Turn dead money into seed money

Financial success is much easier than you think and is often just a matter of prioritizing your spending. The first thing to do is to find out where your money is going and where is disappears into the sunset never to be seen again. Much of this type of spending is dead money because you have nothing to show for it. You need to convince it to stay at home and work for you rather than fill someone Else’s pockets.

There are a number of money leaks which drain your finances so lets take a took at some of the main culprits.


If you have hire purchase loans, credit card loans, or bank or finance company loans then a good deal of your money is being spent servicing the loan. There is a cost to using other people’s money to buy stuff and that is called interest. In order to become debt free and save money, you need to decide on what youer priorities are and MAKE SACRIFICES. As painful as it may sound, you must do an audit in order to work out how much of your money in going in interest payments per annum.

If you are seriously in debt then talking to a budget advisor make sense.


Everyone has stuff they no longer need just lying about around the house. This can all be considered “dead money”. Your stuff can be converted into cash and turned into seed money for your future wealth. Selling the stuff on ebay will give you some extra money to invest. You can then put this money to work for you.


People will spend a fortune on their hobbies and the question of whether the amount you are spending on yours is going to affect your financial plans in the future. We hear of people who spend absurd amounts of money on whatever they are collecting yet when it comes to retirements savings bury their head in the sand. The money spent on this stuff is really dead money because it is not producing any wealth.

Sport is in a separate category altogether because being a participate in sporting activities promotes health and well being but you are able to minimize the amount spent so that what it is costing you does not get out of hand.


Money just lying in a low interest account earning just 2% interest is losing its value because when inflation and tax are both considered, it has lost its value and is worth less than 12 months ago. It all depends on what the purpose of that money is. If it is rainy day money then you may be better off investing it in Bonus Bonds where instead of being paid interest, you go into a draw to win prizes including a million dollar prize. It may be a long shot but at least you have a chance.

It all adds up during the course of a year. $4 or so for one cup of coffee per day does not sound much but if you buy say three cups of coffees per day that is $12 per day you are spending on coffee. That is $60 per week (5 days per week) and during the course of a year, that is $3,000 worth of coffee you are drinking. That could be your retirement savings or an overseas trip, or whatever you may prefer to spend your money on which you can see with your own eyes what your labours have paid for.

Learn to look at your spending on an annual basis because it does not sound like money money when you are paying for something in small amounts but like a dripping tap, leaks like this can add up to a lake. These little money leaks can then be used as your seed money to build your future wealth.

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Your risk profile-what is it?

Your risk profile is the level of risk you are willing to take when you make an investment! The higher the potential return on your investment, the higher the risk but the catch 22 situation is that just parking your money in low risk low return investments will inhibit your potential returns and could end up costing you in the long run. Taxation and inflation will eat away your profits so investing needs to be a balance between risk and reward.

Your risk profile is a big factor when deciding how you are going to invest and that has several parts to it so lets examine them.


When you are young, you are able to take more risks because you have more time to recover from financial setbacks but that is not to say you cannot be on the conswervative side if your circumstances warrant it.

It also does not mean that you cannot take risks when you are approaching retirement because chances are that you could live long after you retire.


It would be madness to invest in high risk (growth investments) if you require the money in the short term, say within the next 6 months to pay for a wedding, new car, or whatever because the markets may be losing ground and you may end up with less money than you intended. Therefore for money you require in the short tern, invest conservatively.


If the prospect of losing your money is going to cause you to lose sleep then lean towards more balanced investments. These are a combination of growth and conservative investments.

Your potential return will not be as much as it could be but at least you will sleep easy, albeit, at a cost.


If you are up to your eyeballs in debt then clearing that debt has to be your number one priority and staying out of debt is priority number two then you can think about saving for whatever reason. Investing in the kiwisaver scheme is a very good investment for the reason that there are tax credits of up to $520 per annum and you are entitled this providing you invest a minimum of $1040. That equates rto 50% return on your investment, tax free. Where else will you get a return like that?

At the end of the day, it is your money you are investing and it is you who will bear the consequences for any financial decision make.

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Saving for a house deposit?

The beauty of the kiwisaver is that part of your funds are able to be used to purchase your first home. There are conditions such as you must not have previously owned a house  and that you must have been in the kiwisaver scheme for 5 years. It is understood that kiwisaver holidays where you did not make any contributions to the scheme are not included in the 5 years.

Making voluntary contributions to your kiwisaver account can really accelerate the savings process because you are investing in an asset which increases in value and there will not be the temptation to withdraw some money for whatever reason. Anotther good reason why using kiwisaver as the main house saving tool is that you will not have to worry about gold digging relatives who accuse you of being stingy and money hungry but purchase lottery tickets because they think that it is the only way of getting financially ahead.

