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, 12 November 2013

Who's Counting?

Who's Counting? I sure am! Look at the range of occupations!

"The 100 women with the most impact are top politicians and CEOs, activist billionaires and celebrities who matter. In roughly equal measure you’ll find next gen entrepreneurs and media mavens, technologists and leaders in philanthropy — all ranked by dollars, media momentum and impact

We’ve selected women that go beyond the traditional taxonomy of the power elite (political and economic might). These change-agents are actually shifting our very idea of clout and authority and, in the process, transforming the world in fresh and exhilarating ways.

This year the list features nine heads of state who run nations with a combined GDP of $11.8 trillion — including the No. 1 Power Woman, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The 24 corporate CEOs control $893 billion in annual revenues, and 16 of the women here founded their own companies, including two of the three new billionaires to the list, Tory Burch and Spanx’s Sara Blakely. Speaking of, this year’s class has 14 billionaires valued in excess of $82 billion.

  • Forty percent of the women on the list are “female firsts.”
  • Women in tech? Right here. Tech takes a second turn as a category on the Power Women list.  
  • The rising tide of female entrepreneurs: A remarkable number of women are founders or owners of their own enterprises, not a few of whose eponymous companies are synonymous with high fashion.
  • The new celebrity role models: Sure, they’re famous but they deserve special attention for their outside work, be it ambassadors for meaningful causes or as business owners.  
  • Businesswomen are booming in Asia: The whole region makes a strong showing, from China and Singapore to New Zealand and Thailand. 
  • Healing, feeding and educating the world: If they’re not topping corporations or state, the women on our list are heads of major nonprofits and NGOs and they wield as large budgets and impact millions."

Source: Forbes.com

Friday, 8 November 2013


Gender insurance gap revealed.

Women are more likely to take out home, car and health insurance while men are more likely to opt for life and pet cover,according to research by Australian life insurer TAL.

Its research found 41% of men have a life policy, compared to 33% of women. That includes disability, income protection, trauma and life insurance.

Both men and women were more likely to insure their home and car than their life and income.

Everyday Money

From my favourite economist,

"England is the only country in the developed world where the generation approaching retirement is more literate and numerate than the youngest adults, according to the first skills survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.In a stark assessment of the success and failure of the 720-million-strong adult workforce across the wealthier economies, the economic think tank warns that in England, adults aged 55 to 65 perform better than 16- to 24-year-olds at foundation levels of literacy and numeracy. The survey did not include people from Scotland or Wales. The OECD study also finds that a quarter of adults in England have the maths skills of a 10-year-old. About 8.5 million adults, 24.1% of the population, have such basic levels of numeracy that they can manage only one-step tasks in arithmetic, sorting numbers or reading graphs. This is worse than the average in the developed world, where an average of 19% of people were found to have a similarly poor skill base. When the results within age groups are compared across participating countries, older adults in England score higher in literacy and numeracy than the average among their peers, while younger adults show some of the lowest scores for their age group."

I'm willing to bet it ain't too different here!

Source: Eye2theLongRun

Musings and Amusings

"EVEN if we grade on a very generous curve, many Americans flunk when it comes to financial literacy. Consider this three-item quiz: 

• Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2 percent a year. After five years, how much do you think you would have if you left the money to grow? More than $102, exactly $102 or less than $102? 

• Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account was 1 percent a year and that inflation was 2 percent. After one year, would you be able to buy more than, the same as or less than you could today with the money? 

• Do you think this statement is true or false: “Buying a single company stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund”? 

Anyone with even a basic understanding of compound interest, inflation and diversification should know that the answers to these questions are “more than,” “less than” and “false.” Yet in a survey of Americans over age 50 conducted by the economists Annamaria Lusardi of George Washington University and Olivia S. Mitchell of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, only a third could answer all three questions correctly. 

This is particularly troubling given the inherent complexity of our modern economy. Whether in taking out a student loan, buying a house or saving for retirement, people are being asked to make decisions that are difficult even if they have graduate training in finance and economics. Throwing the financially illiterate into that maelstrom is like taking students currently enrolled in driver’s education and asking them to compete in the Indianapolis 500."

A similar story to that of the UK!

Source: NY Times


When will this change?

"Boys earn, learn more when it comes to cash.

The Westpac Kids and Money Report released yesterday morning found boys receive $12.50 per week in pocket money versus $9.80 for girls for 2.4 hours of housework, and the gender divide extended to what work they did.

Boys were more likely to take out the rubbish, mow the lawns and clean the car while girls tended to do the dishes, laundry and clean bedrooms."

And I wrote about this in 2005 in Girls Just Want to Have Fund$!

Source: The Press

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Finance & Investment

Don't think we will be investing this credit union any time soon:

"A credit union offering "Loans For Ladies" and encouraging women to go on shopping sprees and have makeovers has sparked fury on social media from the company's target demographic.

