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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.

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Friday, 15 July 2016


Women 'still held back in workplace'

If you're a woman in New Zealand chances are you'll have a good education, but that won't neccessarily bring you better job opportunities. "Women are gaining qualifications at a greater rate than men but their skills are not being translated into greater opportunities," the report said.

"Division of labour still sees women doing the majority of unpaid domestic work, and in paid employment you've got gender diversion hierarchically across industries. The normal way that work is organised is a way that's set up fro men, not for women."

Educated women found it difficult to move up the career ladder when they were still expected to play a traditional role at home, Massey University management expert Dr Suze Wilson explained.

It was "trending down slowly," according to the report, with women getting a median of $21.23 to a man's $24.07.

"Blind recruiting" was an example of a method that could be used, Women's Minister Louise Upston said. "You imagine looking at CVs that don't have names, don't have ages, don't have 'married with three children' and applications stacked up by your skills and abilities, [the application] becomes free of bias."

Source: The Press

Everyday Money

The gender pay gap persists almost everywhere
On average women earn 18% less than men, according to analysis by Korn Ferry Hay Group, a consulting firm which looked at more than 8m employees in 33 countries.

In Britain, more than four decades after the equal pay act was introduced, the headline difference between men and women’s pay is still high.

Women only make up around a third of senior management roles there. Workers at the same level but in different companies still face an average pay gap of over 9%.The United Arab Emirates, on the other hand, has a reverse pay gap. Women at the same level, company and function actually earn 2% more than their male counterparts. This is partly because fewer women participate in the labour force, and those that do tend to have higher levels of education.

Source: The Economist


'Pink tax' angers women from New York to London. 

It's called the "pink tax." The same products have very different price tags, depending on which gender they are meant for. 

Take shampoos as an example. A recent study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that haircare products for women cost on average 48% more than the same items meant for men.
It found that female razors are 11% more expensive than men's. Jeans cost 10% more. Even toys marketed to little girls are 11% pricier compared to those for boys. 

Women around the world are up in arms about the issue, accusing retailers of "sexist pricing." 

British pharmacy chain Boots was forced to cut prices of some items this week after an online campaign called on the company to stop the unfair pricing. 

The petition showed that identical Boots-branded cream cost £9.99 ($14.50) for women and £7.29 ($10.60) for men. The razors in question were priced at £2.29 ($3.30) for a package of eight women's razors and £1.49 ($2.20) for a pack of 10 men's razors. 

Source: CNN Money

Who's counting?

6 Fascinating Mind Tricks That Help You Save Money

Psych Yourself Rich 
Putting money aside seems pretty straightforward. But, seeing as the average personal-savings rate is just 5.7 percent (compared to 11 percent two decades ago), it’s definitely easier said than done. “We like to think of ourselves as rational when it comes to finances, but our decisions are shaped by psychological and emotional triggers,” says financial behaviorist Jacquette M. Timmons. 

Focus on Why You Want to Save — Not Just How
If you want to sock away more cash, coming up with specific ways to accomplish your goal sounds like a smart idea, right? But a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research counteracts that notion. It found that people who honed in on the reasons why they wanted to put aside money (so you’ll be able to go on that safari you’ve always dreamed of, afford to buy your own home or retire comfortably) saved more than participants who concentrated on developing specific techniques for how they’d cut back — say, by going shopping less often.  

Harness Your Power 
The more powerful you feel before making a financial decision, the more money you’ll stash, according to research from Stanford University. Before sitting down with your financial advisor or heading on a shopping trip, think back to a time in your life when you felt on top of the world. Maybe you successfully asked for a raise, scored a promotion or even spoke up about an issue important to you. “People who feel powerful use saving money as a means to maintain their current state of power,” concluded the study authors. 

Put It In Writing
Here’s one tiny tweak that can make a huge difference in whether or not you achieve savings success: Rather than just thinking about your savings goals, jot them down. Research from Gail Matthews, PhD, of Dominican University found that people who wrote down their goals were significantly more successful at achieving them than those who simply pondered them. Sixty-one percent of the “writers” accomplished their objectives, compared to only 43 percent of the “thinkers.”  

Make Saving Pleasurable (Seriously!) 
Cutting back, spending less, being frugal…yeah, doesn’t sound like a heck of a lot of fun, does it? “We associate saving money with feelings of deprivation, with having to pass up things that we love,” explains Timmons. “And that doesn’t give us much impetus to follow through.”

