One Question Quiz
a woman doing yoga with an apple for a head and mountains in the background with green and read 'the cots of being' grid pattern in the background
Image: Tina Tiller

SocietyApril 27, 2023

The cost of being: A multi-property owner in Wānaka

a woman doing yoga with an apple for a head and mountains in the background with green and read 'the cots of being' grid pattern in the background
Image: Tina Tiller

As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, a 60-something Central Otago woman with three houses breaks down her budget.

Gender: Female

Age: In my 60s

Ethnicity: NZ European

Role: I manage a private business, 3-5 hours per week of voluntary work

My living location is: Wānaka

Rent/Mortgage per week: Currently $2,000 per week (for a couple) renting a friend’s holiday home, but own three properties (two mortgage-free).

Student loan or other debt payments per week: None

Any major upcoming costs: $15,000 for two week overseas winter holiday for two people.

Typical weekly food costs

For two people, plus any house guests.

Groceries: $300

Eating out: $300

Takeaways: Rarely

Cafe coffees/snacks: $100


My partner and I have net wealth in excess of $30m.

I worry about money: Never, except in the sense that our children have too much.

Three words to describe my financial situation would be: Wealthy; Privileged; Lucky

My biggest edible indulgence would be: Organic fruit

In a typical week my alcohol expenditure would be: I don’t drink, but will take a bottle of wine ($40-60) when invited to dinner.

In a typical week my transport expenditure would be: $30 (I have an electric car)

The ballpark amount I spent on my personal clothing in the last year: $1,500

My most expensive clothing in the past year was: a cashmere sweater for $400

My last pair of shoes cost: $150 (on-sale sneakers)

My grooming/beauty expenditure includes: basic haircuts, occasional leg waxes and pedicures. And the annual cost would be: about $700

My exercise expenditure in a year is about: $10,000 (golf and gym memberships, ski pass, yoga) plus $5,000 for associated equipment/lessons/personal trainer.

My last Friday night cost: $0

Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months: was uncomfortable shoes from a second hand shop.

Most indulgent purchase in the last 12 months: Art

One area where I’m a bit of a tightwad is: Hotel accomodation

Five words to describe my financial personality would be: Experienced, informed, aware, value-based.

I grew up in a house where money was: Respected but not flaunted. In the early days of our business it was very tight but we knew ultimately that it would come right. In the last few years we’ve seen a vast increase in our wealth – from property values increasing, from managed fund portfolios and private investments. Wealth begets wealth has certainly been true for us. And the other thing is that we realistically are both going to inherit money over the next few years from our elderly parents as we both grew up in reasonably well-off families. The impact of all this wealth on my everyday spending I think is subtle – sometimes I think “I will buy that $12 pie at the posh bakery because I can afford it” but I get annoyed if it’s not very, very good. We don’t have a holiday house or a boat as we don’t think those things are worth the money to us, but we do have two dogs which are also expensive but are very worth it.

The last time my Eftpos card was declined was: It happens occasionally when I’m moving funds around and forget a payment is coming out.

In five years, in financial terms, I see myself: Probably wealthier

I would love to have more money for: N/A

Describe your financial low: The global financial crisis (GFC) in 2008 was one of great uncertainty and stress. It seemed at the time that the world’s financial systems could really collapse. As it turned out, the money that was pumped into the system benefited us, just as it did through Covid, with property prices and investments having big increases for many years. So, for those who could hang in there, it turned out very well. I do know people that lost a lot in finance company collapses but at that stage we were investing in property.

I give money away to: Local conservation initiatives and youth causes.

Keep going!