It pays to run the figures in your head in order to know how you are going to arrive at your destination.

For Example, saving $20 per week=$1,000 per annum, $40,00 per week adds up to $2,000 per year, $60 per week adds up to $3,000 per year, $100 per week = $5,000 per annum. Your savings can really multiply quite rapidly once you get into the savings habit.

Saving and investing are two different things. most people can save money but it is being an investor which can mean the difference between staying in a financial rut and prospering.

Parking your money in low interest accounts is not being an investor.

Once tax is paid on any interest you receive and then inflation devalues the value of your money by whatever rate it is, there is nothing in the way of profit left for the account holder.

Few people have the sufficient funds to invest directly into the sharemarket but with your kiwisaver account, you are able to participate in the markets and take advantage of the fantastic capital gains which are available. Kiwisaver is not the only option for investing in the markets. Many banks do have managed funds you can invest with the minimum amount to get started can be $250 on wards. It is an excellent way of breaking into the markets.

Sharesies is another option for investing. It basically works like other managed funds but the beauty of this is that you are able to invest the bare minimum. You can start the fund with as little as $20 and invest as little as $5 per week. It is an excellent way of learning about the various funds and watch their movements. Visit; www.sharesies.nz

Developing the savings mindset will go a long way towards reaching your financial goals but if you sit there thinking, Saving for a house deposit for 5 years is a long time, I will be 30, 35, 40 years old or whatever in 5 years time”. Stop and think about this for a moment.

You will be 5 years older in 5 years time whether you decide to plan for your future or not!

Forget about what other people are doing, they cannot live your life for you though they may try to. Just think about your own situation but ask for advice by all means then decide if you are going to take it on board.

Happy investing!

Robert A. Stewart

This article is not intended as financial advice but rather is the opinion of the writer. If you require financial advice, see a qualified financial advisor.


I have a FREE ebook available “My secrets to Finance Success” by clicking on the link below;



Capital Gains tax and kiwisaver

The talk in New Zealand these past two or three weeks has been the possibility of the introduction of the Capital Gains tax. This is likely to be at 33%. irrespective of which tax rate you are on. So if for example you are on the lower income bracket paying tax of 17.5% then your kiwisaver provider would still pay 33% tax on any capital gains on your kiwisaver. The capital gains tax could be mitigated by new incentives by those in the scheme or at least encourage those who have not joined to do so. All will be revealed in May’s budget but it is likely that the $1000 kickstart will be reinstated and that the annual tax credit will be increased. It was the last National government who scrapped the kickstart in order to balance the books. They also reduced the tax credit from $1040 to $520. Prior to the reduction, you had to deposit at least $1040 to get the full government tax credit so that was in effect the same as making 100% on your investment, tax free. Then National reduced the tax credit to $520 but you still had to deposit $1040 to get this which is like earning 50% on your investment.

As for the $1000 kickstart. If you are a school leaver or have not got around to joining kiwisaver then it may be a good idea to wait until after the budget to see what unfolds. It really depends on timing because Grant Robertson (The finance minister) may decide that they changes will take effect on July 1st which is the start of the kiwisaver year but if the changes take effect immediately after budget night then it would be good sense to join kiwisaver in order to collect the 1k kickstart and deposit at least $1040 into your kiwisaver account by 30th June in order to collect July’s tax credit.

Another change which has been talked about is the scrapping of the tax on employer contributions for those earning less than $48,000. As with the government incentives, the employer contributions will become tax free if your level of income allows it. It was the last National government who placed the tax on employer contributions.

It is interesting to see how any capital gains tax will effect kiwisaver balances in the future because a lot of these funds do have investments in property. It may well affect the supply of housing because would be property developers will think it is just not worth the hassle especially with the new compliance costs which will cost land lords an arm and a leg.

A capital gains tax will not just affect property and shares. It is likely to affect crypto currency as well but it is not clear what the situation is in the event that someone makes a capital loss as can happen when investing for capital gain. Investor’s who lose money in an investment in this way may well be able to claim losses against their wages and salaries but it is best to seek advice from a qualified person in this regard.



How to compile your family tree

Starting is easy-you just start with your own family and your parents. Ask them about what they know about their parents and grand parents and anything they know about their ancestry. Don’t just ask them who their ancestors are but ask about their trade, hobbies, and about their life in general.

If you have aunties and Uncles or grand parents then also ask them about ancestors. Two people may have a complete different opinion about a person in the family depending on how well they got along with them or if they didn’t if you get the picture so it pays to keep an open mind. Don’t forget to prepare yourself by compiling a list of questions prior to meeting your relatives.

Now that you have some information available, make a list of things you are trying to find the answers to. If your grand parents are still alive then you should at least have four generations of your family tree and if you get stuck, some members of the family may at least know where to look to get the information you require.

