"When I left university, I started saving 1 percent of my salary ($5 a week).
"As savings compound over time, they don't have to be big to start with."
Andrew Sharp, CEO of Bobux International.
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 regular feature that investigates Kiwi attitudes towards money and what drives the choices they make. We also explore if COVID-19 has changed people's money habits and how.
Newshub spoke to Andrew Sharp, CEO at childrens' shoemaker Bobux International about increasing savings at each pay rise, his penchant for buying new gadgets and using Sharesies to teach kids about investing.
1. Are you a saver or a spender?
As a household, we do a good mix of both.
When I left university, I started saving 1 percent of my salary - $5 a week. I then increased the percentage at each pay rise. As savings compound over time, they don't have to be big to start with.
We now automate our saving and investing. What is left in the spending account is free to spend.
2. Has COVID-19 influenced your attitude towards money?
I grew up with an unhealthy relationship with money. I have since done a lot of work educating myself - so when COVID-19 hit, I didn't panic.
Early on, we shifted a few investments into global shares, such as US tech companies and Medtech. We're continuing to shift to asset classes we think have a gap in value.
We've also reviewed our business strategy and increased the rainy day account.
3. Post-lockdown, have your spending habits changed and if so, how?
Our spending habits haven't changed - we just stick to our budget.
4. Your mobile phone dies: what do you think is a reasonable amount to spend on a new one?
I have always been on an iPhone and use it heavily for work. Around $1000 for a tool that does the job would be OK.
5. Give an example of a recent purchase that you consider great value for money
My Oura ring - US$400 (approx. NZ$605).
Our health is the most important thing we have.
The Oura ring tracks lifestyle elements such as sleep, reaction to foods/alcohol and tracks fitness goals. It helps me to optimise my lifestyle.
6. What was your last impulse or 'fritter' purchase and how did you feel about it afterwards?
Gadgets - I buy lots of things to try them out. Most of them don’t work!
7. If you have spare cash to invest, what's your preferred form of investment and why?
We have property and are trying to diversify away from that.
We also use Sharesies for ourselves and the kids. It’s easy to use and a good tool to teach the kids about saving and investing.
We set them up about a year ago and if they do a job that isn't their household chores, they can earn money. Then we invest it together.
8. Do you use a credit card and if so, do you pay off the entire balance by the due date?
Yes, I don't carry cash anywhere now. I always pay off the card balance - that's automated.
9. Does having more money increase happiness?
People who have always had money would automatically say 'no'. But they don’t understand what it’s like living pay cheque to pay cheque.
I remember times when I wasn't sure if I would have to take items out of my shopping trolley - that wasn’t a super-happy time.
Running our first business, I also remember the anxiety standing in the shower tallying bills on the glass to see who I should pay first.
Once you get to a comfortable level, purpose and meaning become way more important. Money is just a tool that helps facilitate that.
10. The best money advice someone's ever given you?
You can always earn more money - but you can't earn more time.
Focus on making yourself better, building stronger relationships and being a better person.
The money will follow eventually.