252 episodes

Each week the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking the Books tackles a different money problem. Hosted by Frances Cook.

Cooking the Books with Frances Cook Newstalk ZB and NZ Herald

    • Business
    • 4.7 • 189 Ratings

Each week the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking the Books tackles a different money problem. Hosted by Frances Cook.

    Why doing less can make you richer

    Why doing less can make you richer

    Each week the NZ Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking The Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's a new win for the passive investing fans. Hosted by Frances Cook.

    If you invest in shares, the later parts of last year probably weren't fun for you.

    To put it mildly, the markets were spooked by a combination of factors including the stand-off between China and the US, political uncertainty in Europe, and general worries for the global economy.

    The end result was a sea of red in the stock markets, with values going down further than they have in several years.

    Now, if you're investing for the long term, this isn't actually something to be too upset about, but I've covered that in previous episodes.

    It's still unnerving to see your investments going down, and if you weren't expecting it, it can hit you in the pocket.

    This is where active managers often claim they can save your bacon. Those clever guys say they'll manage your investments, read the financial tea leaves, and save you from the worst when the inevitable crunch comes.

    Meanwhile passive investors, those who buy shares through index funds, are usually buckled up to ride out whatever the market throws at them.

    There's nothing like a good nerd fight, and the active versus passive debate can get especially heated.

    But the results from last year show that when things got tough, the passive investors did far better than the active investors.

    If you have a question about this podcast, or an idea for the next one, come and talk to me about it. I'm on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/FrancesCookJournalist/ Instagram here https://www.instagram.com/francescooknz/ and Twitter here https://twitter.com/FrancesCook

    • 19 min
    Top tips to cut your food budget

    Top tips to cut your food budget

    Each week the NZ Herald's Cooking the Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's top tips to reduce your food bill. Hosted by Frances Cook.

    Food is one of those core expenses that soaks up a lot of our money, but that we can feel powerless over.

    Now you do have to pay something for food, obviously, but there are ways to reduce both your cost, and your effort.

    You don’t want to be only eating beans and rice, and you certainly don’t want to be spending hours in the kitchen just to save 10 cents.

    But you can make progress without doing either of those things.

    Tom Hartmann, personal finance expert from Sorted, came on the latest Cooking the Books podcast.

    We discussed how much wriggle room you have to bring down the food budget, how to stock up without sabotaging yourself, and how to use technology to your advantage.

    If you have a question you'd like answered in a future podcast, come and talk to me about it. I'm on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/FrancesCookJournalist/ Instagram here https://www.instagram.com/francescooknz/ and Twitter here https://twitter.com/FrancesCook

    • 25 min
    The psychology of why it's better to give than receive

    The psychology of why it's better to give than receive

    Each week the NZ Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking the Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's why giving to others can give you a boost too. Hosted by Frances Cook.

    This podcast focuses a lot on how to fix your finances, but once you've got yourself sorted, should you be helping others?

    Well, yes.

    For starters, nobody succeeds purely on their own. Even when you work hard, there's usually some sort of family support, or a workplace taking a chance on you, or a social scheme that helps you get ahead.

    So once you're doing well, it's a good idea to pay it back and help out others who are just starting.

    But if you want to be really cynical about it, it turns out you might be one of the biggest benefactors when you decide to give back.

    Apparently our brains quite enjoy when we decide to be charitable.

    For the latest Cooking the Books I talked to University of Auckland psychology lecturer Dr Sarah Cowie.

    We discussed what we get from giving to others, whether there's a difference in giving time or money, and how to vet charities to make sure your money goes further.

    If you have a question about this podcast, or question you'd like answered in the next one, come and talk to me about it. I'm on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/FrancesCookJournalist/ Instagram here https://www.instagram.com/francescooknz/ and Twitter here https://twitter.com/FrancesCook

    • 11 min
    How the rule of 100 helps decide your investing strategy

    How the rule of 100 helps decide your investing strategy

    Each week the NZ Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking the Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's how a rule of thumb can give guidance on your personal investing strategy. Hosted by Frances Cook.

    Time is everything when you're investing.

    Long-time podcast listeners will have heard it here before - the longer you have, the more that risky investments will be right for you, like shares or property.

    If you have less time, a lower risk investment like bonds or term deposits are usually the suggestion.

    Well if you're looking for more detail on this idea, there's a rule of thumb that some people like to use.

    It's the rule of 100, or, 100 minus age.

    It means that if you take 100, subtract your age, then what's left is the percentage of your investments that should be higher risk, because you have the time to build your wealth like that.

    So for me, at 31, the suggestion is 69 per cent of my investments going into higher risk options.

    But like any rule of thumb, there are exceptions, there's fine print, there are little adjustments before you can apply it to your own personal situation.

    For the latest podcast, I talked to Mark Lister from Craig's Investment Partners.

    We discussed when the rule of 100 works, when it doesn't, good low risk options, and how property fits into all of this.

