Thursday, October 18, 2012

Henderson Poverty Index And Household Expenditure Measure

Have you heard of the HPI (Henderson Poverty Index) or HEM (Household Expenditure Measure)?

HPI and HEM are the living expense amounts that lenders use in their mortgage calculators to see how much you can borrow.

Some home loan lenders have started using the HEM to calculate the maximum size loan you can borrow based on your income. Using HEM in calculations means individuals can borrow more while it's the inverse for couples, that is couples can borrow less when the HEM is used.

When you apply for a mortgage loan, the paperwork will ask you to state your living expenses and how much you spend. With those figures, they will compare it to the appropriate category in the tables below and take the higher figure to use in their mortgage calculators.

Living expenses for single adults

Household Segments HPI HEM
No Dependents $1250 $1105
1 Dependent $1717 $1430
2 Dependents $2159 $1560
3 Dependents $2601 $1889

Living expenses for couples

Household Segments HPI HEM
No Dependent $1817 $2032
1 Dependent $2284 $2583
2 Dependents $2726 $2704
3 Dependents $3168 $3137

If you're single, is $1105 per month sufficient to meet your living expenses?
If you're a couple, is $2032 per month sufficient to meet your living expenses?


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sharing Is Caring: Co-op Websites

Sharing Is Caring

As more and more apartments are built, the traditional concept of houses and neighbourhoods no longer apply.

Apartment dwellers can be faceless and quiet. Sometimes you might bump into a familiar face sharing the lift with you. Some are friendly while some prefer to keep to themselves. Is this a vision of the future or will the sharers and community sort start fighting back to bring community back into our lives?

Children use to play out on the streets together. Neighbours would swap recipes and borrow items that they needed. Nowadays, with the fear about children being kidnapped or injured, the helicopter parents who hover over their kids, the bustling lives that we lead, the long hours that folks work and all the technological gadgets that keep us voluntarily addicted indoors, we no longer socialise as much with our neighbours.

If you ran out of sugar, which one of you readers would feel comfortable enough to knock on your neighbours door and borrow sugar? If you were going away on holiday, would you be comfortable enough to give your house keys to your neighbour to help with tasks such as feeding the dog and watering the plants? If you have a child, do you feel confortable enough to ask them to mind your child for 30 minutes while you pick up something from the local shops?

It's no wonder that social sharing through swapping and community gardens are making such a comeback. There are folks out there who wish to engage in sharing, renting, borrowing, bartering and giving their stuff away for free. They wish to reconnect with their local neighbourhood, to help and be helped in return should they ever need help.

Sharing Can Be Financially and Environmentally Smart

By sharing or giving away items that you no longer need you can reduce land fill. Sharing items you don't use frequently or simply trading your skills for someone else's skills are ways that you can be environmentally friendly whilst also saving you some money.

Sites Where You Can Share
  • Neighbourhood sharing:
  • Sharing work spaces:
  • Travelling:
  • House swaps:
  • Social lending to peer groups:
  • Trading sites where you can buy or get stuff for free: or
 Just a reminder to be wary and be diligent. Where there is kindness and generosity...dodgy people are lured out to take advantage of innocent, genuine folks...caveat emptor and sharers beware.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fashion Entrepreneur: Net-a-Porter Natalie Massenet

If you've never heard of Massenet, then you may have heard of the luxury fashion site Net-a-Porter that was sold in 2010 for 350 million pounds, netting Massenet 50 million pounds for her share. Massenet is the founder of the elite fashion shopping site.

Daughter of a US journalist and English model, wife of an investment banker and just 34 years old when she leapt into the world of online retailing back in the early dotcom days of 2000. Graduate of U.C.L.A and former fashion editor.

Net-a-Porter has been designed as such that the value of sales and the location can be viewed immediately by staff. Online shopping sales spikes on rainy days, during lunch times, after 9pm and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays because new stocks are released on those three days. During the early years of operations, she talks of "desperate hand wringing, tears and pleading with brands".
 Massenet says, "You'd go all the way through a pitch and say: 'And then you can click and buy it from pictures and it's delivered anywhere in the world.' And they'd listen and they'd nod and then afterwards they'd say: 'Just tell me one more thing: where is your store?' "

Massenet is a proponent of positive thoughts and how it can influence your life, "the power of your thoughts can influence how events turn out. I’m a positive person—when bad things happen, I can see the silver lining. As a result I think I’m very lucky, even though I probably have as much bad luck as anyone else, and that translates into seeing opportunity."

