"Weirdly, my biggest financial success was probably dropping out of school at the age of 16!
"Getting in the workforce so early (and not going to uni) gave me a five-to-ten-year head start on earnings.
"It also meant I avoided student loan debt."
Janine Grainger, CEO, Easy Crypto.
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.
Having co-founded the Easy Crypto platform with her brother three years ago, Janine Grainger says dropping out of school early was a good thing as it gave her a head start.
No matter what people earn, her mantra is to "always, always save".
Describing cryptocurrency as a "digital store of value", Grainger says people have the opportunity to make gains through buying and holding long-term (also called "hodling"), in the hope the underlying asset value rises. "Staking or lending" is becoming more popular (similar to earning interest or dividends on an underlying asset). A third way is to trade on gains (similar to forex trading), although this is time-intensive.
There's risks and returns aren't guaranteed. But crypto can be used alongside other investments to spread money across different assets.
1. Are you a saver or a spender?
It might be my Scottish heritage, but I'm definitely a saver.
But I do like spending on treats - especially single malt whiskies!
2. What was your biggest financial lesson, success or failure?
Weirdly, my biggest financial success was probably dropping out of school at the age of 16!
Getting in the workforce so early (and not going to uni) gave me a five-to-ten-year head start on earning. It also meant I avoided student loan debt.
Even on a minimum wage, I've always been strict about saving part of my income. Thanks to the magic of compound interest, this meant I could buy a house at 26.
3. What's the attraction of cryptocurrency and how long do people need to invest for?
One of the most important rules of investment is to diversify your portfolio (put money in more than one place).
Cryptocurrency provides a way to diversify. It's entirely different to other asset classes (property, shares, cash). People can start with $100.
I personally think taking a long-term approach is the best option, as trying to 'time the market' is risky, not to mention stressful!
There's a great investment strategy called 'DCA' (dollar cost averaging) where you buy in regularly, no matter whether the market is up or down. Making small, regular investments lets you average out the ups and downs, and removes all the mental stress of deciding when is the right time to buy.
4. Give an example of a recent purchase that you consider was great value for money:
Last month, my brother celebrated his 40th birthday.
He's pretty hard to buy for, but I found a decanter online that only cost me $33 (including shipping to Malaysia).
He thought it was the best thing ever!
5. What was your last impulse or 'fritter' purchase and how did you feel about it afterwards?
I hate clothes shopping, so a friend took me out last month to get a new wardrobe.
I bought everything she recommended - even though some of it I would never have picked for myself. I like and wear it all.
6. What's your best saving tip?
To always, always save. Another way to look at this is to 'pay yourself first'.
No matter how much income you have, always set aside a portion in a savings account.
If you're fortunate enough to be getting pay raises, make sure more of the extra cash goes into your savings account than your spending account.
7. Does having more money increase happiness?
Happiness is a state of mind, not a financial status.
However, not having enough money for life's basics is incredibly stressful and negatively impacts physical and emotional wellbeing.
Once you have enough money to remove those stressors, I don't think more money increases happiness... although maybe that's just an income level I haven't reached yet!
8. What’s the best money advice someone's ever given you?
To always, always save.
My parents stressed to me the importance of saving. They made sure I saved up to buy things I wanted, rather than buying now and paying later.
The views expressed in this article are personal and are not professional financial advice.