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What's your magic number? Gold the worst investment of 2013?; Bloated budgets; The family home selldown; The art of saying no

Posted in Personal Finance

By Amanda Morrall

1) Magic numbers

When it comes to retirement savings targets, there are several different prescriptions and formulas.  

With the possibility of diminished Government pensions, some financial planners advocate 20% of your take home pay as a figure to shoot for. Others suggest eight times your final salary is the sweet spot.

Another view, as outlined in this article from, is that you should strive to stock pile 25 times your annual spending by the time you give up paid employment.

My view? One size does not fit all when it comes to retirement savings because we all have different wants, needs, and lifestyle goals for retirement.

It's hard to know what the future holds for all of us but taking time to contemplate how you would like to live your life in retirement and how much you think you will need and want to spend in the later stages of life will help you to target the figures more accurately. 

2) Gold dust

My my how quickly the tides can turn. Gold, the darling commodity of the GFC is now being referred to by some as a dog of the global markets for 2013. While prices are up 61% over the past five years, more recent buoyancy in the equities markets have some hedge fund managers dumping it like a hot potato. Yahoo finance has more here.

3) Bloated budgets

Looking to whip your budget into shape? I'm not a big one on diets. Fitness is the long-term sustainable way to go I reckon. Here's more from Investopedia on getting your budget into fighting shape. If you can't afford a personal finance trainer, recruit a personal finance buddy to keep you accountable and on track.  

4) Downsize me

An interesting article here from the Globe and Mail about how many soon-to-be retirees in Canada are discounting the possibility of having to down size the family home as a means to create more income retirement income, even though they'll need it. My question for housing obsessed Kiwis living in an over-heated property market and insufficent savings for old age? Whose going to be able to buy that $1.5 million home? 

5) Art of saying no

Can't say this is my problem but I know many struggle with the art of saying "No.'' A great piece here from Forbes Money on how to toughen up and a reminder that when you say no you are saying 'yes' to something else. So true.

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

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#2 yes but Gold isn't about

#2 yes but Gold isn't about to make a 20% correction!

Yep, and i dont think its as

Yep, and i dont think its as small as is way safer than shares, if you have physical possession of it anyway.

With the US holding the

With the US holding the largest gold reserve in the world and trillions of dollars of debt to pay, It would not take much to trigger a sell down of that gold reserve to pay off chinese held bonds or risk a default. Wasn't the US on the cliff edge just a few weeks ago? Yeah we forget very quickly....

The US will revalue it's gold

The US will revalue it's gold holdings.....remember they are on the books at far below market value....and use this to balance their balance sheet.
This is the reason central banks are on a physical gold buying spree. 
The paper gold market will increasingly become disconected from physical gold. 
Gold is the only asset central banks have to extinguish debt. It's money.
As far as personal ownership.....I reckon it's prudent to have a bit as insurance, and not "price" gaze.
My two cents FWIW.

Sandra is on her way...Monday

Sandra is on her way...Monday for the deluge...looks like the West Coast is in for a swim

Truly good news... Cheers

Truly good news...