Unlike other businesses that struggled through the financial crisis starting in 2008, Net-a-Porter experienced meteoric growth. From 2008, they increased their staff head count from 600 to 2000 and turnover increased by over 60%.

Despite the troubles that Massenet encountered in the beginning, together with her partner Quinn, they believed in their idea and their concepts. What they have now with Net-a-Porter is a leading, luxury shopping portel with editorials from famous names in the publishing field such as Lucy Yeoman, previously editor of Harpers Bazaar.

1. SMH Money

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Importance Of Sleeping

There's so much to do, watch, see and read and not enough time in the day right?

You may have heard about how important sleep is right? Every now and again, I struggle to fall asleep so sleeping tips are really useful.

Rapid eye movement, commonly abbreviated to REM, is deepest during the first four hours of sleep. REM and dreaming are very important because it assists in developing memory consolidation. A person sleeping for 8 hours has more REM than one who sleeps for only 5 hours.

However, we can 'survive' on 90 minutes sleep because that is one full sleep cycle. If you can sleep for up to eight hours each night then you can get the benefits of five sleeping cycles.

There are three main categories of insomnia.

1. Transient insomnia- ranges from a few days to a few weeks. Triggered by environmental factors such as noise and temperature
2. Acute insomnia- ranges to a few weeks and can be triggered by anxiety, worries and stress
3. Chronic insomnia-lasting a few years and is dangerous because it impacts on health, safety and quality of life

According to the Women's Health magazine study on sleep, 25% of us sleep for only six hours or less each night. In 2009, one of their surveys found that 44% of Australians had insomnia in the six months period leading up to the survey.

There have been plenty of studies done on sleeping patterns and its effect on us and on lab animals. The University of Chicago conducted a study that involved keeping rats awake. It took two weeks for all of them to die. (Why are we still being cruel to animals for something like this?!).

There was a 17 year old boy in the US who stayed awake for just over 18 days and by then he was suffering a range of symptoms such as "hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech, memory and concentration lapses."#

Other health issues resulting from poor sleep or lack of sleep are diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, inflammation issues (arthritis and bowel disesaes), anxiety, obesity, mental illnesses and depression.

If you're having difficulties getting to sleep, there are some useful techniques that can be utilised:

* Wake up at the same time in the morning so that your body will be eager to tell you to go to bed at night
* If you're having trouble falling asleep, don't lie in bed, get up and read or do something that doesn't involve watching TV and you will get sleepy again
* Try not to use sleeping pills because they reduce your confidence in your natural ability to fall asleep
* Sleep when you're tired and don't wait until you're finished doing whatever it is you wanted to do
* No TV, mobile phones or computers at least for one hour before bedtime, they both expose our brains to 'blue light' which suppresses the release of melatonin, the hormone which tells our body when to sleep
* You would rather be a little cool than too hot
* Don't worry yourself over not being able to sleep. The US National Sleep Foundation's study concluded that, "poor sleepers will often think they've been awake when in fact they've been asleep"
* If you're a worrywort, then write down all the list of things you have to do and the worries that are plaguing you before you go to bed and then it may cut down the time you spend in bed thinking about those issues

Bonne nuit...

#Womens Health, August 2010

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Who Has A Weekly Spending Challenge?

How much do you spend weekly? Have you ever recorded exactly how much you spent each week? Daily? On simply food or on everything?
Fiona Lippey, co-author of The $21 Challenge and creator of the popular money management site for households, Simple Savings started trying to save over a decade ago.

She realised how much she spent on food and has been cutting back accordingly. I couldn't survive on $21 a week unless I dumpster dived or ate a cabbage diet. Even if I did either of those options, it wouldn't last long because neither options are inherently attractive.

Good ideas that you can extract from her ideas are to make a list of everything you have in your pantry and your fridge categorising which food items can be used now, later or must be thrown out. After you've done that, you can start planning your meals on what you already have.

Our pantry is full of food and ingredients. Occasionally I open up our pantry and pull up a few items and leave them out, intending to cook them in the forthcoming weekly meals. Planning meals aggressively have never been part of my lifestyle but maybe I should try the technique so that I don't end up throwing out food and ingredients that expire uneated and unused.

Maybe we should all take a look at our pantry and fridge today and see what meals are lurking in there without having to stock up...