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Head, shoulders, knees and hips; The personal economy; Ask yourself why?; U.S. presidents and personal finance; Monevator's forensic take on fees

Personal Finance
Head, shoulders, knees and hips; The personal economy; Ask yourself why?; U.S. presidents and personal finance; Monevator's forensic take on fees

By Amanda Morrall

1) Hips and knees

One of the many benefits of dog ownership is that canines make humans more sociable, something that I believe has suffered since the advent of mobile phones and other such technological devices that we find ourselves absorbed in often at the expense of people in our presence.

Since acquiring my pooch Mazzy a year and a half ago I have had countless conversations with strangers at parks, beaches and on simple walks around my neighbourhood. Dogs are good for communities as pesky as they might be at times, pooing and barking and what have you.

Yesterday at the park Mazzy had an encounter with Meg, a lovely chocolate brown toy poodle who was also freshly shorn at the groomers. While Meg's owner and I were exchanging the usual doggy details I noted an odd mark on Meg's flank. I learnt that wee Meg had injured her hip and had to undergo surgery. When I found out the cost, I had to stiffle a gasp: $5,000-$6,000 for the operation.

Thankfully her owner had pet insurance to cover the cost. Yes pets are fabulous but they can be a financial liability.

As I don't have pet insurance, the encounter left me pondering what I would do under those circumstances. The other thing I have been wondering about is how on earth Governments are going to finance the legions of hips and knees that will need replacing for our ageing human population that has been forewarned about having to work well past retirement in order to stay financially fit old age.

If the estimates for hip operations contained in this Forbes article are any indication, those who want to stay mobile are going to have to look carefully after their bodies or start saving now for new joints.

2) Making more money

When you hit rock bottom, there's only one place to go and that's up. Here's an interesting post (via Get Rich Slowly) from a scribe who did just that and has gone on to write about how to get out of debt and make more money. Jerrold Mundis is also a financial therapist. More information on his books are contained in the intro to the guest blog.

3) Why?

 I've done around eight radio interviews this month on my new book Money Matters: Get your Life and Your $ Sorted. I have fielded all sorts of questions across a spectrum of areas.  One question that was put to me was how someone stuck between a rock and a hard place was supposed to get ahead financially. Obviously there are some really tough choices people have to make along the way to becoming financially reformed and behavioural modification is no small part of it but the starting point for any transformation is the desire for change.

This blogger from points out why "Why" is such an important question for those wanting to take better control of their personal financial circumstances.

4) Presidents of the U.S.

Now here's something a little out of the ordinary. A blogger writing for looks at the personal financial circumstances of a handful of U.S. presidents here.

5) Monevator on fees

Monevator is one of my new favourites. Sharp, slightly sarcastic, poignant and highly informative on investments related topics. In this one, Monevator gets forensic about fees and whether it makes better financial sense to pay flat fees or a percentage of the portfolio to brokers. Brokerage fees in New Zealand are notoriously high so it makes good sense to understand how the fee structure works and how much they're eating up over time.

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

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#1 Ted The Bionic Labrador spent 2 months at the pet hospital by Unitech getting put back together after being part of Team Drive The Skyline Off A Cliff*. Final bill came to $17,000.

I would do it again.

* Zerohedges top 10 financial tips in yesterdays blog crucially omitted #1 on MY list: Never buy your wife a high performance sports car.