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Can money really buy freedom?; Taming of the emotional elephant; Relationship deal breakers; Why invest in bonds; Teaching money in schools

Posted in Personal Finance

By Amanda Morrall

It's been an interesting week to say the least including six radio interviews in promotion of my new book Money Matters. Being the interviewee is a real novelty I have to say but I've enjoyed chatting with folks from around the country about everything from debt to love. One of the interviewers did a fine job in summarising the book's key themes when she said "the book is really a message of money, love and mindfulness." I think she was right on the money (forgive the pun) because money in isolation from the rest of our lives (the stuff that really matters) is quite pointless.

1) Does money=freedom?

For more philosophical banter about money, what it can and can't do and where you find yourself when you become financially independent, here's some thoughts from GetRichSlowly bloggers who gathered to contemplate the question of whether money can buy freedom.  

2) Taming of the elephant

Another blog that resonates with my views on behavioural financial can be found here at Wisebread.com. The author considers the conflicting impulses between mind and emotion and how self imposed restraints can effect better outcomes when it comes to conditioning consumer behaviour and responsible credit card use.

3) Deal breakers

Kids are quite often cited as deal breakers in relationships. No denying that's a biggie but another that rates highly, or should rate highly, is money. I'm not talking about quantity but rather how it's managed. Why? Because it turns out money is the No.1 relationship killer. This is something that came up in discussion during one of my interviews this week. The interviewer correctly pointed out that it's not exactly a romance building line of questioning asking about debt and credit card habits on a first date. Obviously the first date is not the time and place but if this is a conversation that gets permanently shoved to the sidelines, it's bound to create problems down the line.

I'm not the only one callous enough to say that sound money management is one of my deal breakers. Robert Brokamp from The Motley Fool shares his views on this one.

4) Money skills

The importance of money smarts and survival skills is finally coming home to roost in the school system. The Guardian reports here on how financial literacy is being incorporated into the curriculum in British schools. About time.

5) Bonds vs shares

There's a school of thought that says the appropriate allocation of equities is 100 minus your age. The idea being that as you grow older you want less volatility in your portfolio so you would move to a higher exposure of cash and bonds, as a fixed interest investment. Is this formula rocket science? Monevator takes a closer look at age appropriate asset allocation and the value of bonds.

To read other Take Fives by Amanda Morrall click here. You can also follow Amanda on Twitter @amandamorrall or at www.amandamorrall.com

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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10 Comments

Money certainly can buy

Money certainly can buy freedom ,just have a look at some cases of criminal behavior perpetrated by the wealthy and then look at the penalty compared to someone who has nothing and steals a banana.

+1 and pure genius NG. Of

+1 and pure genius NG. Of course you have to add a small caveat to your otherwise spot-on analysis - if you rich you can only get away with it if you steal from the little man - a la Corzine, Goodwin, Diamond, anyone at Goldman Sachs etc.

If you are rich and you steal from the rich, then you still down. Just ask Bernie Madoff.

Amanda, who will the UK govt

Amanda, who will the UK govt get to teach the financial skills...will they use out of work bankers...out of work for a reason...or maybe the Madoffs of the UK world....and if the children learn the truth about how their futures have been destroyed by stupid greedy politicians of today, how will the children react....maybe the children are learning now from the youth across the Arab world and those in Greece...and Spain....etc.

Despite NG's perfectly

Despite NG's perfectly correct reading of the phrase 'does money = freedom?', I suspect that you were actually getting at something else, Amanda.

So anyhoo, I skimmed through the article, was pleased to note that Maslows Hierarchy of needs was there (I <3 self-actualising) and noted a few other interesting comments, like this one...

"To me, freedom means being able to what you want, when you want"

That doesn't sound so much like freedom as anarchy. The problem with these kind of conversations is that everyone seems to equate freedom to doing what they want, and having someone else take care of all the mundane things we don't want encroaching on our freedom. Like a rock star or movie star who gives the impression of having an entourage to take care of everything while they are free to do whatever they fancy on a whim.

It's a media-generated falsehood designed to make us keep striving for that "ideal" and in doing so consume more products and work harder for the man. When you hear celebrities or wealthy people talk you realise that while money has bought them certain freedoms, it has also taken away quite a few as well.

