By Amanda Morrall (email)
1) Educate yourself
I have a repertoire of mantras that I draw on in both good and bad times. One of them is "If you lose don't lose the lesson.'' I borrowed it from the Dalai Lama. I have found it to be quite profound and apply it often. It makes disappointment and frustrations a lot easier to take. I have come to believe there is always something to be gained, even from the ugliest of situations if you open your mind and eyes to it.
Personal finance blogger squirrelers.com shares that view and suggests that adopting this attitude across all facets of life, experiences and relationships will also add to your bottom line if you take the lessons on board and apply them.
2) How much do you need?
Is 2% of your gross salary going to cut it for your retirement savings? Maybe if you live like a monk in retirement. I like learning from monks but I don't want to live like one. How much you need will depend on a whole range of factors including when you started saving, how much you are setting aside, your returns, tax, inflation, fees, and lifestyle in retirement. This blog by sensetosave.com reviews some of the basics. Substitute 401s for KiwiSaver.
See also our Kiwi-friendly cost benefit calculator here for more retirement savings guidance.
3) Losing money while you sleep
Apparently I was sleeping a lot last year. Global equities sucked the life out of my kid's university education funds. Here's some sobering advice for investors with individual stocks in their portfolio basket via reuters.com.
4) Automatic savings
Pay yourself first. It's a standard line uttered by financial advisors to get clients into a savings mode. One of the most practical ways to achieve that is by having the money come out of your paycheque before you get a chance to spend it. Novelinvestor.com extols the virtues of automatic savings here.
5) Median rents
Our median rents chart here pains me every time I see it. Why? Because even though I live in a modest three bedroom home, and not a mansion, my proximity to the beach means I've crossed the median. Nationally it's NZ$320 per week. Auckland's fell from a peak of NZ$510 last November to NZ$495 in January. I look longingly at the median but fear another move might just kill me. Life is a series of trade-offs. Fortunately, I love the beach and go there most days.