job-free at 37

Do rewards credit cards work in New Zealand?

I’m turning 31 this year. I’ve made it this far in my life without a credit card. I’ve always viewed them as evil. My accounting teacher in high school told us having a credit card is fine as long as you pay it off in full at the end of every month, but I didn’t understand why you would do that instead of just using your EFTPOS card (for overseas readers, this is how us kiwis ditched cash long before debit cards became a big thing).

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Changing Checkout Lanes

I was at the supermarket a couple of weeks ago, waiting in line to have my groceries scanned and bagged, when I noticed a guy at the next checkout over anxiously looking around. Now, he could have been doing this for any number of reasons but what it looked like – and the conclusion I immediately jumped to – was that he was looking to see if he’d get through faster if he swapped to a different checkout.

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Environmentally Independent

This is a blog about personal finance, particularly looking at financial independence. When you start cutting expensive waste out of your life, it’s impossible to not also notice that you’re being a lot kinder to the planet. Now, I don’t know that we’ll ever be what I suppose would be called “Environmentally Independent”, which would be a mixture of being zero waste and also having net personal greenhouse gas emissions of zero or less. But I can share some examples of how our journey towards financial independence has made us much less harsh on the environment.

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Net Worth – August 2019

We saw some good net worth gains in July. I don’t know whether this is because our government KiwiSaver contributions arrived (I don’t think it was but haven’t bothered to look at the blow-by-blow report to see), but hopefully those are still to come this month.

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When deals aren’t all they seem

I’ve noticed recently that some companies are coming up with increasingly creative ways to fool customers into thinking they’re getting a good deal.

One very obvious example is Skinny’s 28-day mobile offerings. Here’s a look at the kinds of phone plans you can get in New Zealand at the time of publishing:

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Our investments take flight

As anyone who’s read any financial independence blog will know, investing in index funds is the most surefire way to achieve reliable gains over time. But it can be fun to invest in the odd individual company on the side as a hobby or an experiment. I don’t recommend making such investments a large portion of your portfolio, but some people do try this.

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Can you eat your lunch and have it?

The conventional wisdom in the financial independence community is that index funds are the slow but sure way to wealth and I agree with that. Consequently, the vast majority of our investments are in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). Because we are in “growth” KiwiSaver funds, our provider invests the majority of our retirement money in ETFs. The majority of our Sharesies investments are also in ETFs. But, we have specialised on a couple of companies recently and I want to share why.

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Winning at disposable income

So over the past two weeks I’ve discussed how geoarbitrage can give you the disposable income of a richer person, as can general frugal common sense. None of this comes close to depriving yourself of anything really important to your happiness or wellbeing. I want to round things up this week by trying to bring it all together.

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Net Worth – July 2019

Another month, another update 🙂 June saw us invest $500 in Eat My Lunch via the PledgeMe platform. It was an unusually low barrier to entry. It’s not every day that for $500 you can invest in a business you’ve actually heard of before, believe in and see potential in. The low amount is key as we believe in the power of diversification. We can afford to lose $500 if it all goes belly up. Hopefully other companies seeking funding in future will allow similarly low investments.

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How frugality gives you the income of a richer person

Last week I wrote about how moving to a place with a cheaper cost of living (specifically accommodation costs) such as a smaller city or town, can give you similar disposable income to a richer person in a big city. This week I want to show you how simple being more frugal can achieve the same thing (of course for maximum effect, do both!)

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