Kiwi Saver, Mary Holm financial writer and columnist

  Independent and down to earth financial info you can trust
  from Mary Holm, New Zealand's most widely read investment writer

Archives

Read Mary's current Herald column on-line now, listen to recent radio broadcasts, or search the archives for previous subjects in her Herald and syndicated columns or broadcasts.


Banking

The following is a selection of articles and radio broadcasts mainly from January 2005 to the present. To explore this topic in more depth and access earlier columns, please use the search box.

Articles

NZ Herald 25 March 2017

Q&As: A good reason to have a high credit card limit
- One reader fires his bank ...
- ... While another is fiercely loyal
- Why I prefer managed funds over shares for most
- Rules about income for recipients of rest home subsidy

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NZ Herald 4 March 2017

Q&As: Reader has same credit card trouble as last week's correspondent ...
- ... And last week's correspondent finds the remedy doesn't work
- Another reader has a suggestion on credit card limits
- And yet another one says 'Fire your bank'
- Thousands paying too much tax in KiwiSaver
- Know your rights when dealing with financial service providers

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RNZ Radio 2 March 2017

What savers and investors are entitled to

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NZ Herald 11 February 2017

Q&As: The struggle of some beneficiaries
- If you don't like bank's interest payment policy, shop around
- Should couple put all their cash in house deposit, or invest in shares too?

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NZ Herald 4 February 2017

Q&As: How much emergency money, and where should it be invested?
- When it's a good idea to keep your bank at arm's length
- Should young couple buy a home now, or wait and hope on prices and exchange rates?
- Best way to compare KiwiSaver funds

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NZ Herald 28 January 2017

Q&As: Who earns the interest while money moves from bank to bank over holidays?
- What is investment risk? And how to reduce it
- Use savings to pay down mortgage

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NZ Herald 17 December 2016

Q&As: Many reasons why a winning active share fund won't stay on top
- Why do husband and wife's funds perform so differently?
- Offset mortgages more vulnerable than revolving credit loans
- No plans for 2 big banks to follow others with offset mortgages
- Do employers deserve praise for contributing to KiwiSaver?
- Update on proposal to raise NZ Super age

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NZ Herald 15 October 2016

Q&As: Like it or not, retiree didn't directly contribute to NZ Super he now receives
- Buying leasehold property is for high risk takers only
- KiwiSaver first home withdrawal rules much less than grant rules
- Dividends beat bank interest, but riskier

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NZ Herald 1 October 2016

Q&As: Retiree still wants to have fun in the markets
- Whose tax rate should be used on a joint bank account?
- Daughter should bring back house money from the UK gradually
- Which banks now require notice for term deposit early withdrawals?
- Should families get money if a person dies before getting any NZ Super?

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NZ Herald 27 August 2016

Q&As: Who should add a windfall to KiwiSaver, and who shouldn't
- Reader gets fun out of direct share investment
- Was Rabobank included in recent stress tests?
- Is there any point in reader continuing pension contributions?
- Which KiwiSaver funds are 'ethical'

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NZ Herald 23 July 2016

Q&As: Should we bail out of bank accounts if house prices plunge 40 per cent?
- All bank accounts and term deposits affected if a bank fails
- Thanks but no thanks to a suggested video
- Share funds much safer than finance companies were
- 65-pluser should stick with KiwiSaver given employer's generosity

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NZ Herald 31 October 2015

Q&As: 80-year-old is still spending up large
- What happens when bank KiwiSaver providers invest heavily in their own products?
- The complexities of buying an apartment
- Another KiwiSaver provider offers regular withdrawals in retirement
- Auckland housing market not a Ponzi scheme, but how about the Greater Fool theory?

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NZ Herald 8 August 2015

Q&As: Banks shouldn't favour new customers, but reader shouldn't have big credit card debt
- Gold doing OK in NZ dollars, but that's not the point
- Why advisers tend to favour low-risk investments and why they shouldn't
- Banks have a wide range of financial advisers

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NZ Herald 1 August 2015

Q&As: Gold bugs disappear now that their price has plunged
- 2 Q&As about older bank customers getting poor service
- How to judge your financial adviser
- 76-year-old doesn't have to reduce risk

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NZ Herald 25 July 2015

Q&As: Couple's rental property plans riskier than they might think
- What happened at Milford, and how are KiwiSaver members placed?
- Bank adviser may regret lack of interest in man in his 90s
- Hard to be a young, independent adviser