When you are compiling a family tree, note any patterns which may appear in your family. In some families a certain trade may appear several times as sons followed in their father’s footsteps in certain occupations.

Family scrapbooks, family albums, and school report cards will all give you an idea of a person’s interests but this is only possible with living relatives and those who have departed within the last few decades. When it comes to relatives four generations ago and longer you will rely on old public records for information.

Knowing where to look and obtain information is the key. if you want to receive emails updates then click on the link below;



Seeking Battle of Waterloo ancestor

It has been passed down through my family for generations that our ancestor Ann Livingston is the daughter of a French Soldier w washo died at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. It has been said that her father’s death occurred while Ann was a baby or just prior to her birth.

What our family do know about Ann is that she married William Stewart at Old Kilpatrick in 1834. William was born at Stirling in 1808. His parents were John Stewart & Janet Thomson.

Willam and Ann’s second son was Robert Stewart (born 1842). He is my great grandfather and founder of Stewart’s brewery at Coal Creek near Greymouth, New Zealand.

Trying to find the identity of Ann’s father and mother for that matter is a challenge. There is a website forces war records which I have tried but it just contains the names of those who fought at Waterloo (and other wars) and nothing about their families. I did however note that a couple of William Livingstone’s appeared on the list and I do have a theory that since Ann’s son Robert named his first child, William Livingstone Stewart, that maybe Ann’s father was William.

There is also the possibility that Ann’s father was a Robert since according to Scottish naming traditions, the second boy is named after the mother’s father.

The National Military Museum is in Kew England and that contains military records. I have written to them but no joy there. Their site is www.nationalarchives.gov.uk Phone +44(0) 20 88763444 Address; National Army Museum, Bessant Dr, Richmond TW9 4DU, United Kingdom

The www.forces-war-records.co.uk has a lot of names of those who have fought British battles and I have found a couple of William Livingstone’s there but nothing about their families.

The Roots chat forum is another place I have used. THis is a site where you post threads and hope that someone on the site will have information that you need. The roots chat site is www.rootschat.com

Familysearch.org is another site I am signed up for. I tried their search engine but no joy so I sent them a message asking if they have any records of soldiers who served at Waterloo and they gave me instructions on how to search the catalogue;

1. Sign in to Familysearch.org

2. Near the top-centre of the screen, hover the mouse pointer over Search and click Catalog

3. Just under the “Search by.” heading, click Keywords

4. In the Keywordsa search box, enter “Battle of Waterloo” and click Search

5. You will see 36 results.



How Scottish naming traditions can provide clues to researching your ancestry

During the 1700s and 1800s there was a system of naming children which had been called “The Scottish Naming Traditions”. It is a pattern of naming offspring after relatives and went like this;

First son named after the father’s father (Child’s Paternal grandfather)

Second son named after the mother’s father (Child’s Maternal grandfather)

Third son named after his father

Fourth son named after his father’s oldest brother

First daughter named after the mother’s mother (Child’s maternal grandmother)

Second daughter named after the father’s mother (Child’s paternal grandmother)

Third daughter named after her mother

Fourth daughter named after the mother’s oldest sister

If you have noticed that some of your ancestors have followed some kind of naming pattern for their children then it could prove helpful in your research. I have tried to find information about my great great grandmother Ann Livington and whether two Miller lads who were boarding with her and her huisband William Stewart were in some way related. It has been suggested that they may be half-sisters of Ann because her father died in the battle of Waterloo (1815) while she was a baby or just prior to her birth. I found out through my research that one of those lads named one of his children Ann Livingstone Miller.

Using the surnames of relatives as a middle name seem to be more common than you think. My great grandfather Robert who was Ann Livingstone’s son had a habit of this! In fact he often used the first and middle names of some relatives on both the paternal and maternal side of his family. He was not given a middle name at birth as was common in those days (He was born in 1842). He added the Miller name after he landed in Australia to distinguish himself from other Robert Stewarts. This led me to believe that there may be some kind of family tie as far the boarders Ander and Walter Miller who were living with Robert’s parents in 1841.

Among Robert’s children was an Ann Cochrane Stewart, John Cochrane Stewart, James Blair Stewart, and Archibald Arrol Stewart. I have noticed that if you removed the Stewart name there are ancesters named Ann Cochrane, John Cochrane, James Blair, and Archibald Arrol. Robert named his first child William Livingstone Stewart and I was thinking that maybe Ann Livingstone’s father’s name was William.

The Cochranes and the Arrol’s came from Robert’s wife’s side of the family while one of Robert’s sister’s married a Mr. Blair.

All of this information can be useful when putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together in your family tree.

You can get a copy of genealogy which explains in general terms how to go go about tracing your ancestry wherever they come from.