Customer-owned credit union NZCU Baywide launched a website called Loans For Ladies just over a month ago, encouraging women to borrow any amount from $1000 to $50,000 for "an all-day makeover, a shopping spree, or that second car you've always dreamt of - anything goes honey!"

Sprinkled among the retro-style imagery and garish colour scheme are inspirational messages such as: "Cinderella is proof a pair of shoes can change your life."

The website also carried fake - or, as the company initially called them, "indicative" - testimonials, from the likes of ‘Frankie Olson': "I got a loan for [sic] Loans For Ladies and got nipped and tucked from ear to ear. I feel like a million dollars."

Angry women took to social media to voice their disapproval soon after. "I want to use Loans For Ladies but it looks so complicated. Maybe if I get a man to explain the big words to me," tweeted Alessandra Rachael.

"I don't think you've used quite enough pink on your website, or nearly enough images of impossibly high-heeled shoes," said Facebook user Lisa Cullimore Ryder. "When it comes to misogyny though, it's two thumbs up!"

Interestingly "most applicants for Loans For Ladies had been turned down because of strict lending criteria. The approval rate was around "six or seven per cent". He said it was better to borrow from a credit union than to be "ripped off" by finance companies."

Source: stuff.co.nz

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Who's Counting?

We have to talk about the gender wage gap in Ireland. It's the highest in the world. But there's a catch. It's not men earning more than women. It's women - those without children, at least - earning more than men.

Irish women without kids earn 17 percent more than the typical male worker, according to new research from the OECD.

Once kids enter the picture, the picture changes.

For example, in the Netherlands, women work almost 2 hours more per day than men, and female employment has climbed to over 70% if you factor in part-time workers, the cost of having children is about 7 percentage points compared to male earnings. In Korea, where more married women are expected to leave their jobs and female participation rates haven't much budged for 20 years, according to OECD, female earnings plummet compared to men after kids.

Source: The Atlantic


Having it all: this famous and absurd phrase implies that women have somehow gone beyond their station by doing more than just having babies. Value laden and filled with contempt, it suggests an element of greed - depicting working mothers as overambitious idealists, shunning caring responsibilities in favour of work.

Viviene Reding, the European commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship at January's Davos World Economic Forum said it was crucial for wokers to be provided with proper childcare "an issue for men as well as women."

Perhaps we should opt for a new phrase: “the family/life balance”. Yes, admittedly it's less catchy for newspaper headlines, but in reality it’s a choice and balancing act that both men and women should be supported to achieve.

Supporting women into managerial positions also has a strong economic case: “The very best minds, men’s and women’s alike, are needed to address today’s business challenges”. "Having it all” for both men and women is an economic imperative.

Source: Telegraph UK

Musings and Amusings

This article should be widely disseminated. Made me rethink my view of the man.

Losing my religion for equality by Jimmy Carter.

"So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries."

Nearly 5 years after this was written we are still seeing the schism in the Anglican Church, the atrocious behaviour of many Islam adherents towards women and the results of the skewed celibacy rules of the Roman Catholic Church.

Everyday Money

Will Your Mother Live in Poverty?

Documenting the wage gap based on motherhood in many countries, including the United States, the OECD tells the sorry maternal tale in stark numbers.

In the U.S., the wage gap between men and women without children is only seven percent.

Have your first child on American soil, however, and the wage gap rockets to 23%.

Women over 65 today are more than one and a half times more likely to live in poverty than men in the same age bracket.

As the OECD reports, 65% of an American family’s second wage is spent on childcare. For single mothers, of course, that’s 65% of a first wage.

Couple the wage gap, the motherhood penalty, and child care expenses with a 40% single motherhood rate and you get exactly what you’d expect – more than one in five American children living below the poverty line.

In the absence of genuine economic and political power, “women’s” issues will continue to languish unattended (or to be hostility opposed).

Whether your mother will spend her elder years in poverty or your sisters and children will spend theirs in want and diminished opportunity is really up to us, the women.

We women are the ground beneath civilization’s feet and the high heels in which the world dances.

Source: Forbes


Coca-Cola CEO Says Women Most Dynamic Economic Force In World Today, and of course we know it, some commentators such as Warren Buffett know it.

Today, the driving force of the new women’s movement is located in the camps of what used to be the opposition - business and finance.

In the United States, women control or influence more than 80 percent of purchasing decisions. Globally they are responsible for $20 trillion in spending, a figure expected to rise to $28 trillion by 2014.

Goldman Sachs has found that it is women who are redefining markets and creating growth by focusing their spending power on purchases such as food, health care, education, clothing, consumer durables, and financial services. And, according to a Deloitte study, women’s earning power is growing faster than men’s in the developing world, where their earned incomes have increased by 8.1 percent compared with men’s 5.8 percent.

As the CEO of Coca-Cola, recently stated, “The truth is that women are already the most dynamic and fastest-growing economic force in the world today.”

That's the new revolution.

Source: Forbes