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My Money Sorted: Olive

27 May 2024
Reading time: 4 minutes


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A bit about Olive:  
Olive Coulson works for the financial transparency charity called Mindful Money. Mindful Money researches where New Zealanders' KiwiSaver and investment funds are being invested and then makes this information available to everyone for free. 

What is the best money advice you’ve been given? 

That you can vote for the future you want to see with your wallet. I think it's easy to feel disempowered at the state of the world, but we have an incredible opportunity to bring change through our money. I feel good when I support local businesses, fair trade producers, or companies that are challenging the status quo because I'm supporting a system change that I want to see in the world.  

Are you a spender or a saver? 

Oh, I'm definitely a saver. I would happily squirrel everything away! But I'm slowly learning that it's okay to spend money, and there can actually be joy in buying what I need or want.  

What’s a memorable money moment? 

My most memorable money moment was discovering the Mindful Money website (where I now work). When I typed in my KiwiSaver, I realised that over 12% was invested in companies involved in weapons manufacturing, animal suffering, fossil fuels, human rights abuses, etc. As someone who shops at farmers' markets, buys cruelty-free products, and watches out for their carbon footprint, I was shocked to learn that my money was undoing all my hard work, while also earning a low return! I instantly changed my fund provider and decided, right then and there, that I wanted to work for Mindful Money (and as luck would have it—they had a job vacancy, too!) 

“I grew up in a home where money was scarce, so when money became a bit more available, I really struggled to allow myself to spend it, even when it was necessary! Flipping my internal script from being in a scarcity mindset to one of gratitude for having money and being able to spend my money on what is good for me, family and friends has been a very important journey for me.”

Olive

What makes you feel Sorted when it comes to your money? 

Knowing that I have a diverse base of assets for personal security, and that my money is working to grow the world I want to retire in, gives me a lot of peace of mind.  

I have some of my money invested in managed funds (invested on my behalf into a whole lot of diverse equities), and I know they aren't invested in anything that is hurtful.  

I also have some of my money in positive funds to help bring about the future that I'd like to retire in, supporting the clean energy transition and EV companies. The best part is I have these investments automatically set up, so it doesn't require a whole lot of thought on my end. 

What money beliefs have you inherited from your friends and whānau? 

A mindset of scarcity and that 'money is hard to come by' therefore it's bad to spend it. I grew up in a home where money was scarce, so when money became a bit more available, I really struggled to allow myself to spend it, even when it was necessary! Flipping my internal script from being in a scarcity mindset to one of gratitude for having money and being able to spend my money on what is good for me, family and friends has been a very important journey for me. 

What would your bank account say to you right now? 

It's not too happy with me right now as we just bought our first home as part of the Takaka cohousing village! But it's in perfect alignment with what I want for my future, so that feels good.  

What’s your proudest money moment? 

Probably going out on my own as a contractor part-time. It was really empowering being able to pick up different interesting projects, and the supplementary income has also made a huge difference in purchasing our house. 

When you think about your retirement, what do you see? 

An easy life, being able to get involved with interesting projects, meet interesting people – travelling and exploring the world and living in community. 

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