By Amanda Morrall
1) "Freemium" risk
Call me lazy but I'm one of "those parents" who allows my children to fritter away their time on the computer or else the iPad when probably they should be doing homework or chores. On one hand the virtual babysitter allows me to get some work done. It's getting them to quit that's the problem as they have mastered the art of stretching "just five more minutes" into 20. They seem also to have developed a keen sense of knowing just how far to push the limits before triggering an ugly outburst, seizure and outright ban of all technology. I guess I should be thankful they haven't run up a $2,000 bill downloading virtual food or furnishings for their menagerie of dragons, as was the case for one hapless iPad toting parent in the U.K. I can't say I haven't been warned.
The Telegraph offers some practical tips on how to avoid costly app bills run up by kids using your iPad.
2) Will power
Psychology plays no small part in personal finance. It's a mind control game as much as it is a number tracking exercise. Master the mind and you'll control the spending, and saving. Here's an interesting piece from Time magazine on how to to improve your will power.
3) Self limiting beliefs
I've read somewhere that being yourself is probably one of the worst things you can do for your career, if you are an aspirational sort of person. Apparently you'll get more firepower from being the person you wish to be instead. There may be some wisdom in this particularly for those dissatisfied with where they find themselves in life. This guest blog posted by getrichslowly.org discusses the "mummy curse" and its damning effect on your career.
4) Fear of success?
And more mind food: In the following interview Marie Forleo (she won't be everyone's cup of tea) talks to psychologist/writer/philospher Dr. Cathy Collautt about how to tap into the power of the subconscious mind and overcome mental traps holding you back from success.
5) Bill shock
So much for the whole power switching empowerment movement. The New Zealand Herald reports that household bills have surged by as much as $316 in some cases this year. Line companies and retailers are pointing fingers at one another. Powershop's Ari Sargent admits that consumers are pretty much powerless. Maybe some people will have to take cold showers and throw on another jersey. I'm sure we can all afford to cut back but let's face it, for those of us living in cold houses, rugging up is just cold comfort. A better long-term solution would seem to be either invest in power company shares (assuming SOE floats ever happen) or else invest in insulation and solar panels.
Even in India, where 400 million are off the grid, there are renewed calls to go solar. Closer to home, Kiwibank is pitching loans to buy solar after teaming up with a Kiwi outfit called SolarCity which is hoping to popularise solar power through sales at the Warehouse. (Banking and finance editor Gareth Vaughan reports on the pairing here).
To read other Take Fives by Amanda Morrall click here. You can also follow Amanda on Twitter @amandamorrall