I have been looking for information for years about money, saving, managing money, living a good life and not working too hard. And there just does not seem to be much out there that is directed at ME and MY family who live in New Zealand. How do I buy shares when the website says “it is as easy as finding a broker”. I live in a small town. Where on earth do I find a broker? What do I do at the bank when on each visit they offer to lend me money? How do I work less so I can live a little more and still pay the bills? How do I have conversations about money when the majority of people are not interested?
So, that’s where my questions began as did my quest for answers. I started to find these answers in blogs, just like this one. There is SO MUCH information out there if you just Google it. Problem was, though, that apart from one or two exceptions all the sites were from America, the UK etc. The principals are the same (spend less, save more) but as using a “401K” is not an option here I could never quite relate. So, this blog is from Little Old New Zealand with Bill English as Prime Minister, KiwiSaver as our primary retirement savings plan and an overwhelming pressure to buy as many houses as possible.
This will be a blog about enjoying what I have and not feeling the almighty pressure to have more, using the income I generate to buy just what I need, not everything I want and tucking the rest away. Money makes money and I’ve learned that the more I tuck away the more it grows and the less I have to work, giving me more time to enjoy this life.
Life is great here in beautiful Central Otago, New Zealand. This Happy Saver is a busy, fit, positive and friendly 43 year old woman who thanks her lucky stars she met and married a fantastic bloke. Together we were even luckier to create a fabulous, smart and cheeky daughter. I’m very grateful each day for what I have and the people I have around me.
Together we live a busy life but it varies a little from your typical Kiwi’s. Both of us work only part time and before it was considered fashionable we have been referring to ourselves as semi retired (not unemployed as my dear sister likes to call it). I’ve never quite signed up for the 9 - 5 for eternity kind of life. My career has been frequently interrupted by long breaks out of the work force and long sessions in it. I’m transitioning to only working when I want to. Not because I need to.
Having lived in bigger cities in the past, the slower pace of life here and cheaper living definitely suits us. I work at jobs I like (or leave), live frugally but spend where necessary, save consistently and I try lots of different investment strategies just to see what happens. I research, but not too much and just have a go at working it out myself. I’m playing the long game with my saving and letting compounding interest work its magic.
Now, in the interests of transparency I’m neither an economist, nor a financial planner. Indeed none of my qualifications are in finance. The world of investing seemed a crazy labyrinth to me and I used to think that it was all corporate offices and big business, a place I felt I did not belong in. But month by month and year by year I worked stuff out and the result is that I’ve pieced together an investment portfolio that builds by the week.
We have worked hard to have no mortgage on our house, no finance on our cars and I have money invested in a variety of ways. I want to share the things I have tried because I want other average Jo’s like me to create financial independence for themselves and to realise that you don’t have to be an investment banker to do this. If I can do it from my messy kitchen table then so can others. You don’t have to be Einstein to work out that you should spend less than you earn. Then it is just a matter of working out where to put the difference. There is an exciting world of possibility as to where you can put the difference.
In my daily life I have conversations with amazing women who want to have a go but just don’t know where to begin or are too nervous to try. Hopefully by hearing about my experiences more women will give it a go too. I want to hear from you and help with questions that may have been playing on your mind. If you have a topic you want to know more about, then ask me via my contacts page and I’ll do my best to work it out for you. So, read on to find out what I did, what I’m doing and most importantly what forms I filled out to do it.