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NZ Herald 18 July 2015

Q&As: Financial advisers fail to give good advice on risk to woman in 20s
- If a bank fails, a percentage of all accounts would be frozen ...
- And only a small amount in transaction accounts would be exempt
- Reader is disappointed that I didn't discuss the tax on gains from property

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NZ Herald 11 July 2015

Q&As: Has reader discovered the secret to beating the share market?
- Could a bank failure lead to cuts in KiwiSaver funds?...
- ... And Bonus Bonds?
- A reader is happy with their adviser
- But another reader dumped the same adviser

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NZ Herald 30 May 2015

Q&As: How should high-saving couple allow for emergency money?
- Will reader's children squeak through and get KiwiSaver kick-start?...
- ... And will another reader's partner?
- Some bank depositors' money at risk if bank gets into trouble
- Shouldn't borrowers be the ones who bail out a bank?

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NZ Herald 23 May 2015

KiwiSaver Kick-start ends
Q&As: Patience needed on new first home KiwiSaver withdrawal rules
- How to get around KiwiSaver guardian rules
- Reader skeptical about Reserve Bank statements

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NZ Herald 16 May 2015

Q&As: Could Auckland house price plunge cause a banking meltdown?
- Single mum can't get daughter into KiwiSaver because of missing father
- Employer shouldn't have signed up 15-year-old to KiwiSaver without parents' consent
- Living on just NZ Super is the high life for this reader

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NZ Herald 14 March 2015

Q&As: Provincial town dwellers better to stick with their house, despite falling prices
- Reader challenges the Reserve Bank's confidence in the banking system
- No you can't withdraw KiwiSaver money on maternity leave, and you should have known that!
- How lending or giving to family could come back and bite you

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NZ Herald 7 March 2015

Q&As: Some ideas better than others for those worried about bank deposits
- Reader scares friends unnecessarily
- How to even out loans to siblings in a will
- "Only thing my girls are getting is an education"

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NZ Herald 28 February 2015

Q&As: Why are NZ banks following the lead of their Aussie parents?
- Should reader spread money over several banks, just in case?
- Two readers have no sympathy for younger daughter in recent Q&A, but ...
- Another reader's idea is more harmonious
- Auckland house prices too high? Try Taupo

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NZ Herald 12 July 2014

Q&As: Could money in a bank-run KiwiSaver be transferred to pay debt owed to the bank?
- No easy way out for reluctant KiwiSaver member
- Could long-ago OE in Australia mean Aussies pick up a New Zealander's pension tab?
- Reader's Australian pension amounts to $1 to $2 a week
- Keeping a list of your jobs is helpful when you later apply for NZ Super
- How to negotiate over buying a precious car

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NZ Herald 10 May 2014

Q&As: Ask your bank for a higher term deposit rate
- How reader got around Genesis Energy share scaling
- Genesis share profits likely to be taxed
- Donate tiny share parcels to charity
- 2 Q&As on advice for woman wondering whether to renovate or sell

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NZ Herald 3 May 2014

Q&As: Do the banks tend to raise term deposit rates as much as mortgage rates?
- Some worries about compulsory KiwiSaver
- Did 'Mum and Dad' investors get a raw deal on Genesis Energy shares?
- An alternative to painting the house - for last week's correspondent

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NZ Herald 22 March 2014

Q&As: 60 is not too old to get a mortgage and buy a first home
- Buying a home is not the only way to financial security
- Don't overlook tax if buying a rental with the aim of selling at a profit
- Want to free up money? Try moving to Tokoroa
- Just one bank and one finance company respond to term deposit challenge

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NZ Herald 15 March 2014

Q&As: Think before investing in a rental with a relative, especially in your 60s
- A challenge to the banks about term deposit comparisons
- Is share brokerage deductible? Be careful what you wish for!
- Couple do really well in KiwiSaver, although it's partly good luck
Money column for March 15 2014

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NZ Herald 8 March 2014

Q&As: Laddering helps with term deposits, and we'll have to learn to live with rule changes
- High-quality bonds an alternative to term deposits
- Can an employee join KiwiSaver without employer involvement?

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NZ Herald 1 March 2014

Q&As: More can be in KiwiSaver than commonly thought
- Banks no help when comparing deposit rates
- Are New Zealanders out of step about the security of home ownership?
- Don't rush to move house when the kids leave home
- Are KiwiSaver fees tax deductable?

