By Amanda Morrall
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.:)