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Robert Stewart pioneer in West Coast brewing

Robert Stewart was born at Old Kilpatrick, Dumbartonshire, Scotland in 1842. Son and Grandson of a cooper, Robert also learned coopering and worked for his father William who owned a cooperage at Old Kilpatrick.

He left Scotland for Australia in 1862 and sailed to Brisbane where he met his wife, Margaret Cochrane, also from Dumbartonshire, SCotland though they sailed on different ships. They live in North Queensland until late 1865 when they sailed for Hokitika after finding the climate too hot in Queensland.

In Hokitika Robert work for a brewery and this was the start of several moves for Robert and Margaret.

Robert worked in various breweries and they are at Sydney, Christchurch, and Charlston.

At Charleston around 1870 he worked for Thomas McCarthy owner of the Standard Brewery and when the gold rush was ending Mr McCarthy moved to Wellington where he established another brewery and urged Robert to come with him but Robert preferred to remain on the West Coast.

After Charleston Robert and his growing family moved to Westport where Robert built his own brewery but disaster struck in 1878 when a south west squall blew the brewery over and this calamity caused the family financial hardship for a time and the family moved to Coal Creek on the northern side of the Grey River.

Robert then went to work for a Thomas Joyce, owner of Joyce’s brewery at Omoto but left after Joyce did not stick to the agreed terms.

Robert then built his own brewery not far from where he lived on the side of Cobden Hill near where the current road stands but Thomas Joyce then wrote to the council complaining that Stewart’s brewery is causing an obstruction so the council wrote to Robert asking him to remove the obstruction but he refused. Joyce continued to complain and Robert received more letters from the council but this had little effect. Robert owned 8 acres around the brewery and leased another 8 acres. He milked cows and supplied milk to Greymouth.

The brewery had its ups and downs but in 1905 after a string of setbacks, Robert finally got his final brewery going at Coal Creek after saving money from working at the Crown brewery in Hokitika,, a job he started in 1899.

In 1936, the brewery was shifted closer inland on the banks of Cobden Hill at great expense by Robert’s son, Archie at a cost of 10,000 pounds. Archie continued brewing until 1961 when the brewery brewed its last batch.

Craft brewing is proving popular in New Zealand with many people turning their home brewing into a commercial operation. There is a lot of information on the internet teaching you the ins and outs of home brewing and I have put the link to one such site for you. Your first batch may be just a click away;

Brewing made easy



How you can live and travel forever on $20 a day.

I just recently read on the internet about how it is possible to live and travel on $20 day day! This sounds too good to be true but all the same is worth checking out. Our world is much bigger than our own neighbourhood and once you have some travelling to far flung places you appreciate what you have once you meet people who are less fortunate people in the world than you. I think to live on $20 a day is probably only possible for those without financial commitments and I am not talking about things bought on credit but rather rates if you own property and the costs of running a vehicle which add up to an arm and a leg annually. This guide however will be useful information for those who are ready to set off on their journey of a lifetime and you can find out more by cluicking on the link below; https://8a580juwmn56yua43jmdsabk68.hop.clickbank.net/



Workplace bullying is an issue that has cropped up in the news recently (well in New Zealand anyway). It is an issue that has probably been around for centuries but has only been given a name within the previous 20 or so years. Workplace bullying takes many forms, it may be harassment, sexual or non-sexual, personal comments that make the recipient feel humiliated, verbal abuse, social exclusion, name calling, and constant criticism that is unjustified.

There is no doubt that some people are hard to work with and refuse to be civil to you no matter how civil you are to them. The best way to deal with that is to put your head down and concentrate on your work.

People who push others around or are rude to others basically have a low opinion of themselves and what they see in others is often a reflection of how they feel about themselves. Bullying others is their way of boosting their own self-esteem. By constantly putting others down makes them feel better about themselves but problem is, it is like a drug and they have to keep doing it in order for it to work.

There are certain times when the bullying will attack others but it is when they have an audience when they are most lethal. At other times when the victim is alone with the bully, they will be attacked when there are no witnesses but this is increasingly difficult when there are no witnesses.

Some bullying starts with light-hearted banter between work colleagues which gets out of hand or even gets personal; that is when it crosses the line.

The responsibility for what occurs at the workplace rests on the shoulders of the employer; it is they that have to set the standard of acceptable behaviour in the workplace. They have a duty to set boundaries and say this is what is expected of you. Many employers will write this into your employment contract.

The process of dealing with a complaint can be quite drawn out but in New Zealand, the victim if they have a complaint against a colleague needs to complain to their supervisor and they must take steps to ensure that the bullying ceases. If they do not take reasonable steps to solve the problem then the victim can lay a complaint with the Department of Labour.

I have an ebook called “The Bully Buster” and it is available for just $5 It is basically for parents and children and explains how to deal with bullying at school.