One Year of Blogging

One Year of Blogging

Listen to The Happy Saver

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Now, we Kiwi’s don’t like to self congratulate, it’s frowned upon. But stuff it, I’m going to…

This week marks one year since I started this blog! Cripes, I can’t believe it has gone by so quick AND that I have managed to dream up something to discuss each week. Every Sunday at 4pm I, with the help of my fabulous husband, have managed to publish something readable and I feel pretty proud of being able to do it. And I am not done yet.

Here is how my brain works…

I woke up this morning at 5.15am thinking about the merits of changing my employee contribution rate for my KiwiSaver.

- Is it now too high?

- I think it is too high at 8%.

- Is it time to pull it back given what my balance is at now?

- I think I should now be only putting in the minimum ($1042) to get the member tax credit each year.

- Should my husband’s contribution to his KiwiSaver match mine exactly?

- Where will I now divert that spare money to?

I had a VERY in depth discussion with myself and then just had to get up because I needed a calculator to thrash out the numbers. And apparently I’m not alone in having these conversations with myself where I put a lot of thought into the finer details of investing and my financial life! When I’m sitting in my living room tapping away at 6am it could feel like I am talking to crickets but instead almost every day people get in touch and share their money related conversations with me instead.

My biggest fear when starting this blog was people would shout at me “phoney fraud, what the heck would you know?” But instead I get lengthy emails where people share their successes with me, discuss the decisions they have made with their money, ask what my thoughts are on this, reveal their inner turmoil of the decisions they NEED to make and most importantly share with me the “Yippee” moments when they have had a good investment return or have paid off the mortgage at long last. The point of my blog was to find “my people” and I have which is just awesome.

Because let’s face it, my own friends don’t really give a sh*t about personal finance do they? And from what you are telling me nor do most of yours. It is just not on their radar. Some of my friends only read this because THEY KNOW that I KNOW if they unsubscribe. Aye ANNA?! To instead find a community to bounce ideas off has really taken the pressure off my long suffering friends and whanau. THEY thank you for taking an interest.

You will have worked out that I’m no expert, I’m just writing about my own journey with dosh, so take from it what you will. You may notice that there are very few comments on my blog? That is because we are in New Zealand and people don’t like to talk openly about money, don’t want to put their name on a public blog, but they email in confidence directly to me instead. I have struck up some great email chats and have even met one or two of you in person which is brilliant. This whole personal finance malarkey is still very much on the ‘down low’, almost no one wants to share their numbers, but they really like to hear about mine so that they can work out if they are doing OK themselves.

THAT’S fine by me! Whatever it takes to get people thinking about how they use money in their lives - or how money uses them. I feel it is a shame that there is such secrecy about the money we earn and how we use it. I think I understand why, people don’t want to be judged for earning a little or a lot, or spending a little or way too much but I also think we could all make better decisions if we learned from each others success. That way we might avoid the failures. So many people I correspond with are not bankers, AFA’s or economists they are just the average Jo and Joe who realise that with a bit of forward planning they can live a more balanced life and not be hanging out for their pay cheque each week.

And you are all so nice when you get in touch, I don’t know what I was worried about! I’ve cut out the personal stuff (I won’t ever share that) but here are some of the nice things people have said:

- Great website, well done on improving financial literacy for your readers. Happy investing.

- I just want to congratulate you on your excellent blog. Your blog is the one that I refer Kiwi's too when I realise that I'm about to overdo it! This personal finance stuff is something I'm really passionate about but it's not for everyone (yet)! Thanks for making it accessible.

- ...saw the end of the debt. Yay!

- I have been struggling to find decent NZ-centric investment advice so your articles are like a breath of fresh air and make me feel like I am on the right path.

- I am enormously satisfied with your article.

- You'll be happy to know I have signed up for Simplicity and just yesterday signed up with SmartShares! Now all our focus is on paying the mortgage with some small amounts going towards investing in the background.

- Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your words of wisdom.

- I don’t have any finance geek friends whatsoever other than my long-suffering husband who indulges me occasionally when I ramble on about stuff.

- Love your articles and your in-depth research.

- As always I love how you say things, makes total sense to me and your passion really shows, it's awesome!

- Great writing Ruth- succinct and motivational. Go for it you blogger you!!!!

- Thank you Ruth, just the push I needed :)

- My analysis paralysis is finally over!!!

So, a big THANKS to you all for not diverting my emails to spam, but for reading them instead, for taking some positive action in your own lives and for taking the time to email me and share your journey too. I truly appreciate it. Please do share my blog with others but more importantly don’t be afraid to share your own financial know how with your friends and family. Who knows, they may have been looking at you, wondering how you have gotten to where you are and really wanted to ask you how, but never knew how to start the conversation.

Speaking personally I only know what I do because I have really actively searched for information that will teach me how to invest - from scratch. I never had a good role model when it came to money and I would be so much further ahead if I had have had someone to mentor me. I so would have welcomed that. That is why I started this blog; to make life easier for everyone else who is just starting out and for those well on their way but like me have no one to talk to about it. If people ask me specifics I’m happy to share because I just don’t see the point in hoarding knowledge. So, ask away, I’ll help if I can. Plus, let me know the books and blogs you have read, podcasts you have found and lets share that information around.

After all, its no fun being a younger retiree if all our mates are still slogging their guts out at work.

Happy Saving!

Ruth

P.S. I have made a decision about my KiwiSaver contributions… I’m reducing it down to the minimum to get member tax credits and investing the rest in Index Funds. So, is my husband - I will let him know all the details when he wakes up. He will be so excited to hear all about it. NOT!

Maxed Out KiwiSaver

Maxed Out KiwiSaver

Insurance (YAWN)

Insurance (YAWN)