‘Shreem brezee… Shreem brezee…’ One morning during the Christmas break, I woke to the sound of a recorded mantra being chanted on YouTube in the kitchen. This was somewhat unusual.

It was not entirely surprising though: my better half had been learning about and dabbling with all sorts of mantras in the weeks prior. A ‘kleem’ here, a ‘shreem’ there… However, the ‘shreem brezee’ one had images to go with the chants: coins, notes, even gold bullion. Apparently, it’s a mantra aimed at attracting prosperity and wealth.

Now I suppose we could all join together in a group mantra-chanting session to manifest an abundant 2014, but of course that’s a bit beyond our remit here at Sorted. What we are after this year is sharp decision making. And with the economy improving and confidence soaring, it’s time to take advantage and make choices that move us all forward financially.

‘Shrink dumb debt… Shrink dumb debt…’ Well, perhaps 108 repetitions of that would be a tad overkill.

Instead, in the next few months, among other things, we’ll be focusing on two positive ways to get ahead: savvy borrowing and making the most of KiwiSaver.

Savvy borrowing

A family friend who is a game designer in Las Vegas takes a more positive view of credit cards than most. To him they are not just about convenience. I discovered that this was because years ago he used a card to borrow enough for one of his first computers, paving the way for his successful programming career.

It’s no wonder he sees things differently, since he was borrowing for an asset that would increase in value in the years that followed. But the asset was not just the computer itself – he was investing in his skills, and he was able to extend them further as a result.

Of course, in hindsight, his was savvy borrowing. There will be lots of other examples of ways that we can borrow for assets such as education or a property that will increase in value as time goes by.

Another way of borrowing wisely is avoiding the dumb debt traps out there – those purchases that leave you with high-interest bills to pay that could have been avoided in the first place. Have a look at our debt calculator to see what you might be getting into.

Making the most of KiwiSaver

January is a great time of year to get finances on track and check in with your KiwiSaver situation. We’ve got the best tool for just that: the KiwiSaver fund finder, where you’ll be able to check your current fund and see how it stacks up against the many others out there. Are you in the right one for you?

Because of the incentives that come with KiwiSaver, the scheme is one of the main ways people like you and me are managing to get ahead. After all, it’s not just your savings – there are contributions from the government in the form of the tax credit, from your employer if you are an employee, as well as the market returns from the money being invested.

What getting ahead is really all about

‘Getting ahead’ really means growing net worth. Many of us may be hundreds of thousands in debt with a mortgage and have a negative net worth, but what counts is to be heading towards the positive – that’s getting ahead. Have a look at our net worth calculator and work out not just where you are at today, but where you will be in the years to come. Will your net worth have grown by the end of the year? That’s the goal.

When you see how your decisions affect your net worth, you’ll find more ways to grow.

Here’s to an abundant 2014. I’ll leave you with a funny fact about that ‘Shreem brezee’ mantra morning, though: that very day, because of an early holiday payday and surprise Christmas gifts, more money came in to our household than on any other day all year.

Go figure. 

 

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