Ask Kernel your Money Question

Have you been wondering something about money? We’re here to help! Ask us any money or investing question and get a personal response from our team.

Kernel originally ran this campaign during Sorted’s Money Week to such success, we want to continue the conversation.

Click here to ask your question

Who are we?

Check out the video below and we’ll tell you.

What are people asking.

See some of the previous money questions that Kiwi’s around NZ are wondering.


What is the going rate for pocket money? Should children be made to work for it or be given it to learn about money, and then learn to help around the house out of the kindness of their hearts? - Suze


What a great question! Ruth from The Happy Saver writes about ways to teach kids about money and investment. Pocket money without having to do anything is similar to welfare and should be discouraged. It is more about learning that money is transactional, so providing effort can be financially rewarded.


How do I choose between two funds that offer similar investments but vary on fees? Do I just go with the cheapest? - John


While fees are important, it is the investor’s overall return that really matters. This means looking at net returns (so returns after fees) of each fund to compare how well they are doing.


I'm trying to save for a house deposit, but with interest rates as low as they are do we bother putting money into term deposits or should we be looking at a managed fund or index fund to help boost our savings? - Stacey


Great question and a common one at the moment. It all depends on when you are buying that house or when you need the money back! It’s a concept called investment horizon, which we have written about on the blog. With a low risk investment such as a term deposit, if interest rates or inflation rises, those can prove to be poor investments, but your funds are secure. With a higher risk investment such as shares, your return will be higher in the long run but fluctuate in the short term.


How much can I have in three years' time if l start my investment at $10,000? - Mark


This question is like 'how long is a piece of string' - it depends on so many factors! What you're investing in, are you regularly investing, what fees you're paying, are you changing your investments frequently? You can test out various returns assumptions with something like a compounding calculator - but it's important to note that returns are not linear. This means that although one may assume an 'average' rate of return for equities is 7% p.a. - the return will not be 7% every year. Some years it will be negative and other years it may be 15%. We put together this calculator that uses real historical returns data to look at that scenario. You can edit the start investment amount and see how much that would grow to over different time periods.


I invest $350 per fortnight into my portfolio, rather than doing one lump sum. Is this the best way to cope with current sharemarket instability? - Henry


You have the right idea here that this is definitely a good strategy for riding out market instability. If you haven't read it already, this is a really good case study on how investing regularly is the best strategy, rather than being concerned with market movements.


Should I invest or pay off my mortgage or both? I'm in no hurry to repay my mortgage quickly as possible. - Ricky


Could you still afford the payments if interest rates were 2% higher? If not, the additional money might be better in the house as a buffer. Otherwise, we are generally a fan of diversifying your investments, i.e. not having all your wealth tied up in the one house/asset.


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Our Team.

Dean Anderson
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Stephen Upton
 Chief Operating Officer
Catherine Emerson
Marketing & Customer Strategy

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After spending a number of years in the financial services industry, Dean realised that investment options needed to improve and investors deserve better. Taking a fresh approach to the investment sector, he created Kernel – a digital wealth solution where innovation meets investment.

On the back of five years as Head of Product at a large ETF provider; he is an expert at creating, launching and developing index funds. Prior to that, Dean worked at the NZX specialising in data products, licensing and contracts.

Dean is committed to helping ambitious individuals achieve financial freedom through the creation of innovative financial products. He understands the investor challenge and is on a mission to change the financial future of millions.

A self-described “mainlander”, Dean and his partner enjoy regularly exploring NZ, visiting friends and family, and sampling Auckland’s great eateries.

Connect with Dean here.

Stephen is Kernel’s Chief Operating Officer. He leads our investment operations and management of Kernel’s technology, communication and information requirements.

As the former Chief Operating Officer for a large NZ fund manager, he oversaw six managed investment schemes. Prior to that, Stephen lived overseas for 10 years, mainly residing in Switzerland, and working for multi-national banks Citi and UBS.

Stephen holds an MBA from the University of Cambridge in England, as well as a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and the CIMA Professional qualification in Management Accounting.

Stephen, his wife and two kids live on Waiheke Island and as a major sports fan, he is the Chairperson of Touch NZ.

Connect with Stephen here.

As Head of Marketing and Customer Strategy, Cat manages Kernel’s marketing and customer success teams. Cat is most passionate about ensuring her generation understand how to design their finances to achieve their life goals.

Originally from Melbourne, Cat moved to Auckland in 2017, previously working at financial advice firms in the high net worth space. She understands first hand goals based advice and the challenges new investors face.

Since moving, Cat embraced a digital nomad life, working as a Strategic Adviser for a Melbourne millennial-focused advice firm. Cat holds a B.Com, a Diploma of Financial Services and has completed the Certified Financial Planner course.

Cat and her husband enjoy travelling the world, hosting dinner parties and hanging out with their family and fur-baby.

Connect with Cat here.

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