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Tell me what you really think. What do you like? What do you want more of and less of in personal finance? Amanda would like your feedback

Tell me what you really think. What do you like? What do you want more of and less of in personal finance? Amanda would like your feedback

By Amanda Morrall

Dear readers;

Yesterday I had a bit of an existential personal finance crisis.  I know from feedback I receive from you that this column is well liked. In fact, I was delighted to see close to 900 people read yesterday's Take Five, which is fabulous. Without the stats and personal feedback, it's difficult to gauge public reception apart from the regular suspects chirping away in the comment stream.

I know that most of our readers are a switched on bunch financially. You wouldn't be coming to this website daily if you weren't. What I would like to know from you is what you find useful, what you enjoy, what areas of personal finance you would be interested in reading about and whether you find the links that I put up in my column relevant, informative and enjoyable.

Don't worry. I'm realistic. I know they can't be everything to everyone Monday through Friday and some of them can be marginal in value at times. Try as I might, some days there are slim pickings but I do endeavour to find reading material that is either original, interesting, educational or engaging in some way. 

As you know from my regular scribblings and musings, I come at personal finance from a personal and holistic view. It's not just about the money. It's about piecing together your finances in a way that serves your higher goals and aspirations. That's why I throw in the relationshipy stuff, the health stuff, the motivational stuff and yes even the sneaky yogic teachings that have a value add on a level you might not expect.

Because ultimately I would like to serve your needs, I would be grateful if you could let me know what you like, what you dislike and what you want more of -- or less of.

Would you like to see more interviews and with whom? Do you like the video format that I use in KiwiSaver? Would you like to have more video explainers on other subjects outside of KiwiSaver? Do you enjoy the links? What brings you to our website everyday and to personal finance?

I appreciate that quite a lot of my content is foreign sourced, which is good in a way because it helps to know what's going on in personal finance outside our own borders and to get an outside perspective. That said, I would like to draw more on our home grown talent, for example talking to some of our best and brightest fund managers, financial advisors, entrepreneurs, so perhaps you would find that more constructive?

You can email me directly at or put your comments in the thread below. 

Old habits die hard so I'll leave you with these fives links to peruse. 

1) Life is perfect now what?

In this reader case study, Mr. Money Moustache (a very thrifty, sensible, and consumer-spurning guy) looks at the problem of having too much money. The reader whose financials he combs over gets a $300,000 a year bonus! As usual, Mr. Money Moustache weighs in with some very sensible suggestions to get this big spender thinking a bit deeper and more philosophically about his big fat salary and runaway expenses. 

I'm thinking we could use some reader case studies too. Your thoughts?

2) Honey, are you happy?

Another thought provoking blog here from my favourite Canadian economist Dr. Marina Adshade who writes the Dollars and Sex blog I am so fond of. In one of her latest, Adshade explores the happiness question in marriage and comes to the conclusion that misery really does love company.

One of the studies she draws on found that the greater the disparity in the gap between spouses happiness levels, the more likelihood of separation or divorce. Interestingly, over time the tendency is for more women to become miserable in marriage while the male remains more or less content. Not sure what's up with that? I suppose it's just common sense that for an enduring relationship, both partners need to be happy as individuals but it seems so rare.

What's that saying? Happy wife, happy life? 

3) Why most people fail at on-line success

I have to say Ramit Sethi (personal finance "guru") has grown on me. At first I found his condescending attitude and arrogance offensive but now I find his cheekiness more amusing than obnoxious. Also, he seems to know what he's talking about. In his latest blog, Ramit broaches the subject of how to turn an on-line business into a money maker.

If you read the blog, you'll note that Ramit doesn't have much faith in this happening. That's because he's found that despite the best of intentions, most people don't implement the changes necessary to transform their personal finances and thus circumstances. Those who do, excel. Those who don't, tread water or else sink. This is why behavioural finance is such a hot topic these days. 

So how do you lead that proverbial horsey to the fountain of financial knowledge and make him or her drink it? Intravenous drip maybe? Naw, too harsh. When the student is ready, the teacher will come. Only then will behavioural changes begin to take place because there is a genuine interest in learning. 

