Forbes' 2012 investment guide; Unshackled from debt prospering with ball and chain; Financial planning as a team; Being Buffett; Nana-technologies

Forbes' 2012 investment guide; Unshackled from debt prospering with ball and chain; Financial planning as a team; Being Buffett; Nana-technologies

By Amanda Morrall

 1) Forbes' 2012 investment guide

I don't know what it is about ageing and time but I'm continually surprised by the acceleration with each passing year. My youngest turns eight in two weeks, Christmas is looming large and 2012 is strumming its fingers in anticipation. has put together a special investment guide for 2012 which cuts across all age groups and demographics. The "survive and thrive manual'' is geared at three financial groups facing stress: "Twentysomething Millennials" (I wish); "GenXers in their 30s and 40s (that's me); and the "Baby Boomers." Seems no group is exempt from financial stress these days. 

2) A new debt-free lease on life

Life looks a lot different when you're out of debt. Opportunities suddenly go from fuzzy to focused because they become more realistic.  They're all the sharper if you're married and fortunate enough to have a spouse who shares your vision. 

Here's one man's account of how his debt-free marriage led to freedom and new opportunities, via

3) Financial planning as a team

As a new divorcé, I'm a bit jaded or perhaps just realistic about this business of husband and wife financial planning and yet I concede there is merit in it. I once wrote an article about couples who were partners in business and was truly surprised by the love they shared for one another and also their joint interest in the business.

Most, and they were not newlyweds, said the biggest benefit was getting to spend more time together. A stark contrasts to those couple who thrive on separation.

Here's more on the benefits on financial counselling for married couples via

4) 7 surprises about Warren Buffett

One of these days I will dive into the must-read Buffett collection. I'm ashamed to admit I haven't yet, but I'm a fiction girl at heart with a 900-page book due for a review in two weeks.

For now Buffett is on hold, however I enjoyed this preview from PF blogger who reviewed Buffett biographer Alice Schroeder's "The Snowball.''

In it, shares seven surprising things about the Oracle of Omaha.

Buffett's early financial ambitions (he raced marbles with a stopwatch and calculated the lifespan of hymn composers when he was six-years old, sold chewing gum at seven and Coca Cola when he was eight" suggest he was imprinted at birth for uber success.

5) "Nana-technologies"

It's true what they say about a little learning being a dangerous thing. After harping on about organics, and having my hippy friend look after my kids once a week for a year, my sons grill me about whether the eggs I serve them are free range.

At the rate they go through eggs, it would probably be cheaper to start a backyard henhouse, however to do so I risk being declared insane by my colleagues. 

For now, I will have to make do with my organic veggie patch and compost, which hallelujah finally broke down. 

There are some fantastic courses on sustainability if you look around. runs several on nana-technologies, those home-grown practises which cultivate self-sustainability.

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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Great idea to get chickens. Make sure you let them in the house. Very easy to toilet train. Very friendly too. They like to lie on their backs in front of the fire...And you can tickle them under their chins...

Sorry. I'm being a bit rude. I quite like the chickens actually. Great in the back yard. Feed themselves.

Good for eggs and then after a while...dinner.




Bernard, the chicken whisperer. Who knew?

Actually I have experience in these matters. I had an Oracana in Christchurch for a time and very much enjoyed my green eggs while they lasted. Problem is a got a rooster and he caused me no end of grief. Two for one deal on TradeMe. (Bad trade!) Mr cockadoodledoo ended up on a dinner plate. The  missus flew the coop and joined my neighbor's flock.

And so it goes.  

It seems to be a given that we all must admire Warren Buffett.  But isn't he just a really, really greedy man?     How much money does one man need?   If his thirst remains unslaked after accumulating 500 gazillion dollars, then there's something wrong with him.

Yes, he says he'll give it all away when he dies.   Why doesn't he do it now?  He can't bear to do that, because he's greedy.    

I know I am a minority voice in these pages, but  I don't think generating personal wealth way beyond obscene levels is something to admire or aspire to.  We are so used to greed being  rebranded that the vulgarity of greed itself is lost.  



Hmmm... we've got a few spare chooks.... do I just freight them c/o Herne bay office address?  Wally must have some knocking around too... 

You'll have a terrible time stuffing them into mailing tubes.

You can get special henvelopes. 

I'm here all week.

Keeping hens in the backyard is becoming more popular. Instead of declaring you clinically insane, maybe they'll jump on the bandwagon and decide to keep their own.

And they would be a great accompaniment to your veg garden and compost bin - think of all that free fertiliser!

#3 - We are partners in business, and do spend a lot of time together as a result working mostly from home. We enjoy it most of the time, it's quite fantastic actually (and are not newlyweds either, going on 16 years together now)...but sometimes, a little break is nice.

Take Tuesday, hubby was due to commission a software on site with another guy all day. When he was almost there, the customer rang to say they'd broken everything (!) so they were basically unable to do anything. So he rings me at around 10:30am to tell me he's coming back home and I explained to him he couldn't do that because I was actually looking forward to a day without him (!) and he had to go work with the other guy regardless, or do some bonding and go have a beer together, whatever. He kindly obliged and rang the guy (who'd already left) to tell him he had to go and work with him at his premises because his wife had informed him it was her "husband-free day". They had a good laugh about it apparently.

It is a slow day in a damp little Irish town. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit. On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night. The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub. The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him "services" on credit. The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note. The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.
No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.

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