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Advice and what cost and value?; Retiring on an average income; Defining success; So you want to be the boss?; The joy of paying bills

Advice and what cost and value?; Retiring on an average income; Defining success; So you want to be the boss?; The joy of paying bills

By Amanda Morrall (email)

Here's what's interesting and inspiring in personal finance for Tuesday Feb. 21. Thanks all for the great vampire stories, your comments, feedback and salutations. Keep 'em coming. 

1) Good advice?

Niko Kloeten of Good Returns reports on a survey that found less than one in five KiwiSavers make use of a financial advisor to determine what provider to engage and what fund to invest in. The findings are consistent with a financial literacy survey done by the Retirement Commission which found that many Kiwis rely on well meaning friends and family members for financial advice instead of professionals.

What's most interesting to me is the comment thread unmasking the view from the financial advisory sector. 

Seems even folks within the industry are conflicted about whose qualified to give advice which is hardly confidence building for the investing public. Here's an outline from the Financial Markets Authority explaining whose entitled to give what advice under the new regulatory framework. Still many grey areas in my opinion as QFEs (qualified financial entities) i.e. banks, can decide from themselves whether their employees are qualified to do the job of advising singularly on their own product. Pays to do your own research.

2) Average Joe

Every day I discover a new personal finance blog it seems. Here's one outlining the retirement outcomes of five "average" Americans and how they got ahead. Proof positive that you don't have to be a millionaire to live comfortably in retirement. What's most inspiring and impressive is that the candidates profiled were all philanthropists and left behind them a legacy of goodwill and money for good causes.

3) Happiness and success

Happiness is both enigmatic and elusive. I tend to think that it is a relative state.  I also regard contentment as a more sustainable and achievable state but of course relish jubilant highs.

This bog by discusses the difference between happiness and success and how productivity can impact on the latter. Good food for thought, even for those outside of the medical profession.

4) Boss for a day

I vaguely remember a trend in the late '80s or early '90s where you could swap jobs at work and be boss for a day. Or possibly I've confused it with "slave for a day.'' I have no desire to trade shoes with my boss. They're massive. Also too many bumpy flights to Wellington for OCR updates (decidely uneventful occasions these days) and three-espresso economic lectures. Those who aspire to take the corner office should do their research first so they know what that job really entails apart from a bigger paycheque.  At least that's the suggestion in this blog which also troubleshoots three other "sticky work" situations. For those eyeing up #4 on flex time and working from home, here's a link to the Department of Labour's website explaining the rules of the Flexible Work Arrangements Act. A progressive piece of law in my humble opinion.

5) The joy of paying bills

Last week, I had a lovely surprise. I heard from a former colleague and friend from Canada who has a somewhat parallel life to mine; single mother, business writer, a great lover of life. I discovered that she also has a money blog. In her latest, she writes about why paying the bills bestows upon her a warm fuzzy feeling. At first I thought she must have gone mad from the arctic cold in Canada. But as I read on, I discovered that she's just basking in the glow of gratitude (being in a position to pay the bills) which I believe is a solid foundation for wealth creation. Thanks babe! Come to NZ when you've licked the mortgage.

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

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Less than one in five Kiwisavers use a financial advisor to choose a fund.  Explain the problem to me again.

Some might think that taking advice off the comments section of could be a bit dodgy.  Clearly however, it's much less dodgy than using somebody described as a financial advisor 


So it seems the way to retirement financial happiness is to be frugal, thrifty and have a few lucky stocks if possible, if not frugal & thrifty will still take you a long way.

Sound  common sense advice. Please tell me again why I need a financial advisor?




You don't if you have the knowledge. But not many people know the difference between a growth fund and a conservative fund so for the purposes of KiwiSaver it probably helps to get some advice from someone who knows what their talking about and who is hopefully unbiased about which provider they're pushing. That's harder to gauge.