Read past Ramit's opening blurb and you'll find a guest blog from Chris Guillebeau (the Art of Non-conformity blogger) discussing where most people go wrong with their on-line business. It's multi-factorial obviously but knowing who your market is "specificity", and offering something that people actually want and value are huge in the equation.

4) Rich, happy and hot

Another gal that is turning heads these days on the on-line marketing front, is life coach Marie Forleo. I found out about her through Ramit's blog as well. Thanks Ramit. She probably won't appeal to most male readers, aside from her looks.  Her market audience is women and her product "Rich Happy and Hot - B school" is geared to the sisterhood. I watched her six pillars video yesterday on growing your on-line business and took notes. She spends a bit too much time talking about herself but self promotion is the name of the game.  Check it out ladies.

5) Nice girls don't ask

Ms. Forleo is no shrinking violet but a lot of women are. That's particularly the case when it comes to getting paid what we're worth and being confident enough to ask for it. This blog by the Harvard Business Review captures it perfectly with the headline; nice girls don't ask. I guess I'm not nice. I don't hesitate to ask these days. 

Please don't forget about my latest request above.:)

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

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5. Nice Girls Don't Ask: - Good link by the way.  However the sad thing here is this article was written in 2003 and yet it still has VERY high relevance.  Come on ladies, not only will you get more reward but more respect (if you truly deserve it).  It was recommended to me just the other day that I should keep a list of all the particular deals I have bought to the table so that at negotiation time....  

Sound advice liztxmgmt. Go armed, be confident, do your research and push your case. If you don't get what you want, and you're really worth it, time to move on. Easier said than done in a small labour market but cream will always rise to the top. Thanks for reading.

There is definitely something in this.
A sister in law went back to work after having raised her five children with some level apprehension, which at one level is understandable but at another completely irrational.  So many back to work women I know have outstanding orgainsational skills.  The most outstanding people manager I ever saw in my life was a woman and it was wonderful to witness her in full flight.
Anyway, my sister in law worked up to being a tenant manager in a reasonably sized business but when faced with the opportunity to apply for the job above here due to restructuring had a confidence crisis.  Those same doubts hadn't really been dealt with after five years or success.
The man who taught me how to do business once counseled me that if I had a young(ish) team middle aged women coming back into the work force were gold - they don't have time for silly nonsense or political games, they are focused but balanced and have a life that isn't totally work centered and they often have a strong moral compass that doesn't take crap from hot shot boys with big titles and large pay packets.
Yet and but -- I think I am correct in remembering I have never employed one at the pay that asked for, always for more.  They don't really comprehend their true value.

Hi Amanda, here's my tuppence-worth as far as feedback is concerned.
I love the list concept - it works for Bernards top 10 at 10 and it works in your "Famous Five" or whatever it's called.  We get bombarded with information these days, so small, nuggety lists of topical, relevant content (with hyperlinks for more detail) are definitely the way to get people engaged.
I personally have added your daily "Five" thing to the list of financial updates that I will review every day.  Partly, this is because you are very attractive, which is rare in the world of Finance.  (Sorry Bernard, I have commented before that you have lovely ankles but Amanda is just generally more appealing.)  Mostly however it is because you tend to take a slightly different approach when it comes to asking commercially relevant questions and discussing the possible answers.  I like the social and personal aspect - we already have lots of numbers, charts and percentages to consume, it's kinda nice to take some time to think about how financial decisions affect us as people, as humans, as part of a wider community.
So there you are.  Keep being pretty, and keep on being human.  :)
Oh, and Bernard, get your ankles out.  :)

Thanks Mozart. 
V much appreciate your tuppence. I will do a wee summation before the end of the week. Have also had some constructive feedback via email so will share that too.
I'll have to have a closer look at Bernard's ankles:) maybe chart it or something?

Amanda, I'm astonished, have you not yet seen Bernard's ankles?  My word, you are in for a treat.  No canckles on that man, no sir.  He might have a face for radio, but he's got the ankles of a God(ess). 
No need for a chart - month after month, Bernard's ankles would simply flat-line across the axis marked "Elegant".
Maybe chart the time of day he posts his "Top 10 at 10(ish)".  You'd get a bit of variety on that one. 