We are already free. Free to do whatever we choose within the constraints of the rules that make up our society( or not, if are prepared to accept the consequences). We still have a responsibility to support ourselves and our family, but if we want to we can just get up and walk away any time we like. It really is that simple. However we are all trapped inside a prison of our own making - we can't just walk away because the mortgage needs paying, the car needs updating, bills have to be paid...
 
Money never buys you freedom IMHO. We all want to be 'free', to be 'enlightened', if enlightenment is the end of suffering, but it's a mistake to think the money can bring that kind of freedom. On the contrary it's the pursuit of money that has taken away our freedom.
 
(anyone who disagrees please check with any of the 80% of the worlds poulation that live on less than $10/day. I'm sure most of them aren't necking anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills, and SSRIs in anywhere near the same rate as we are).

... and thus concludes todays

... and thus concludes todays lecture ;-)

Freedom requires certain

Freedom requires certain Rights, responsibilities and honesty.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
Article 1.

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood

 
This article identifies that we are born “equal” however from thereafter each individuals efforts determines their outcome. Groups of like minded people form to address the disparities of other people’s poor effort knowing that effort inputs are lower and escalate the problem by creating laws and redistribution against other people’s honest efforts etc.
In the end we end up with numerous groups forming all based on real and perceived disparities as they misinterpret the meaning of “EQUAL” and the essential requirement of “EFFORT’ 
 
People fail to grasp that they are born equal and they must apply personal effort to maintain the Freedom for themselves and others.  Freedom has a choice component in regards to effort. Some choose no/little effort and obtain various state type benefits, arrangements and agreements, others choose force, fraud,  compulsion, corruption, coercion etc, while a few choose honest individual effort.
 
For the people of the world to have true Freedom we have to recognise that others have Freedom also. Initiating or threatening Force, Fraud, Coercion, Compulsion and Corruption etc denies others their Freedom.
 
Certain Rights and Responsibilities must be present for Freedom to exist and these rights and responsibilities cannot exist without Honesty as this is another essential component that is the glue that holds it altogether.
 
Force, fraud, coercion, compulsion, corruption etc have to be absent on all levels otherwise we have oppression.
 
Most humans across the globe will not attain Freedom whether that freedom is financial or otherwise as they abnegate their rights and responsibilities to themselves and others on a daily basis.
Competitive neutrality cannot exist when force, fraud, coercion, *compulsion, corruption etc are present.
 
Financial Freedom is generally described as the ability to generate enough passive income to fulfil a person’s income requirements and generates a surplus over needs.
Achieving the objective of Financial Freedom still requires the objectives of Freedom as outlined above to be met otherwise we are not meeting the necessary Competitive Neutrality component. If financial freedom is obtained (sufficient passive income) but the method of attainment required some form of assistance the business is not competitively neutral and therefore someone else has lost some of their rights and freedoms. In other words the financial freedom attained is bogus and ripping someone else off.
 

Yes, without a definition of

Yes, without a definition of what freedom is it's a wandering tale.
 
Freedm must be a two sided coin, both freedom TO and freedom FROM.  Without both sides it's half the story.  My freedom TO run around cutting off peoples heads with an axe encroaches on your freedom FROM violence from axe welding maniacs.
 
Whatever the answer it is more complex than it first appears.  The rich can sometimes escape crime but rock stars often die from their addiction to drugs.

I'm all for teaching money

I'm all for teaching money (and other) skills in schools. Just today I went to the local sports shop to buy energy gels. ``How much are they?'' I asked the friendly young sales assistant. ``They're $2.50 individually or $26.95 for a packet of 10'', she told me. ``So it costs less to buy 10 individual sachets than a box of 10'', I remarked. ``I don't know'', she said, ``I've never worked it out''.

Dogs...banned from chch urban

Dogs...banned from chch urban zone...about time.
"even before the earthquakes Christchurch's waterways rarely met recreational water standards because they were contaminated with duck and dog faeces."
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/8281537/Sewage-pollutes-Avon-at-Hagley-park

Read all about "the old boy's

Read all about "the old boy's club"...R18...  http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/columnists/tracy-watkins/8282973/Even-Collins-lacks-steel-to-rattle-MPs
Since they will never allow the public to use the OIA to expose the farce of NZ govt..we must assume the farce is seriously sick.