End of Year wrap up and Personal Finance Checklist

2019 is coming to an end. And what a year it has been.

I managed to sort out my Kiwisaver by switching to a lower fee option- granted it’s not the lowest option out there, but I like the customisation that Superlife gives me. I did manage to take my time making this decision and ultimately I was overwhelmed by which choice is the best. Talk about information overload.

In the end- I think it’s probably better to make a choice to move away from a KiwiSaver with higher than 1% fees sooner rather than later- You can always change again later on if you think you’ve made the wrong choice- it takes a maximum of 35 days to switch- it can be faster though. My switch took 16 days.

I’ve continued my fortnightly automatic investment plan into InvestNow- with the odd top up when I have extra money floating around. Kiwisaver is ticking along. And our spending has been in line with our budget.

For this wrap up I thought I’d go through my investments and strategy one last time. In 2020, I don’t think I will continue with my monthly reports– instead- I think I might drop down to quarterly or half-yearly. Every month I do an update which is basically the same as the previous month. What do you think?

Some Numbers

Everyone likes numbers- So here are some numbers for 2019-

  • $29,500 deposited into my Investnow account
  • $10,918 total return before tax for 2019 from my InvestNow account
  • 23.74% return before tax and after fees for my InvestNow account
  • Since starting this blog I have invested $54K- see graph below
  • Reached my $100k goal in December 2019

My main investments are held in a number of accounts- with the majority being in InvestNow.

  • InvestNow account
  • Kiwisaver with Superlife
  • Harmony Peer to Peer
  • Lending Crowd Peer to Peer
  • Genesis Energy shares
  • Investments in two startups

Complication is Creeping In

The one downside is that again- I’ve started to make things complicated again. Earlier this year, I decided to move away from having too many funds in my account. The plan was to stick to 4 funds and leave it at that. But over time- as I have learned more and discussed with other people- the number of funds has now increased.

First off- all my investments are in shares and property- which some might think is quite aggressive. I was happy with it until I had a twitter decision back in July with Sonnie, Nick, Kelvin and Piki living– some other great New Zealand blogs by the way. The discussion was about whether or not this strategy was too aggressive.

Sure the discussion was about my Kiwisaver choice in SuperLife which was entirely in shares and property too. So I got cold feet and now hold a small number of units in AMP Capital Hedged Global Fixed Interest Index Fund. Mainly just to see how a bond fund behaves over time.

I’ve since then backed off the idea of buying into bonds. Mainly because I’m paying my mortgage faster than what is required- and paying off the mortgage is somewhat similar to having bonds in my portfolio. If this doesn’t make sense- check out this video by Ben Felix- a Canadian portfolio manager. A good youtube channel to follow by the way!

Then, while hanging out on the r/personalfinanceNZ Reddit thread I read about the possibility of the Vanguard International Shares Select Exclusions Index Fund fund not being as tax-efficient over $50K due to the FIF rules. There was a suggestion that the AMP Capital All Country Global Shares Index fund would probably be better off once you hit +$50k. I need to look into this next year– I’m still not at $50k- but its increasing at a nice pace, so it won’t be long till I get there.

So- I bought some units in the AMP Capital All Country Global Shares Index fund.

There were a few other simplifications of my investment portfolio that I didn’t follow through with in 2019 either- mainly because I seem to have an inbuilt resistance to selling any funds. I’m not as confident on an exit strategy as an entry strategy. Dollar-cost averaging makes sense to me when buying- is it the same when you are selling? or should you sell in one chunk? Still need to read up about this one…

I still hold Smartshares – US 500 Fund fund which was supposed to be rolled into Vanguard International Shares Select Exclusions Index Fund. And I still hold Smartshares – NZ Top 50 Fund which is pretty much covered by the AMP Capital NZ Shares Index Fund . Check out this post to learn what underlying companies are in each of the US500, Vanguard and NZX50 funds

Plethora of Funds

So all up I now have a plethora of funds- Here’s what I have invested in;

  • Vanguard International Shares Select Exclusions Index Fund
  • Vanguard Intl Shares Select Exclusions Index Fund – NZD Hedged
  • AMP Capital NZ Shares Index Fund
  • AMP Capital Australasian Property Index Fund
  • AMP Capital All Country Global Shares Index Fund
  • AMP Capital Hedged Global Fixed Interest Index Fund
  • Smartshares – NZ Mid Cap Fund (NS) (MDZ)
  • Smartshares – US 500 Fund (NS) (USF)
  • Smartshares – NZ Top 50 Fund (NS) (FNZ)
  • Smartshares – NZ Dividend Fund (NS) (DIV)
  • Smartshares – NZ Property Fund (NS) (NPF)

As you can see this is getting a bit out of hand. And there are many overlaps between the funds. In 2020- I hope to get this unruly mess back into shape.

Tips to wrap up 2019

To help you wrap up 2019 I thought I would put together a wee checklist of important tasks that if you haven’t got round to them yet, you should really consider doing it before the new year. Or at least make a resolution to do them in 2020.

  1. Automate your Savings and Investments– Automating your finances is the best way to run a budget! Funnel all your money into different accounts when you get paid and you’ll know exactly how much you can spend on different things, all the while saving and investing. Remember spending money isn’t bad- it’s out of control spending that is bad.
  2. Top off your Emergency fund– Make sure your emergency fund is topped up to were it should be. If you’ve managed not to touch your emergency fund over Christmas- good on you. If you’re like me you may have dipped into it a little bit.
  3. Contribute to Kiwisaver– Contributing to Kiwisaver is the best thing you can do if your working and living in New Zealand. You’re not going to find any other deal that gives you the same return. Contribute a minimum of 3% and no more.
  4. Consider changing Kiwisaver Providers– The end of the year is a good time to think about whether or not your KiwiSaver provider is right for you. Check to see what fees you are being charged and if you agree with their investment choices. Check out mindfull money to see what you Kiwisaver is invested in.
  5. Review your insurance– there may have been changes to your life over 2019. Make sure these changes are covered by your insurance.

Top Posts for 2019

And if you want to read more- here are the most read posts from 2019.

Also, over the break please share my blog, along with the many other great Kiwi finance blogs with family and friends. The online personal finance community is small in New Zealand- and I’d like to help it grow! Just send them to the Top Ten Kiwi Personal Finance blogs.

And Finally, Happy New Year

This is going to be the last post of 2019- as I try and take a break over the Christmas period….I say break but I will be working through- even boxing day and the day after new years day. What I mean is that I am going to take a break from writing posts. I’ve found it hard to keep up with one post a week in the last few months- and I think my posts have suffered a bit for it. So…

As 2019 comes to an end, I want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say. I learnt so much by writing posts that I think might help you. You have kept me motivated and accountable to reach my goals on the way to financial independence. And I hope that you have achieved some of your goals for 2019 too!

I’ll be writing more post for you to in 2020- In the meantime, enjoy your holidays.

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5 thoughts on “End of Year wrap up and Personal Finance Checklist”

  1. Hi there. I’m really enjoying your posts.
    You’ve said to only put 3% in kiwisaver. I may be mistaken but are the contributions to kiwisaver not put in pre tax? If so, would it not be more efficient to max before tax contributions? Or is the idea that you don’t want to wait til 65 to access it? Cheers

    • No- Your KiwiSaver contributions are calculated on your before-tax– so 3% total of what you earn- but, you still pay tax on the full amount that you earn per year. So there is no extra benefit beyond the 3% match from your employer. And as you say- there is a downside that any extra you put in will be locked until you are 65. Although for some this might be an upside.


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