"I never used to be particularly materialistic. I'd always have a savings account that I'd put a certain amount of money in each pay.
"My circumstances have now changed. Although I'm careful with money, my expenditure on clothes and appearance (the joys of ageing) has definitely increased."
Julia Sloane, cast member of The Real Housewives of Auckland, documentary host and business owner.
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 share their biggest learnings from COVID-19.
Cast member of The Real Housewives of Auckland Julia Sloane spoke to Newshub about her achievements since the reality TV show, how aging has influenced her spending and why it's important for business owners to stick to what they know and are good at.
Share a business goal that you achieved last year:
I hosted a documentary called Let's Talk About Sex directed by Lisa Burd.
It screened at the New Zealand Doc Edge festival and at international film festivals. I'm really proud of what we achieved: it got important messages across regarding inclusion and acceptance of diversity in gender and sexuality. The Q&A sessions showed it was entertaining and informative.
The experience opened my mind, I met an amazing group of people and I generally had positive feedback… quite a change from The Real Housewives of Auckland!
1. Are you a saver or a spender?
With a thrifty father, I was brought up a saver. I was disciplined about it, particularly when saving for something specific such as travel.
I never used to be particularly materialistic. I'd always have a savings account that I'd put a certain amount of money in each pay.
My circumstances have now changed. Although I'm careful with money, my expenditure on clothes and appearance (the joys of ageing) has definitely increased.
2. Has COVID-19 influenced your attitude towards money?
Definitely business-wise. We took a close look at our expenses in Helping Hands Ltd (a business I have a shareholding in). It's a database of job seekers mainly in the hospitality sector.
As hospo businesses closed down, we were looking down the barrel at a vastly reduced revenue stream. However, with quick adjustment to cut back on all non-essential expenditure, we managed to trade through and come out of the other side.
3. What has been your biggest financial lesson, success or failure?
Stick to what you know and/or what you're good at.
One business I set up was in an industry I was familiar with, but was heavily technology-based. This resulted in my skill set not being suited to the work - and a lot of expensive sub-contracting.
4. Your mobile phone dies: what do you think is a reasonable amount to spend on a new one?
I like the ease of having all my Apple products talking to each other. Even though I feel iPhones are overpriced, I'll still replace one with another.
5. Give an example of a recent purchase that you consider was great value for money:
With travel now out of the picture, this seems like a far-away dream, but it was the all-inclusive food and beverage package at the Maldives for my 50th birthday. We definitely came out on top with that one.
It's money already spent: the more we ate and drank, the more we saved!
6. What was your last impulse or 'fritter' purchase and how did you feel about it afterwards?
A stunning silver jumpsuit from World that I purchased after a few vinos. Afterwards I thought there's no way I'd be confident enough to wear it - it was out of my comfort zone!
After being prodded and pushed into wearing it by my husband, I received so many wonderful comments that I'm now really pleased with it. It still needs a few wears to pay itself off though.
7. If you had spare money to invest, what would you invest in?
I have money in the sharemarket and a business that I set up after my last one sold.
Now that I'm getting older and less inclined to want to be hands-on, I'd love an investment property.
8. Do you use a credit card and if so, do you pay off the entire balance by the due date?
Yes, I use a credit card wherever possible and always pay off the entire balance by the due date.
When I was younger and carefully budgeting, I would only use a credit card occasionally.
If you can't pay it off, don't use it! It's an expensive debt.
9. Does having more money increase happiness?
Yes, in the sense it gives freedom and alleviates stress - a big health risk.
Money allows me to indulge my passion for travel more easily and provide the means to educate my children well.
10. What’s the best money advice someone's ever given you?
My father encouraged us to save which created good habits early.
He discouraged the use of credit and incentivised our saving by saying he'd double our money at Christmas. This instilled a sense of care around purchasing decisions.