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Elizabeth Kerr on celebrity chefs & the end of empire, 'Brexit', French castles v Auckland houses, credit cards, Dilbert & more

Elizabeth Kerr on celebrity chefs & the end of empire, 'Brexit', French castles v Auckland houses, credit cards, Dilbert & more

Today's Top 10 is a guest post from Elizabeth Kerr who is a regular contributor to

As always, we welcome your additions in the comments below or via email to And if you're interested in contributing the occasional Top 10 yourself, contact

See all previous Top 10s here.

1) Celebrity chefs and wealthy sports players signify the end of our Empire

The financial doomsayers amongst us might want to pack their money-bags and run. This documentary (provided by one of our readers) is long but worth the watch. The part that stuck out to me was the trend for worshipping sports stars and chefs right before an empire's demise.

“The Romans, the Ottomans and the Spanish all made celebrities out of their Chefs. And this again is typifying the end of an empire when things were so great…”

“Great empire wealth always dazzles. Historically all the signz of the people of Rome were constantly being distracted by the gladiatorial events and the politicians knew that they did this whenever there was unrest among the people …they created a new event with lots and lots of gladiators”.

Doesn’t it all feel a bit déjà vu?

2) UK General Election interactive map. 

With only 7 days to go until the voting day in Britain it’s too close to call. The potential for further referendums on the EU and Scottish Independence mean the sakes are high. Watch how voting is spread using this interactive map.

3) “Brexit” = British exit from the EU.

Following on from above to prove why this election is proving to be so dramatic. If we thought the economic turbulence of Scotland thinking of leaving the UK was tough… imagine what would happen if Britain had a referendum and voted to leave the EU. Economic catastrophe anyone?

4) Time to embrace online accounting systems. 

Now that the 2014/2015 financial year has ended you might be turning your attention to your taxes. If you’re one of the thousands still stressing your accountant out with MSExcel spreadsheets then you might want to read this beginners guide to online accounting software.

I can procrastinate about my end of year accounts better than most… but this year I’m committed to making the shift! Accounting software does not sound sexy, exciting or worth the time to read about…. But if you are in the business of making money then you might as get on board.

5) Volunteering could make your student loan disappear. 

A new crowd funding initiative to hit the market in the US involves students volunteering to pay down their student loan debts. To be involved volunteers create a campaign on the site whereby family, friends and contacts can sponsor their volunteering efforts over the duration. When the campaign comes to an end will transfer the money raised directly to the volunteer’s student loan company.

6) The 4 characteristics common to Britain’s 2015 rich list. 

If you are looking for a rich mate then you might like to hedge your bets in London on a male born in the summer months. The UK rich list was released April 26th and makes for interesting reading.

7) French castles more achievable than some Auckland properties. 

If you think property in Auckland is expensive then why not throw caution to the wind and buy a luxury château in France instead? This article compares the bang for your buck between 10 Sydney units and 10 French chateaus, but you could easily make the leap for Auckland prices as well. My personal favourite is number 5. Vienne listed for AUD$732,801 featuring “14 bedrooms, seven reception rooms, a pool, a chapel, a kitchen garden a double-length drawing room and library all on a 1.4ha estate”. Oohh yes please!

8) JETS Exchange Traded Funds. 

Last month I wrote about ETF’s at the NZX. One of the benefits of ETF’s is the ability to diversify across multiple companies with one investment. In the US a new ETF called Global Jets has been announced which will track ONLY global commercial airlines, aircraft manufacturers and airport operators. Whilst I can’t predict the future I think industry specific ETF’s like this one will be trending going forward.

9) Credit cards cost you more.

No matter how frugal you are, you are not saving as much as you could if you are using a credit card to pay for your purchases. This article outlines how using your credit card to pay for things weakens your impulse control. Note: I did not say SELF control…Impulse control is something different again.

Studies show you are more likely to buy unhealthy food and pay almost twice as much for an item when paying by credit than if you were paying with cash.

“Subjects paying with cash found roughly $30 to be a reasonable price for basketball tickets, while those paying with credit on average were satisfied with $60”.

What’s worse is that even if you spend your days congratulating yourself because you pay the balance off in full each month, research shows the overspending you did just by using the credit card in the first place far outweighs this benefit. I wonder if these conclusions would extend to all types of money cards vs cash?

10) John Oliver discusses the rules of extortion for patent trolls.

Get yourself a patent then the rights to that idea belong to you. If someone else then uses your idea (or even takes it one step further by building a totally different product or service based on a teeny-tiny part of your idea) then you can effectively take them to court for compensation.

Patent trolls “just threaten to sue the living shit out of people”, says John Oliver.

Bloomberg reports suggest of the 4700 lawsuits out in 2012, 3000 of those were brought forward by patent-trolls and cost investors half a trillion dollars.

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#7- How about this one 2 hours from New York City near rapid transit, US$259K, 1/3 acre, 4 bedrooms, insulated 20 car garaging (yes, 20), annual taxes US$3K:


The link is dead? Even so, you don't need to go quite as far as France or NY, to see how ridiculous Auckland prices are. Try spending $800k anywhere else in NZ. People have just gone stupid in Auckland, and rationalised it with fuzzy logic, which isn't backed up by data. No point blaming the Chinese, plenty of kiwis piling into that giant clusterfk as well.


yep, when you don't care about the fine print you can almost always infer anything from any arbitrary data set. For example Auckland is much cheaper than Singapore:…


#7 sounds great but there's always a catch (usually an expensive legal one). Just like in some US cities there are apartments going for $1. Ok crime is a "little" higher than the national averages but it's a bargin...


#1 I may watch the doco later. However if there are signs aplenty that the empire is in decline, would it not be prudent to take steps that will be beneficial in a post empire world? After the fall of the Roman Empire, came the dark ages. Instead we seem to be pouring more and more resources into propping up an empire at its peak.


The ending is quite optimistic and positive I thought.


Actually a great doco. I thought the only disappointment was the ending :) I'm going to agree with Shell and expect the "scramble" scenario. It's human nature to be optimistic, which is why it is incredibly rare to find something that doesn't have an optimistic ending. Most of those that don't, go full retard the other way and predict the apocalypse. I'll just assume that the things that are wrong, are going to get wronger by increments, and plan accordingly. The elites will continue to protect their position, and distract by avoiding the issues, more bread and circuses and more minor wars to give the population someone to hate.