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NZ Herald 28 September 2013

Q&As: A bit of risk is good, even if it means having to cut your losses on a rental property
- Sending money to Australia and back, in the hopes of gaining on foreign exchange, is likely to leave reader worse off
- New money laundering rules slow down international transfers of money
- Take note of different interest rates in different countries
- If capital gains are taxed under Labour, will we get a tax break on capital losses?
- What if somebody who adds to their mortgage ends up unable to pay a capital gains tax?

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NZ Herald 6 July 2013

Q&As: Mother and son should probably go for the big trip
- Reader confused - although not unhappy - with student loan rebate
- Update on what's happened to gold and silver prices
- Type of mortgage would matter if bank defaults
- Property and shares more alike than reader thinks
- Diversification the best way
- 2 more KiwiSaver providers that tell members about tax credit

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NZ Herald 29 June 2013

Q&As: Will new OBR policy mean banks can take money out of our savings accounts?
- How risky are our banks?
- Why NZ doesn't insure bank deposits, and bank credit ratings
- KiwiSaver providers that alert members about tax credit top-ups
- Property prices can indeed plunge over mere hours - sometimes

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NZ Herald 2 February 2013

Q&As: Interest-only mortgages have major flaws
- Another - good - approach to reverse mortgages
- Are the banks ripping us off with reverse mortgages?
- Spending certainly didn't decrease for this new retiree
- KiwiSaver contributions flexible

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NZ Herald 17 November 2012

Q&As: Is KiwiSaver the best place to save for a child?
- KiwiSaver is flexible in retirement
- 21st birthday money could be used to repay student loan - and get bonus
- Gains, taxes and prizes
- Another website offers info on banks
- Tell your KiwiSaver provider how well they communicate

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NZ Herald 10 November 2012

Q&As: Best websites for comparing banks
- "Frugal ways die hard"
- Winners of TV show may be in for a nasty tax surprise
- KiwiSaver may not be the best spot for 21st present

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NZ Herald 27 October 2012

Q&As: Fortnightly mortgage payments not all they're cracked up to be
- When the overnight money goes in and out of bank accounts
- How to organize retirement savings
- The downside of using rental property for retirement savings
- Last week's correspondent exaggerated his woes

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NZ Herald 6 October 2012

Q&As: Is now a good time to buy a first home?
KiwiSaver versus mortgage repayment trade-off for self-employed and non-employees
2 Q&As about changes to ANZ mortgage conditions

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NZ Herald 29 September 2012

Q&As: A couple of concerns about buying shares in the company you work for
- Bank's mortgage changes don't look like profiteering
- New graduate shouldn't bypass KiwiSaver
- 3 Q&As about gloomy predictions and investing in gold

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NZ Herald 22 September 2012

Q&As: The hazards of comparing share and property investments
- 4 Q&As on whether we're headed for financial catastrophe
- Who can get the Carer's Benefit, and how much is it?

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NZ Herald 15 September 2012

Q&As: The big question: does the doom merchant use banks?
- Why NZ banks are not beloved
- How couple close to retirement might be able to get a mortgage
- When saving beats repaying a mortgage
- Low-income reader lives a good life
- Housing NZ offers help to retired people too

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NZ Herald 8 September 2012

Q&As: Time to check a reader's challenge about banks and gold
- And let's hear it from the reader himself
- Why 1-person retiree households spend so much less than 2-person households
- Should NZ Super be more for older retired people?
- Income manipulation to get student allowances is now curbed
- Not every reader agrees with aggressive ones

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NZ Herald 26 May 2012

Q&As: Reader dislikes "user pays" attitude and has a message for last week's self-proclaimed bigot
- Volunteers sought for overseas work and adventure
- Why young person who has moved to Australia might want to keep contributing to KiwiSaver
- Rules flexible for overseas KiwiSavers wanting to return to NZ to buy a first home
- A bank seems to be listening

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NZ Herald 17 September 2011

Q&As: What a good ad about KiwiSaver growth should and shouldn't include
- Bank ad doesn't always quite work
- Should 65-year-old worker feel guilty about getting NZ Super?
- Missing pit in last week's picture
- 2 Q&As about KiwiSaver tax credits in the last year of receiving them