So, try to make the blah process as enjoyable as possible and you’ll be galvanized to stash more cash. Begin by creating a monthly ritual for evaluating your savings that you might actually look forward to. Slip into cozy slippers, light a few candles and pour yourself a cup of tea for example. While we’re at it, try to go through your investments at the same time and place — say, the last Sunday of the month at your kitchen table — rather than doing it on the fly.  

Plan a Money Date 
It’s temptingly easy to put off your savings goals when you only have yourself to answer to.  But Matthews’ research shows that people are much more likely to follow through if there’s someone else holding them accountable: A whopping 76 percent of study participants who submitted weekly progress reports to a supportive friend were successful.  

Source: Daily Worth

Finance & Investments

Here are three common myths about women and money — happily debunked. 

The Stereotype: Women Are More Risk Averse

Many studies have found statistically significant differences in how men and women view risk. But economists and pundits have a habit of extrapolating those findings into the broad-brush statement that "women are more risk averse than men."

Clearly, this isn't universally true. As economist Julie Nelson pointed out, "just one example of a cautious man and a bold woman disproves it."

The Reality: Some Women Are Big Risk-Takers

At least one group of women seem to be greater risk-takers than their peers: those who earn more than $200,000.

A recent Spectrem Group survey of about 400 high-earning women found more than half (54 percent) said they were willing to take a significant risk to earn a higher return on their portfolios. Compare that to just one-third (32 percent) of all other affluent investors who said the same thing. The high-earning women were also more likely to own higher-risk investments, including commodities, hedge funds, and venture capital, than their affluent peers.

The Stereotype: Women Are Less Knowledgeable About Investing

Numerous studies have shown that women tend to be less financially knowledgeable than men (although financial literacy in both sexes is abysmally low, both in the U.S. and abroad). Women are also more likely than men to say they're ignorant about finances.

But many women may know more than they think. In one study of financial literacy in eight countries, women were less likely to correctly answer a question about diversification

The Reality: Some Women Know a Lot
High-income women once again buck the trend. Spectrem's study found 75 percent said that they were very or fairly knowledgeable about financial products or investments, compared to 68 percent of all other affluent investors.

The Stereotype: Women Are Less Interested in Investing

If you buy the notion that women are scared of risk and lack confidence in their financial knowledge, it makes sense that we would be less likely than men to be actively engaged in investing and more likely to hand off those responsibilities to someone else.

The Reality: Some Women Are More Hands-On
The gap disappears when high-income women are compared to their peers: 43 percent of the women in Spectrem's study said they enjoyed investing and liked to be actively involved in the day-to-day management of their finances. That compared to 38 percent of other affluent investors who said they enjoyed investing and 42 percent who wanted to stay involved day to day.

Source: Dailyworth

Musings & Amusings

Unclouded vision

Forecasting is a talent. Luckily it can be learned.

Human beings cannot resist trying to scry the future. If soothsaying is not the oldest profession, it is certainly one of them.

The Chinese had the I-Ching; the Romans peered at the entrails of sacrificed animals. These days, anyone wanting to know what the future holds can consult everything from telephone psychics to intelligence agencies, bookies, futures markets and media pundits. Their record is far from perfect. But it is difficult to say just how imperfect: for all the importance people attach to forecasting, hardly anyone bothers to keep score.

Superforecasters are clever, on average, but by no means geniuses. More important than sheer intelligence was mental attitude. Borrowing from Sir Isaiah Berlin, a Latvian-born British philosopher, Mr Tetlock divides people into two categories: hedgehogs, whose understanding of the world depends on one or two big ideas, and foxes, who think the world is too complicated to boil down into a single slogan. Superforecasters are drawn exclusively from the ranks of the foxes.

Humility in the face of a complex world makes superforecasters subtle thinkers. They tend to be comfortable with numbers and statistical concepts such as “regression to the mean” (which essentially says that most of the time things are pretty normal, so any large deviation is likely to be followed by a shift back towards normality).

But superforecasters do have a healthy appetite for information, a willingness to revisit their predictions in light of new data, and the ability to synthesise material from sources with very different outlooks on the world. They think in fine gradations.

Most important is what Mr Tetlock calls a “growth mindset”: a mix of determination, self-reflection and willingness to learn from one’s mistakes. The best forecasters were less interested in whether they were right or wrong than in why they were right or wrong. They were always looking for ways to improve their performance. In other words, prediction is not only possible, it is teachable.

Talk of growth mindsets, statistical fluency and a complicated world may sound dry and technical. It is not. Mr Tetlock’s thesis is that politics and human affairs are not inscrutable mysteries. Instead, they are a bit like weather forecasting, where short-term predictions are possible and reasonably accurate.

Source: The Economist