Me and My Money: Cameron Bagrie

Economist Cameron Bagrie
Economist Cameron Bagrie says that looking at cheaper regions may be the solution to buying a home. Photo credit: Newshub.

"I think housing affordability is a huge issue at present.

"My play on that is to look at cheaper regions which I think are playing catch-up to the expensive ones."

Cameron Bagrie, economist at Bagrie Economics.

Money. It's the driving factor behind many life choices, but is it the be-all and end-all?

'Me and My Money' is a weekly feature that investigates Kiwi attitudes towards money and what drives the choices they make.

Newshub spoke to economist Cameron Bagrie about helping kids understand money for future wellbeing, buying property in cheaper regions and jumping online to compare prices and find the best deals.

What's an example of a goal that you've set for 2020?

I have a bee in my bonnet about improving kids' money mojo (my kids' phrase for financial literacy). 

I’m on the board of Life Education NZ which is a charity that educates and empowers children to make healthy choices. 

Money skills [are] an essential life skill and we're launching some stuff this year.   

Are you a saver or a spender?

A saver. [A] big focus for me is setting my family up for the future. That's not just about money. 

You need a new dishwasher. Are you mainly driven by quality, price or both?


Give an example of a recent purchase that you consider was great value for money:

I bought a new bed for my daughter. [The company] delivered that [same] day and set it up, including attaching the headboard and taking away the rubbish.  

Hat tip to Bedpost. Service is king.

Have your buying habits changed from in-store to online?

Definitely: online brings greater options and cheaper prices. [I'm] strongly influenced by my kids as well.  

I [recently] bought some Allbird shoes. I tried on a size in the Auckland shop, then ordered the colour and shoe online, (the shop didn't have the colour I wanted). The shop even gave me free shoe laces. 

I have concerns over some of the deferred payment schemes for online shoppers though.  Deferred pay potentially turns into no pay.

If you had spare money to invest, what would you invest in?

No preference, but the numbers need to stack up. I tend to be a theme-based investor as opposed to an asset class one.  

I think housing affordability is a huge issue at present and my play on that is to look at cheaper regions which I think are playing catch-up to the expensive ones.

The turbulence we're seeing across financial markets at present is bringing challenges but will also open up opportunities.

What was your last impulse or 'fritter' purchase and how did you feel about it afterwards?

I don't tend to [make] impulse purchases.

I don’t have the Freddy Mercury 'I want it all and I want it now' gene - that’s a dangerous gene.

Do you have a household budget?

No, I'm lucky enough not to need one.  

I do make sure I shop around for the best electricity deals though. The internet provides a great mechanism for people to save money. People need to be using it more.

Does having more money increase happiness?

I'm a believer in the adage that money doesn't buy happiness - but I also believe that money and finance is a big part of wellbeing, especially for a family. It gives you options and choices.  

Having money removes a key source of stress in life. I’ve seen money pressures tear relationships and families apart. 

Money skills are a life skill that should be compulsory in schools.

What is your golden rule for saving money?

I don't have a golden rule - I think a lot is just applying common sense.  

Just make sure you track money going out the door, make provision for potential one-offs and depreciation on assets such as the car, which will ultimately need [to be] replaced.  

How much cash do you have on you right now?

Zero. Everything is paid for by card or online.