How can I turn over a new leaf in the New Year?

It’s that special time of year again. No, not the impending new year. I mean Stationery Procrastination Time!

For me, it started with the purchase of a new journal.

I begin every year with a new little notebook to keep track of goals (financial as well as health, writing, blogging, and so on), and to make notes, in a very loose ‘bullet journal’ style.

But I always um and ah over which to buy, and then, the price involved.

This year I had my eye on a very nice-looking tropical leaf themed journal with plain lined pages. But I wasn’t sure if it was really ‘the one’. And then, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend – wait for it – gasp – $8 on it.

Then, I received a very nice sticker set for Christmas. 300 stickers, specifically for planners, vision boards and so on. (Shockingly, these stickers cost – wait for it – even bigger gasp – $10! That’s a whole $2 more than the journal itself!)

So far, I’ve managed to open the packages… but no action.

Now should be the time of year that I set up my journal. That I think carefully about my goals for the new year (and indeed, the coming three and five years), and get them down on paper. (Rather than throwing something quickly together on the morning of January first!)

But I’ve always been hesitant to start new notebooks. Especially pretty ones. (Memo to self: perhaps try an ugly notebook next year?)

I may be crazy, but I’m sure I can’t be the only one who feels like this.

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How can I save in the holiday season?

It’s the holiday season! The most wonderful time of the year… At least, that’s what I keep telling myself as we watch The Million in this Queensland heat!

But the most wonderful time of the year can involve a lot of waste.

Every year in the UK alone, Cloud Sustainability reports, some 74 million mince pies are thrown away. As are 500 tonnes of Christmas tree lights.

Lining up every Christmas tree bought in a single year in the UK would give you a line the equivalent of a round trip to New York. And, the Guardian reports, enough wrapping paper is thrown away to circle the equator. Not once. Not twice. But nine times. And that is just the UK’s supply.

Yesterday while finishing up some gift shopping, I got to thinking about what the ‘silly season’ means. And, how we can avoid waste, save, and enjoy the holiday season.

Enrichmentality now has a wealth of posts – 130 in total. So I thought, what better time than the end of the year to delve into some of them?

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Are school uniforms beneficial?

One of the great advantages trumpeted about the school uniform is its capacity to make everyone equal. If all children have to wear the same uniform, the theory goes, discrimination based on socio-economic background, as signaled through, for instance, their brand of shoes or jacket, will disappear.

But is this really the case? Can uniforms actually exacerbate discrimination?

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Should I fly first (or business) class?

Recently, we traveled to Canada with my parents as a group of four. We all flew to Japan, taking a transpacific cruise with stops in Hokkaido, Alaska and Canada. There, we finished with 2.5 weeks visiting breathtaking national parks. Including all flights, meals, accommodation, and car hire, our total cost per person for the entire trip was less than a couple of our friends spent on just their plane tickets to Canada.

Why?

They flew business class.

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Should I rely on the Bank of Mum and Dad? / Should I lend money to my kids?

A worrying new report names the so-called ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ as Australia’s 5th largest lender. This ‘Bank’ – Aussie parents – have collectively lent their sons and daughters more than a whopping $65 billion dollars. Almost a third of parents now help their kids buy a home. The average amount ‘lent’ is $64,000. Why the scare quotes around ‘lent’? Because in two-thirds of cases, Mum and Dad don’t expect to be repaid. (In my book, that’s called a gift, not a loan).

But should you rely on the Bank of Mum and Dad? And, Mums and Dads – should you lend to your kids?

This post – a bumper issue that is the first to tackle two questions – is not only for those considering lending money within families, but also for those who have or will buy a home without family support.
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How can I reduce investing anxiety?

A reader recently asked me whether I ever get nervous before a big investment, like buying shares. A better question would perhaps be when am I not nervous? Although my post today takes investing in the share market as an example, it’s really relevant to almost any worry. Not only investing anxiety and money troubles, but general concerns that keep you up at night.

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Is your portfolio diversified enough?

Diversification is an important topic, but one that isn’t well understood. And I don’t just mean by the general public. Investors aren’t great at understanding it either, apparently. Less than half of investors surveyed by the ASX (46%) claim that their portfolios are invested. And even that group holds just 2.7 financial products on average. A further 40%, who held 1.6 products on average, said they knew their portfolios were not diversified enough. But most worrying of all, 15% of investors admitted they didn’t know if their investments were diversified or not.

So how do you know if your investments are diversified? Or if they are diversified enough?

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What is an investor?

What do you think of when you read the word ‘investor‘? What mental image springs to mind when you hear that word?

Perhaps you’ve heard this riddle: A father and son are in a horrible car crash that kills the dad. The son is rushed to the hospital; just as he’s about to go under the knife, the surgeon says, “I can’t operate—that boy is my son!” Explain.

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