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

Wednesday, 3 September 2014


A red carpet peck on the cheek by Leila Hatami, the Iranian actress at the Cannes Film Festival has been reported to the country’s courts by activists who are seeking a public flogging as punishment for violating Islamic laws.

Iran’s Islamic rules stipulate that a man and a woman who are unrelated cannot embrace in public. Moreover a woman should not have her hair on display. The actress had a scarf around her neck but had not covered the crown of her head. 

Finance & Investments

9 Depressing Facts From the Latest Women in Media Report

Jennifer Lawrence makes $11 million less than Adam Sandler. Women are inching towards media equality, but it’s slow going.

  1. The highest-paid female movie star, Angelina Jolie, makes about the same per movie as the two lowest-paid male stars, Denzel Washington and Liam Neeson. Her $33 million paycheck is dwarfed by the $75 million Robert Downey Jr. rakes in as the highest-paid movie star for the Iron Man movies.
  2. Female representation in newsrooms has budged very little since 1999: back then, women made up 36.9% of the newsroom staff– now, it’s 36.3%.
  3. Women are vastly underrepresented in sports journalism: Of the 183 sports talk radio hosts on Talkers magazine’s “Heavy Hundred,” only two were women.
  4. Women were quoted in only 19% of news articles in January and February of 2013. This follows a pattern of men being 3.4 times more likely to be quoted on the front page of The New York Times, 4.6 times more likely to be quoted in political stories, and 5.4 times more likely to be quoted in international stories.
  5. Women are faring worse at making movies in 2013 than they were in 1998. Of all the top-grossing movies of 2013, women accounted for only 16% of the writers, directors, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers.
  6. Women had fewer speaking roles in movies in 2012 than in any year since 2007–only 28.4% of speaking roles in the top 100 films went to women.
  7. The Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC has more diversity than all other Sunday news talk shows combined, with 67% non-white guests, compared to the 16% of guests on NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox combined.
  8. Only 33 directors of the 500 top-grossing movies from 2007 to 2012 were black, and only 2 of those were black women
  9. Our columnists are still overwhelmingly old white men. There are four times as many male columnists as female columnists at the three biggest newspapers and four newspaper syndicate.           
Source: business.time.com

Musings & Amusings

Discrimination persists in the workplace and it isn’t necessarily intentional or overt, experts on gender and negotiation say. But it can emerge when women act in ways that aren’t considered sufficiently feminine; like asking for money, and, when women advocate for themselves, these experts say, some people find it unseemly. Women can risk being perceived as overly demanding and unlikable. 

Here are some strategies for approaching negotiations at work:

Be careful about how you present information asking for a salary increase - in a performance review might be more effective.
The next time a headhunter calls, talk to them because they are the one who knows what you are worth on the open market. Women need to speak with men about salaries, too. If they network only with other women, experts said, they are more likely to come up with numbers that are systematically less.
Specific Language
Women should also frame requests from the employer’s perspective.
Negotiate in Person
Negotiation by email can backfire.
Outside Offers
Receiving an offer for a more lucrative position may seem like a prime opportunity to negotiate. But this tactic may harm women because it can be perceived as a threat.
Keeping all this in mind isn’t easy, which is why experts suggest role-playing the situation with a friend or partner.

Source: NY Times


App to boost women's self esteem

The gender pay gap may often be attributed to corporate sexism, but President Francois Hollande's government has identified a second explanation - lack of self-esteem among women. Now his left-wing Cabinet has launched an application for smartphones and tablets that is supposed to give female employees the confidence they need to demand the same salaries as their male colleagues. The app, called Leadership Our Elles (Leadership for Them), and touted as a way of turning shrinking violets into bullish battlers, can be down loaded free from the internet site of the Ministry of Women's Rights. Female staff are encouraged to think positively, listen to their inner voices, assert their ambitions, speak with confidence and power-dress. Women in France need to work 433 days to earn what men earned in 365 days.

Women should express Vincent Van Gogh's philosophy: "What would life be if we didn't have the courage to try anything?"

Source: The Press

Who's Counting

The Worst Money Mistakes You Can Make at Any Age
Financial Faux-Pas

Everyone makes mistakes with money. We don’t save enough, or we spend too much on something frivolous. We sell shares in a stock too soon or not soon enough. But there are also financial concerns that are unique to different stages of life. Avoiding them as you go along can save you a lot of stress (and money!) both now and in your next stage of life.  As you manoeuvre through life’s ups and downs, here are the slipups to watch out for in each decade.

In Your 20s: Spending more than you earn and not saving for retirement.

It's tempting to travel the world or buy a big car so you can feel like an adult. But most people in their 20s don't earn enough right out of school to afford those things. And if you can't pay for that stuff up front, you wind up taking on big debts that hold you back for a long time.

Instead, create a budget, or spending plan, based solely on your current income. Get used to saving for the things you want with the money you earn and avoid using credit cards except to build credit — and only if you can pay the balance off within the month.

In Your 30s: Combining your finances and delaying insurance.

During this decade, many women make the mistake of combining all of their income, investments and financial accounts with those of their spouse or partner. If those relationships eventually come to an end, they often end up less financially secure than they would have been if they had kept some of their finances separate.

A second mistake those in their thirties often make is neglecting to protect themselves with insurance. They often pass up the chance to buy life insurance at a low rate and delay the purchase of income protection insurance or trauma insurance.

If you are in good health, buying term life insurance in your thirties is dirt cheap and you can lock in low rates for 20 or 30 years.

In Your 40s: Funding university fees over retirement and not saving enough.

Many people in their forties are still busy spending money on the things they want right now — vacations, cars, and new houses — and delaying building up their retirement savings.

In Your 50s: Co-signing on a loan and getting too defensive with savings.

Once upon a time, when people turned about 55, most were worried about simply protecting what they had already saved. Now that many people are living well into their eighties and nineties, they need much more in retirement than they once did. That means simply preserving capital is not a sustainable financial strategy for people in this age group.

In Your 60s and Beyond: Underestimating the cost of future medical expenses and overlooking your income.

Many people focus on building their retirement funds until they retire, and then stop proactively building and simply start living off those funds. But vigilant retirees can continue to maximize their retirement funds and use them to continue earning income. The best retirement portfolios are not just giant pots of cash you draw down every time the bills are due. Rather, portfolios of income investments like stocks offer monthly or quarterly distributions that can act as a pay cheque of sorts in retirement as they deliver interest payments to investors. These kinds of income investments stretch your money and make it last longer, rather than force you to slowly bleed your piggy bank dry.

Source: Dailyworth.com