OK, I am changing things up in here!

For a few years I have been posting irregularly in here, usually about money and money behaviours. It’s been OK but it was a bit boring( actually often a lot boring!!) and I’m not into boring and nor do I lead a boring life.

Sooooooo….. I have decided to change it around and I am going to post more regularly just on what’s happening in my life. It won’t be on all of it, I promise!! I will still focus on money in many ways but it will be more centred on my ongoing relationship with money and where that has led me and the adventures I have along the way.

It may not be pretty, it may not be well punctuated and it may not use correct grammar all the time, but it will be real. It may well contain some of my opinions on other stuff too…so look out!

A catch up first..

As many of you know, for a lot of years I was an overspender (aka shopaholic) and a chronic debtor. I always had credit card debt apart from a few weeks when I had, yet again, managed to pay them off, vowing to never use them again…until I did! Every. Time!

I was living in the USA ( my home is New Zealand) and met a new partner.. A quick explanation here. I usually use “they gave me an ultimatum” but in the interests of really telling it as it is, it was really she gave me an ultimatum. I warned you that my life isn’t boring …I came out as a lesbian at 52 and F was my first female partner! Using “they” has given me a few laughs though! eg a male CEO saying ” so all you needed was a good man!” As if!!!

Anyway, F gave me an ultimatum: either get help for my spending and behaviour around money, or we were through.

So, I found a counsellor and began Financial Recovery counselling. It was a gamechanger! I stopped using my credit cards immediately and began tracking what I was spending. Did I become a penny pincher? No, but did I plan my spending and then  track what I spent? Hell yeah!!

Things were trucking along pretty well…until the company was restructured and my position was eliminated.

Back to NZ I came with F relocating with me. The only problem was I didn’t have a job as I had become too senior (and too expensive) for the local subsidiary. I’d had my fill of corporate life anyway and decided to strike out on my own and Financial Clarity was born. I would help people, women in particular, who had issues around money like I did.

It wasn’t an overnight success..far from it but I began to attract clients and I was able to help them change their relationship to their money. It had hiccoughs along the way and lots of them.

My Mum got ill and died aged 93. I was delighted that self employment allowed me the freedom to spend some very valuable weeks with her before then though. My wonderful Mum’s death derailed me than I thought it would. I thought I was pretty accepting of the inevitable with her age and failing health.

On many levels I was but I missed her more than I thought possible and still do.

Look for part two of the catch up tomorrow!

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This time last week we were all gripped by the race for the America’s Cup and still, in the main, pretty confident that Dean Barker and his team would be bringing the Auld Mug home.

Sadly that was not to be, and a lot of Team NZ, including Dean Barker, arrived home this morning, without it.

I have been very open on Facebook about how proud of the team I was. Nothing has changed. My post last Thursday was:-

Emirates Team New Zealand hold your heads up high guys, you have done NZ proud. You have given your all and today left it on the water. You were beaten by a faster boat. It will hurt but we still have your backs and are so very proud of you all.

I still, strongly, feel that.

So now the discussion has turned to two main questions.
Did we get value for our (taxpayer)dollars?
Should we invest in challenging for the Cup again?
My answer is yes to both.

Sir Stephen Tindall, the founder of The Warehouse, commissioned Ernst and Young (I think), to analyse the first question. Their report showed that the Government’s return was met in PAYE and GST payments alone. Sir Stephen was also a large sponsor of Team NZ.

So that is the money part of it. In purely monetary terms the sponsorhip of Team NZ gave an adequate return on investment.

As important, if not more so, was the effect on the mood of the nation. This of course, is much harder to measure and I don’t know if anyone has tried. So I’ll give my opinion.

It was an enormous success. If you just look at the numbers at Shed 10 every day of that last week, you can see how “on board” we all were. I know I was glued to my TV every morning from about 8 o’clock, until racing was finished or abandoned for the day!

Yet again NZ showed, and we were very proud of them for doing so, how we continue to punch above our weight, in many areas of the global sporting arena. Not for us the billions that could be invested, and were, by Larry Ellison and Oracle. We certainly had our international corporate sponsorship, but not to the same level, and certainly not at the intimate level, that Team USA was.

I sometimes watch a CNN show by Piers Morgan. The one I watched last night (recorded earlier in the week) included a segment about Team USA and their record winning “come from behind” win. The bit that really made me laugh was when Piers Morgan said that he thought that the elephant in the room topic, just how many Americans were on Team USA, should be addressed! They initially gave rather obtuse answers but finally had to admit that there was only one! NZ, on the other hand, was sailed by an all Kiwi crew.

Some time ago I used this graphic as my Monday Money Motivator. I think it bears repeating, in light of this.What money can buy

I think that to answer the second question, this concept should also be born in mind. It is not always about the money and the softer, emotional, aspects should also be considered. Pride in our country, should be additional motivation to be the best we can be, personally and as a nation.

So, take a bow Emirates Team NZ, you were fantastic ambassadors for NZ, and I for one am grateful and very proud of you.

The Costs of the Season

December 4, 2009

It’s that time of year again! There are only 22 21 days until Christmas.

It used to be that we would then hear how many shopping days that meant. Now, however, when the shops are mostly open 7 days a week and until all hours, it makes little difference, you can shop any day and I’m not even going into internet shopping!!

Here in New Zealand, for many it is also the countdown to the summer holidays, although, having been in Christchurch for 4 days and wearing winter clothes, one could be excused for wondering!! So, even without the winter weather, this is notoriously a stressful time of year.

There are parties to plan, organise and attend. There are meals out and in, to plan, organise and attend. There are holidays to plan and organise, and then there is Christmas day to plan, organise and attend (unless of course you don’t celebrate Christmas) If you have children, there are all of their end of year functions to plan, organise and attend! One word for it – BUSY!  Tired already?! Stressed?! It’s not over yet!

You are now expected to shop – for meals, for holidays and of course, for Christmas presents. Even if money is not an issue for you this is stressful. What to buy for Dad, Grandma, Auntie Collette etc?

It is a really good idea if you can, to make a Christmas present list, together with a budget before you even enter the shops. If you can’t get as far as knowing what you are going to buy for Dad, at least know the limit of what you want to spend on him and don’t go over. On my website, I have some other tips (My top 10 Tips) for reducing the amount you spend at Christmas. Go here to download for free http://www.financialclarity.co.nz

There I advocate just taking the budgeted amount, in cash, and no credit cards, when you go Christmas shopping, then you can’t go over! This is particularly if you are inclined to overspend, compulsive shop or, have any kind of shopping addiction. Of course, the same trick works when shopping at any time, not just at the holiday season.

This season, as I said in the beginning, is stressful by it’s very busyness, try not to make it more stressful by incurring debt as well. Most of all enjoy and have fun!