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Daily deal duds; Users guide to KiwiSaver (ethical investing); Cost analysis of home renos; New trends in advisory sector; Envy thy neighbour's cheap power bill

Personal Finance
Daily deal duds; Users guide to KiwiSaver (ethical investing); Cost analysis of home renos; New trends in advisory sector; Envy thy neighbour's cheap power bill

By Amanda Morrall

1) Daily deal duds

I've never bought one nor have I tried (yet) to flog my services through one, but I've always had my doubts about these daily deal dos. I therefore felt a smug sense of satisfaction after reading that the sun may be setting on these deal sites. Yahoo finance reports on how Groupon is having to retarget business types as businesses cool to the hot trend. It turns out Groupon advertisers and the like are cottoning on to the fact that the commissions paid are too high for the net value and furthermore that the bargain hunting customers they are attracting are simply not the one's they'll gain long-term loyalty from. Word of mouth is the way to go.

2) Ethical investing

The final episode in Radio National's Kiwisaver series, which aired this weekend, was on ethical investing. If you missed it and were keen to hear some thoughts on the subject from Morningstar's Chris Douglas and myself you can replay the segment from This Way Up's archived collection here. For more analysis see also's section on socially responsible funds.

3) Home renos

Financial advisor and money writer Lisa Dudson, writing for Yahoo Finance, does the sums on home renos and how much it'll cost by loading the cost onto one's mortgage. Better by far to pay from savings but probably not realistic for many. Dudson recommends those borrowing to finance the fix-up by taking out a separate  mortgage with as short a time frame as possible.

4) The future of financial advice

With commissions being expunged from the financial services sector in the U.S., Australia and the U.K., financial advisors in these markets are having to move to a fee for service model. The change, designed to prevent advisors from pushing you into products the sale of which they'll benefit from, is expected to spell the demise of many financial advisors' businesses because all but the wealthiest of clients will want to or be able to pay for advice. In the U.K. this gap has led to a market for cheap, on-line advice. But as the Telegraph's Emma Simon reports consumers going this route will have to be extra cautious. Bottomline:  "you get what you pay for.''

5)Envy thy neighbour

It's considered bad form or maybe just bad faith to envy thy neighbour but perhaps there is one way in which Keeping Up with the Jones' might be beneficial. Across the pond, where regulators are experimenting with incentives to get householders to curb their power consumption, a new facility allows you to compare your power use with that of your neighbours. The Australian, reporting on some of the trends in New South Wales, says this spying feature is having a greater impact on getting people to power down than scaring them with eco nightmare factoids. Hopefully the Electricity Authority here in NZ is taking note.

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


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4 - you can understand the Aussie concern. I don't think the Authority here will take much notice, though.


They're 80-90% coal-fired, and sooner or later that's doomed. Either they switch (and to what?) or we look at 4-6deg temp rise - which is Australia gone. We're in a much better place, generation-wise. We share the same atmosphere, but.


It's 7 years since we have had a power-bill; start-up cost was $4,200, annualised costs since about $100 p.a. in hardware, $30 p.month for 'genny fuel. Working on eliminating the latter.....


You've got two fours and no five


I feel like that most days ..


So do you think that when they passed the legislation banning commisions they saw that the end result would be to remove financial advice to the middle classes?


Did you read this quote from the CEO of the electricty company in NSW:

"We expect that a reasonable regulated price path over the regulatory period would see prices above CPI but nowhere near replicating the recent year-on-year double digit price rises," Mr Calabria said.


So it's a completely regulated market, even the prices are set by the NSW government.

The result of which the prices have been going at a double digit rates compounding year on year.

And his expectation of "normal" is year on year compounding increases above CPI.


It doesn't sound like a very successful model to me.