'Financial Amass-culation', and other terms defining modern money lives

Bags full of cool stuff, but what's in their savings account?

Bags full of cool stuff, but what's in their savings account?


"There should be a word for emptying your bank account to buy junk," said my friend watching our daughters fossicking in a shop.

Regular readers will know I despise recreational shopping, especially with children, and avoid malls like they are P houses.

But there I was in a mall, outside a shop selling all manner of desirable things that no-one could possibly need.

There was a single use kitchen tool for stripping leaves off Rosemary stems, a beehive pot for keeping honey in after you have transferred it from the pot in which you bought it, and a plastic thingy to cook fried eggs in the shape of an owl.

Amassing cool, but essentially useless stuff is one of the most certain ways to keep yourself poor.

It deserves its own word.

"Financial amass-culation," I replied.

There's power in words. A good word or phrase helps shape the world. It can give an idea substance. Coin a pithy phrase and the world listens.

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub's book Generation Rent is out soon. Cracking title. I don't even have to tell you it's about young people who can't afford to buy houses, and probably never will.

But for every word or phrase like generation rent, shopaholic, property porn, or debt junkie that perfectly captures an idea, there must be a dozen other personal finance concepts that are just waiting to be named.

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Here are a few of my own suggestions, but I'd be really keen to hear those of readers.

Impoverish-rent: The state families are brought to by renting a house in a good school zone instead of buying one in an average suburb.

Welfear: The terror created by Work and Income in beneficiaries. Also the fear of poverty-level benefits designed to keep the poorly-paid going to work every day, and the middle-classes with their noses to the grindstone.

Saver's regret: The reaslisation of what might have been felt by people who stop their spendthrift ways and start saving too late in life.

KiwiRaving: The lunatic belief that saving 3 per cent into KiwiSaver is going to give you a comfortable retirement.

Stuffed: An adjective describing the quality of your retirement if you spend your life accumulating stuff.

C.A.B.I.N: Couldn't Afford (to) Buy It Now. A house that has gone up in price so much the owner could no longer afford to buy it on their salary, though I'd be happier with the term if it didn't include a silent "t".

A spend itch: The urge to buy something that builds when you haven't got your wallet out for several days. It is to be resisted.

Financial Car-tastrophe: Cars drain away your wealth. Families who live near schools, work and can run a single car have lower running costs, and so can afford to earn less, or save more.

Poor-farming: Making money by investing in finance companies or peer-to-peer lenders making personal loans, payday lenders, or cheap, drafty rental properties. This week half of all renters were revealed as living in draughty, damp houses. Shame on New Zealand's landlord poor-farmers.

Other words and phrases are needed, but no one person can be expected to coin them. Perhaps in a lifetime, coining just one phrase that catches the moment so perfectly people adopt it into popular use is all any person can hope for.

Rob Stock is a journalist with the Fairfax Business Bureau


Live by your own rules

Amass wealth not stuff

Don't leave saving too late

 - Stuff

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