to make extraordinary connections?

Or on a personal level you could make plans for socialising, pay the bills and consolidate your credit card debt, do your job without forgetting your dental appointments or neglecting to pick the kids up from school? Sounds good to me! Coming to a pharmacy near you soon!

Everyday Money

If you are struggling with finances, particularly paying your mortgage, here are some ideas to help ease the burden.

• Sell luxury items or household goods that you don’t need, if you are a two car household reduce to one. Any money you save or make should go to reduce your mortgage.
• Look at ways to reduce your outgoings - is there anything in your budget you can do without.
• Look at how you might increase your income – part time work, take in a boarder, can you set up a small business from home.
• Most lenders will offer you a 90 day repayment holiday if you need one.
• Convert to an interest only mortgage until your situation improves. This will reduce your repayments.
• Extend the term of your mortgage.

Bear in mind the last three suggestions will increase your interest bill and are short term solutions only.

Who’s counting

A conversation overheard in a bar;

Gentleman 1: “I believe in what you are saying 110%. Howard.”
Gentleman 2: “Ugh.”
Gentleman 1: “What?”
Gentleman 2: “Why not 120%, or 130%, or more?”
Gentleman 1: “Okay, I believe in you 140%.”
Gentleman 2: “Anything beyond 100% is meaningless.”
Gentleman 1: “Okay, now I’m down to 90%.”
Gentleman 2:”That’s better.”

You can’t give more than 100% in anything!

Finance and Investments

You have survived 2008 and are feeling shell shocked. Here are some tips to help you through 2009 and beyond – you should of course have a financial plan.

Tip 1 - The share market is still cyclical
It is not different this time, all asset classes have cycles. You just forget about it after five years of positive growth with few corrections.

Tip 2 - Volatility will continue
You cannot call the highs and the lows. Dollar cost average, that is buy every month, set up a regular savings plan.

Tip 3 - Prepare for Downturns
Work out how much risk you can stand and structure an exit strategy into your investing life. The hardest thing for you to beat is not the market but your mindset (for more on this read Money, Money, Money Ain’t it Funny).

Tip 4 - Getting it right is not easy
Even the best get their picks wrong. If you or your advisor is right almost 80% of the time – remember it’s your losers you sell, not the winners! (For more on this read Money, Money, Money Ain’t it Funny).


I have been wondering who or what will bring Mugabe down. An article towards the end of last year made me wonder if it would be women.

The rare demonstration of resistance was fuelled by some 200 women hoisting placards and demanding an end to the cholera epidemic. The women only marched a couple of hundred yards before dispersing, foiling the security services who only found flyers blowing along the Harare footpath.

The contrast between the concerns of the Zimbabwean women and in the Western world is phenomenal. In Australia, concern is growing at the systemic problems which inhibit the appointment of women to senior management roles despite women graduating in greater numbers. The lack of promotion is tied to the time women take out of the workforce colliding with the lack of flexibility demonstrated by businesses. Here in New Zealand the Human Rights Commission says that the evidence of gender equality is now indisputable (for more on both of these issues read Girls Just Want to Have Fund$).

If women continue to defy Mugabe, will they take power, economic power, in a way that we have not been able to?


Why do we always feel so guilty when we eat fat? Fat is one of the most joyous things to eat; think butter on Vogel’s (how could you eat popcorn without butter?), crunchy crackling on pork, bacon (said to be the one food which tempts vegetarians).

Then there are butter based sauces, think French beurre blanc on a whole sole. If you are still with me I can recommend Jennifer McLagan’s cookbook entitled “Fat.” The book is split into four sections: butter, lard or pork fat, poultry fat (mmm...crispy skinned duck and chicken) and beef and lamb fat. And yes – she does complement her fat dishes with herbs, sage is her favourite. She also uses bay leaves, parsley and there are recipes with spinach, pumpkin, rice and fish.

Indulge yourself with her slow roasted pork belly and kale – just don’t discuss this with your personal trainer or nutritionist! McLagan makes a case for fat – she says that as it is so satisfying you eat less of it.