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NZ Herald 10 September 2011

Q&As: Older workers don't take jobs away from the young
- There are ways around timing problems with annuities
- Last week's angry correspondent apologises, and asks another question about how safe NZ banks are
- Two readers respond to last week's outburst
- One more "set and forget" KiwiSaver fund

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NZ Herald 3 September 2011

Q&As: Are NZ banks really safe, given what happened in the Great Depression?
- Is it worth spreading your risk by using several banks?
- Credit ratings still worth bothering with, and some thoughts on why readers get angry about gold
- 32-year-old new KiwiSaver should get straight into growth fund

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NZ Herald 27 August 2011

Q&As: Fears about the safety of banks unfounded
- A good idea to spread the family around several KiwiSaver providers
- KiwiSaver member misunderstands why her provider moved her money
- Reader urges me to hold my ground on gold, and to encourage investment in small high-tech companies

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NZ Herald 14 May 2011

Q&As: Foreclosed property seminar reminds me of investment warning lists
- Government's proposed changes don't affect current KiwiSaver decisions
- Do banks lend more than their total deposits?
- Am I brainwashed, and perpetuating myths about family trusts?
- Fair enough that housing is not cheap here, says American who moved to NZ

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NZ Herald 30 April 2011

Q&As: A reader's attempt to recover tax on finance company interest is a nice try, but ...
Wanting less and working less doesn't preclude tall poppies
Creative ideas on how to cut household expenses
Did I get the banking system wrong, or did a reader?
At least one bank - sort of - will lend to share investors

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NZ Herald 23 April 2011

Q&As: Why it takes both partners working to afford a house these days
- Buying a house with a co-owner might prove tricky
- Did I muddle pounds and dollars?
- Big lottery winner would have some negotiating power with a bank - but only so much
- Difficulties of borrowing to invest in shares
- Winners of seminar tickets

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NZ Herald 26 March 2011

Q&As: Where does the money go when a finance company fails?
- How bank mortgage interest rates are set, and how to compare them
- Should a reader switch from a fixed to a floating mortgage?

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NZ Herald 19 March 2011

Q&As: Should it take a bank three weeks to cut its mortgage rates?
- Just how great was one family's "Great Mistake of 2009"?
- Reader tells Mary off for forgetting about the expenses of selling a house
- How couple should invest as they approach retirement

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NZ Herald 5 March 2011

Q&As: Should couple sell their house, and buy again later?
- The high price of not organising your automatic payments well
- When you should and shouldn't repay your student loan quickly - and future prospects
- 2 Q&As on what happens to KiwiSavers when they retire

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NZ Herald 26 February 2011

Q&As: Why 55-year-old Mum shouldn't give up on home ownership
- Important to save a little, even if you have a mortgage, to gain market knowledge over the years
- Banks "are just like car dealers"
- Will below-market share buyer lose it all in tax?

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NZ Herald 29 January 2011

Q&As: 2 Q&As on whether home ownership beats renting whilst saving the difference between the two option.
- 2 Q&As on last week's reader, who dramatically moved her term deposit business to another bank
- How to get your own back through the post - and how not to

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NZ Herald 22 January 2011

Q&As: Tax cutting scheme likely to bring much more wealth to the company than to a reader
- How recipients of below-market share offers can get their own back
- A reader shows her bank just what she thinks of it
- How is our gold price forecaster doing?
- Some help with finding a good financial adviser

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NZ Herald 11 December 2010

Q&As: Earthquake victim faces an old question: whether to invest spare money or repay a loan
- Reader escapes "an endless loop" of credit card payments after using an internet Q&A service
- A "me too" letter raises questions about a bank's policy on fees

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NZ Herald 4 December 2010

Q&As: Bank's handling of a fee inquiry leads customer to switch banks
- One good proverb deserves another
- Should Gareth Morgan Investments be under more scrutiny?
- PLUS Meaningful Christmas gifts

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NZ Herald 27 November 2010

Q&As: What the Savings Working Group is up to, and why
- Have banks been given a fair go in this column?
- Is $8 worth worrying about?

