North Shore Times : March 1st 2016
stuff.co.nz MARCH 1, 2016, NORTH SHORE TIMES Government agency’s mantra off thewall GOLDENRULES ROB STOCK email@example.com Money talks I sawthe most startling phrase on thewall of a Government agency. A pologies to those whohave a low tolerance for cuss words, but I have to tell you what it is, or this column will make no sense at all. The phrase was: ‘‘Bitch, it ain’t on the list’’. I kid you not. What’s more, when I asked the head of the agency about it, she said she was thinking gettingT-shirts printed sporting the phrase. The agency was the Commission for Financial Capability (CFC). Its head is retirement commissioner Diane Maxwell. Hers is the agency tasked with making us all smarterwith money. It runs Sorted, the country’s most useful personal finance website, chock-full of mortgage, saving, KiwiSaver and get-out-ofdebt calculators. It’s also involved in providing money education in workplaces and schools, and trying to get politicians to put in place sensible retirement income policies. The phrase isn’t up in bold as some kind of gratuitous modern humour. It’s up there as the voice of an ordinaryNewZealander. It is a reminder that theCFC needs to speak a language ordinary ❚ Live by the little and often rule ❚ Develop your frugal strategies ❚ Have yourmoneymantras. Doing little things often is the key to changing money lives. Save $10 a week, and one day there’s $500 in the account. NewZealanders understand. Too often the language of government and money people is a jargon-filled patois only distantly related to everyday English. Maxwell toldmehowthe phrase came to be on the agency’s wall. It was the catch-cry of twowomen who did their shopping together. It was spoken when one discovered the other had sneaked something into her trolley that wasn’t on her shopping list, hence the ‘‘Bitch, it ain’t on the list’’. It was their way of encouraging each other to stick to their tight shopping budgets. Weall know thewisdom of shopping to a list wehave planned. It helps resist temptation in the supermarket where there are so many good things that are bad for our waists and our wealth. Mealplanning for those on tight budgets is essential, if there is ever going to be any money left over to save. The phrase on the wall stands for all those people and families doing it hard but not pitying themselves, facing up to livingwithin their means with good humour. It stands for the ‘‘Little and often’’ message Maxwell repeats. 19 Shopping to a list helps avoid impulse purchases. Doing little things often is the key to changing money lives. Save $10 a week, and one day there’s $500 in the account. JoinKiwiSaver, and one day there’s $50,000 there. Put an extra $20 a week into the mortgage, and with thousands off the interest cost. TheCFCunder Maxwell has changed a lot. It used to feel a bit like it was run by and formiddleincomeNewZealand. It was awfully polite, very worthy, and its staff were not at all funny. Theymaynot always have got out of the office to talk to people who start sentences with cuss PHOTO: /123RF.COM words. I’d be poorer for not having heard the phrase, though I thinkmy wife might object if I tried to bring it into everyday usage at home. I thinkmany households have money mantras and phrases. What are yours? I’d love to hear them. Will Smith’s concussion is less than memorable MATT GLASBY Writer/director Peter Landesman’s medical drama is a timely reminder that just because you’re Oscar bait, doesn’t mean you’re Oscar standard. Diligently ticking all the right boxes, as if genetically engineered for awards glory, it’s a true story (check), about an honourableman (check), overcoming impossible odds (check –well, the NFL), to save lives (check). It’s also not very good. As bookish Nigerian pathologist Dr Bennet Omalu, Will Smith is badlymiscast, his accent wavering distractingly. Nobody plays a charmer like Smith, but Omalu is so stiff and principled as to be practically saintly. Wefirst meet him securing a death-row pardon for an innocent man(this takes seconds); he talks gently to the corpses he cuts open, out of respect for the dead; and he finances extra tests himself when he spots an abnormality in the brain of ruinedNFLstarMike Webster (David Morse) –much to the NFL’s chagrin. Meanwhile, he’s flanked by fellow surgeon/Angry Police Chief Mike O’Malley, who practially asks for his gun and badge, and Noble Mentor Albert Brooks, whotalks only in taglines. Add in Alec Baldwin plusBrits CONCUSSION (M) Starring: WILL SMITH, ALEC BALDWIN, ALBERT BROOKS Director: PETER LANDESMAN 123 minutes ★★ Thewhole thing feels like an outline spun by an ambitious Hollywood executive, rather than anything resembling real life. Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Eddie Marsan, and you have a morethan-capable cast, but alas, not a movie to match. Twitchy camerawork gives everything a cheap,TVfeel; the speechy dialogue is often too close to risible (‘‘I’m not interested in commonsense,’’ barks Marsan, ‘‘I’m interested in science!’’); and the whole thing feels like an outline spun by an ambitious Hollywood executive, rather than anything resembling real life. Will Smith and Alec Baldwin play unlikely allies in Concussion.
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