    If you have a question about this podcast, or question you'd like answered in the next one, come and talk to me about it. I'm on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/FrancesCookJournalist/ Instagram here https://www.instagram.com/francescooknz/ and Twitter here https://twitter.com/FrancesCook

    • 25 min
    Six ways New Zealanders save money over Christmas

    Six ways New Zealanders save money over Christmas

    Each week the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking The Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's how to get through the notoriously expensive Christmas season without blowing the budget. Hosted by Frances Cook.

    You don't need me to tell you it's an expensive time of year.

    I start to feel the dread of Christmas around October, reminding me I need to buy people presents, stock up on food, and prepare for the social calendar to be flooded.

    All of the Christmas festivities are fun, don't get me wrong, but they can definitely leave you with a fiscal hangover.

    So in the spirit of Christmas, I got the Cooking the Books community together to share their best tips with each other.

    I asked those who follow my pages on Facebook and Twitter how they got through Christmas without totally blowing the budget.

    We're a bunch of frugally minded people, and the last time we did a community episode I was impressed at the great advice people had to offer.

    Listen to the podcast for the full quotes of how people use these tips and tricks in their own life, but for those of you who just want a quick list, here are the main points.

    Be picky about who actually gets a present.

    Now this might sound a little scrooge-ish, but I think it's a great tip.

    It's easy to feel like you need to be santa and buy something expensive and thoughtful for everyone from your boss's first cousin, to the mailman's dog. But there are better ways to go about it.

    Secret santas for the adults and a price limit on presents for the kids were a popular solution.

    Taking the focus off a mountain of presents lets everyone relax a bit , and spend their time and money on being together instead.

    Go second hand for presents.

    From the people who messaged me, this seems to be particularly useful for kids.

    The local second hand shops can be a treasure trove of high quality toys, and particularly while they're young, kids won't notice or care.

    Others didn't even pop down to the local Sallies for second hand gifts; they regifted things they'd received the year before.

    Regifting is all about diplomacy and thought. Don't do it in front of the person who gave you it originally, and make sure the person you're regifting to is likely to actually enjoy it.

    Get crafty

    This is for the skilled people amongst us, but there are some great things you can give that are more meaningful than an expensive present.

    Homemade chutneys or preserves were popular gifts for adults, or a voucher book of treats for your significant other.

    While yes, the point of this episode is to save money, I think these ideas actually bring us back to what Christmas is about.

    By spending time together and doing something thoughtful to help another person out, it forces you to think about things a bit more.

    Plan ahead

    While this isn't much help for this year, you can start thinking about next Christmas right now.

    People messaged me with clever tips including paying into a special presents bank account all year, paying extra on their bills from September so they could coast through Christmas for free, and the best Christmas supermarket clubs that give you bang for your buck.

    Spreading it over the year like this makes it so much easier to deal with.

    Spread the load

    Christmas is a time when you might feel the pressure to be the perfect host by feeding your entire extended family a five course meal.

    Overeating is one of my favourite parts of the holiday season, but there are ways to do it with less stress and cost.

    Lots of people messaged me with the idea to bring a plate. This not only cuts down on the time and stress of producing a mountain of food, but also makes sure you get...

    • 15 min
    Why your emotions are the biggest danger when investing

    Why your emotions are the biggest danger when investing

    Each week the NZ Herald's Cooking the Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's keeping emotion in check to become a better investor. Hosted by Frances Cook.

    Emotions and money are like petrol and fire. Try not to mix them if you can, because it's likely you won't enjoy the result.

    So while I've loved seeing more people paying attention to their money in the last year, and particularly the fantastic surge in people who are interested in investing, I have found it worrying the emotions that are clearly also in the mix.

    Strategies abound for getting rich quickly, hyped stocks are spread through online forums, and for every overnight winner there are ten losers left in their wake, carrying the can.

    The reaction to this in some quarters has been for people to warn that the sharemarket is like a casino, and that if you dabble, you should prepare to get burned.

    Well that's just not true either.

    Shares are a proven wealth-building strategy, it's just that you do need a strategy as you get started.

    Getting your emotions under control is part of that strategy for every single one of us, whether that's greed, fear, or FOMO.

    In the latest podcast I talked to AUT senior lecturer in finance Dr Ayesha Scott

    If you have a question about this podcast, or question you'd like answered in the next one, come and talk to me about it. I'm on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/FrancesCookJournalist/ Instagram here https://www.instagram.com/francescooknz/ and Twitter here https://twitter.com/FrancesCook

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
189 Ratings

189 Ratings

dartsfromstoke ,

Awesome podcast

Love this podcast! Frances is so relatable and thorough with her financial research. It’s a good length at roughly 20 minutes and I look forward to hearing each episode.

NewlymintedHUFFLEPUFF ,

She’s cooking the books with a bun in the oven!

I just love Frances Cook’s no nonsense attitude, earnestness and social media presence- I will be listening to her when I’m 80, I am convinced.

tammyjamsamm ,

Informative and relevant

Really good show up to date with the happenings in NZ. Host is relatable and encouraging.

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