Amanda's renewed optimism; super rich tax havens; fees on managed funds; stretching your time and imagination to make money; financial feuds

By Amanda Morrall (email)

Recently, the new man in my life made a confession. It wasn't the one I was hoping for, but I took it as a compliment anyway. Basically he said the worst thing he could observe about me was that I was "too negative about the economy." Being the office optimist, I had a good laugh. Of course, a quick fix to this "problem" would be to introduce the BF to my boss. By comparison, I will present a joyous and glowing optimist.

Having returned from a recent holiday to Bali with the BF I am feeling decidedly more optimistic about the economy and life in general. This could be the holiday after-glow but there are a few reasons for my cheer(ier) outlook.

The signs of growth and development were abundant in  Bali. The sky line in Kuta and other big centres like Sanur were full of cranes. If the sovereign debt crisis was having any impact on Bali, it sure wasn't visible from the street. While more remote locations were slightly less busy than the norm (for high season), touristy locales were booked out solid.

I won't try to paint a happy picture of poverty however from observations from visiting this beautiful island and other "developing nations" is that people overall are a heck of a lot happier with their lot in life despite not having granite countertops, a country home and a slushed up retirement fund. It was another reminder for me to appreciate what wealth and health we do have in the "developed" West.

Perhaps it was the effect of too many 25,000 Rupiah (NZ$3) Bali mojitos (light rum, brown sugar, lime and soda water), but from where I sit (even sober) life doesn't look too bad. Optics are everything.

 My links for Monday:

1) The Age reports on the world's super rich who are said to be hiding more than A$20 trillion in offshore tax havens. Apparently that doesn't include other less traceable wealth including art, boats and such. And still, the taxman is chasing after the middle-class who are scraping by.

2) At the risk of sounding a broken record, fees on managed funds really do add up. This piece from the Telegraph newspaper reporting on the fee gouge on pensions funds underscores the point. Relative to other types of funds, fees on KiwiSaver are reportedly low but it still pays to know what you are paying and the long term effect. You can find out both from your provider or on our website under the KiwiSaver section. Thanks to DM for the link.

3) Your ability to earn money is limited only by time, imagination and effort. This article from the Guardian profiles how a few aspiring entrepreneurs fared trying to make a profit from a £100 personal investment. Where there's a will, and a lot of persistence, there's a way.

4) In personal finance, like life, there's always room for self-improvement. Here's six tips from on how to manage your money better.

5) Money can cause a lot  of strife in relationships and is the leading cause of divorce apparently. But is money itself really the problem or is the fight just symptomatic of something else? Personal finance blogger offers a view on how to keep the peace with your partner and put out financial fires before they engulf you as a couple.

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

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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Amanda - I’m happy to be prepared.
Creating, building up and running a business for almost 40 years successfully – fundamentally I’ have to be a positive, innovative spirit.
Worldwide events in the last 8 - 10 years changed my way of thinking and the way we are doing business. All of a sudden some, for most business people unexpected hurdles are occurring in our paths of doing business since about 3-4 years. I’m happy to have a realistic sense, which enable me for early diagnoses and adopt accordingly.
Worldwide accumulating and accelerating negative events on many fronts will have massive implications on our daily life’s. I’m happy to be prepared – realistic - but without to be negative. 

We can fool ourselves by not looking too far.
You don't have to go too far into the Bali hinterland, to find the poverty. It's just hidden from the visitors.
And a wee question about growth Amanda - you saw physical work being done, and it made you 'optimistic'. That work was consuming energy - any idea where from?
Indonesia went from being a net exporter, to an importer, very quickly. You were seeing the results - the once-to-be-had, never-again-to-be-had results, of that oil.
Spare me. Optimism has nothing to do with it, realism is the only valid approach. Realism tells us your optimism is misplaced. Based on a misconception.
You CAN be optimistic that we might get to a steady-state economy, and a global physical sustaibability. We won't, but it's a good goal. Exponential growth in skyscrapers is not.

I felt especially optimistic after touring the Green School in Ubud - a project which I'm confident you would be excited about and date I say "positive" too.
And also the associated Green Village - also the conception of John and Cynthia Hardy (a Canuck and American) who have made their riches in Bali while giving back in spades.
You have to be optimistic, the option is being pessimistic and surrendering to defeat. That doesn't mean ignoring reality though. I accept that, at my age.

There is blindly betting on the impossible ie our continued lifestyle, so OK "optimistic" and realistic....
With the former we have the likes of OMG and it seems yourself thinking just about anything is a game changer, so dont act on anything or do enough "it will be alright mate"...and there is realistic where you have  to change....that isnt surrendering.  Then yes sure there will be the ones that overdose or jump under trains when the reality finally gets through....

And this link is for you Steven.:)
BTW: I embrace change actually. It's a constant in life.

Wonderful Amanda, I like it.
But - back to the realism.
How many of it, and how many cranes, again?  See what I mean? It's a bit like 'how many build like me, vs  how many go unquestioningly for tract housing, flat screen TVs, 2 cars in the garage. Gimme an email when you've convinced Hughey and GBH (and, it still seems, BH) that sustainability is needed.
You may just get a generated-reply though, at that point:
"Too late".

"Don't be led away by those howls about realism. Remember-pine woods are just as real as pigsties and a darn sight pleasanter to be in."
L.M. Montgomery.

A writer of fiction, as I recall.
I chewed through that series when I was 8.
Moved on since........                     :)

The other effect of this lingering recession is that many people that are in work are extremely busy, as their organisation is not hiring extra people to share the load .... so those in key positions are flat out - I guess good for job security, not so good for burnout.

Very true, I am seeing this AND hearing this. Some are already talking about 4 day weeks due to burn out. 

Have to agree with many comments here. Realism is a must in these current times. Pipe dreams and optimism way beyond realism is why we are here at this recessive point. There can be negativity (like those that oppose wind/wave generation or cross street 3rd party generation) but negativity, pessimism and sarcasm tend to have a backbone of previous/prior REAL disappointment based in recent history. Can't blame people for that.
Poor government after worst government can knock the living s*** out of the average citizen. NZ has had a political apathy problem going back decades and for good reason. Unfortunately people continue to vote for all the wrong reasons and then wonder why it just does not work out.
To elect a parasitic former currency trader with not a clue is  just asking for trouble. Having said that, to elect a arrogant femnazi socialist  is just as bad.   

You must put the two main parties ( like gummy has said) out on the fringe for once in their lives. We currently have a political system where the opposition just sit in waiting for their next term/turn at f***ing everything up to cover their previous terms mistakes. It goes on & on until you get what we have now.No faith in any of the main parties.
Sure the Greens will make mistakes but they are not the only minor party. Put them with the Libertarians and we may have a real shake up of sorts. The most important thing is to push the "two big to not get back in"  OUT!