The Gummster appreciates the lack of gloomsterising in your columns , Amanda ..
..... there's more of a sense of what we can do ;  rather than the we're helpless prawns in a rigged losing game , that permeates the depressingly fetid air over at Bernard's " Top 10 " ......
....... as the 6 y.o. told me last week : ' Fuming beings should be nice to each other . "
So true !

Outta the mouths of babes. "Fuming beings" indeed. Gummy Bear jr sounds like a chip off the old block.
Thanks for your input and sense of humour. 

Would you like to see more interviews and with whom?
I would like to see more interviews with renegade economists. Like most people on I would like to make NZ a better place, however my 2c worth doesn't amount to much when compared to a renegade economist who could well have been studying alternative economics for most of their working life. I would like to learn more with NZ facts and examples.  
Skype interviews are fine with me.

Ooooooh! Yes Amanda, this is all coming together nicely....!softly as you go there, testing the breeze.
 Good luck as always.

...... 900 of us read yesterday's column by Amanda ...
 I thought there was a hint of maple syrup & moose-burger wafting in the breeze whilst I was reading ...
... ..  now we know , she's watching us closely ..... . hmmmmm !

" Because ultimately I would like to serve your needs, I would be grateful if you could let me know what you like, what you dislike and what you want more of -- or less of.? "
Have you had a e-mail from Ralph yet Amanda...? or Ivan for that matter....?
You don't want to be serving peoples needs.!.....nah nah nah want to be arousing their interest in interest.......inspiring their desire to aspire......presenting them a tete' to debate..
Leave all that serving your needs stuf for our political cheerleaders about a block and a half from Bellamy's.

 I just had an e-mail from Ralf...he says he's too embarrassed to ask you hisself but, if he could give you a call and you just repeat that piece I posted know the serve your needs one...yeah anyway ,if you could just repeat that in a soft husky voice....that would be just fine for him...........

Stand aside boys the men have arrived.
It is true I love woman.  A world without women would not be a world worth being in.  There are a few women (not my wife) to whom I hold a debt of gratitude for allowing me plutonic friendship in which I was clearly the pupil.
But the enormous respect I have for those who are generally braver and more beautiful (not looks) than I could never in good conscience cause the embarassment of requesting their voice - however soft or husky.

New ideas for your column Amanda:   What about interviewing Joe Average type people on their incomes, debt, investments, situation etc ....   Then applying some advice to their situation   -   with a view to transistioning them from a purely consumer worldview to more savvy use of $$$ and beginning steps into investment.    For example the Mary Holm column in NZ Herald on Saturdays  - something along those lines.
Or the Barbara Walters-type interviews analysis which unravels people's psychology and life-stories which 'explains' their financial behaviour/s etc ... good & bad ...
People identify with others' "stories" in a way that pure analysis doesn't quite do.
Other ideas:  Mobile apps,  Mobile adaption of the site for ease of viewing on Tablet & smartphone.   Some sort of feed to/from Twitter & Fb.   Guest academics / business leaders  not just bankers or investment professionals.    Stories of Kiwi Battlers, small businessmen/women who are making a good living ...inspiring the salary drones.

Personally I like the balance of your column.  In my experience money in itself doesn't solve very much, the borish are simply rich and borish and the selfish even more so when rich.  So the usual financial narrow focus is at best boring after a while and at worst quite looney.
Life isn't about money and many women I know have a much better balance on this than most of the men I know.  A womans view is often, by nature, inclined towards the personal side of life.  And that should not be read in any way to be talk down or belittle it.  In many respects it is a more balanced view.  If life isn't about people then what is it about?
Without a womans view we are, well half of us, left one eyed.
For those who must read in the negative - for the record men are great (not so much boys).  But imagine if we all thought like men - sweet Lord what a disaster!

The main reason I visit this site to read your column and dare I say it to read Gummy and Wollys posts.
I like that I can go to one place and read a collection of interesting and positive stories rather than trawling through the Net to find them myself.
So keep up the good work!

Thank you! 

900 people read the column.... or 900 people clicked the link?