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NZ Herald 20 November 2010

Q&As: Have I been too easy on the banks, or is a reader being too tough?
- Why does it take so long to clear a cheque in this computer age?
- Inland Revenue acknowledges delays in processing student loan bonus payments

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NZ Herald 13 November 2010

Q&As: Online banking timing - which banks do what?
- Bank safe deposit boxes becoming a rarity
- Why the price of gold is more likely to be heading down than up

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NZ Herald 30 October 2010

Q&As: What happens to your money when it seems to disappear for a few days in the bank?
- Flexibility an issue when deciding how to go about repaying a mortgage quickly
- Would gains on the sale of gold or silver be taxable?
- The pros and cons of holding on to gold coin gifts

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NZ Herald 2 October 2010

Q&As: KiwiSaver is not guaranteed by the government - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't join
Is it wise to have your KiwiSaver account with your bank?
Banks said to be "stealing" KiwiSaver members from other providers
Does a reader who is speedily repaying her mortgage need a savings account?

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NZ Herald 25 September 2010

Q&As: Bank securities not quite what a reader was hoping for
The closing of a KiwiSaver scheme hasn't gone as smoothly as hoped, but it's no big deal
First home buyers should invest conservatively in KiwiSaver - plus: a painless time to join KiwiSaver

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NZ Herald 31 July 2010

Q&As: Two readers are unhappy with ASB's closing of some of its investment funds - with some justification, but only "some".
Another reader gives up on reading this column, claiming I am "inside the tent" with the financial industry

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NZ Herald 17 April 2010

Q&As: KiwiSaver fees - and how an article may have misled people
The range of KiwiSaver fees
Is bank cheating a customer on tax withholding rates?
Depreciation usually clawed back when a landlord sells - or is it?
More comments from and about landlords

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NZ Herald 17 October 2009

Q&As: Are preference shares a good investment, despite recent price falls?
Did reader get good advice from an ASB adviser?

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NZ Herald June 6 2009

Q&As: Are rental properties the low-risk way to invest?
How to find out which financial institutions are covered by the government's deposit guarantee scheme
Getting rid of KiwiSaver mortgage diversion was a mercy killing

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NZ Herald March 21 2009

Q&As: Tips for retired couple whose interest income has halved.
Savings accounts may pay more interest than term deposits - but take care.
Tax on foreign shares seems tough in current environment

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NZ Herald February 14 2009

Q&As: The possible perils of parents lending a mortgage to adult children.
Tips on mortgage reduction from a mortgage broker.
How mortgage borrowers could unite to force interest rates down.
2 Q&As on what happens to KiwiSaver money in retirement.

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NZ Herald October 18 2008

Q&As: Everything you need to know about the government's new deposit guarantee scheme.
Under the new scheme, should we move our money from banks to covered finance companies?
Will KiwiSaver still be good for self-employed 62-year-old if National wins the election?
Plus: Readers' views on KiwiSaver

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NZ Herald May 10 2008

Q&As: Grandma will help grandson more by opening her own KiwiSaver account and giving him the savings.
Ultraconservative KiwiSaver funds are as safe as bank accounts, and bring much higher returns.
Is lack of self control more prevalent now than in the past?
Government bonds have their place for the ordinary investor.

Money column for May 10 08

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NZ Herald April 26 2008

Q&As: KiwiSaver the last straw for employer of "whinging, incompetent" New Zealanders
Reserve Bank offers some reassurance for reader worried that NZ banks could be caught up in their foreign parent's woes ...
.... But if you're still worried, consider the safest investments of all, government securities.

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NZ Herald April 12 2008

Q&As: Monkey story a great yarn, but it's not about the share market.
Reader's concerns about banks' exposure to foreign exchange risk are unfounded.
61-year-old should think hard before selling her house and enjoying some of the proceeds.
Man about to retire can still get plenty from KiwiSaver.

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NZ Herald April 12 2008

Q&A: 3 Q&As on whether New Zealand banks are safe, whether it's best to spread your money around several banks, and bank credit ratings.
Should entrepreneurial types stay out of KiwiSaver?

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NZ Herald November 24 2007

Q&As: Eggs in baskets don't really apply to term deposits, but there's another way to diversify.
Taxing options if you take flatmates in to help you pay the mortgage.
2 Q&As on how to make the most of KiwiSaver if you are in and out of the work force.

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NZ Herald September 1 2007

Q&As: How the typical KiwiSaver investment fund differs from a finance company
Would it work for the government to sign a contract that it wouldn't change KiwiSaver over the years?
More winning entries for the KiwiSaver book

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NZ Herald March 24 2007

Q&As: Should we blame the banks for soaring house prices?
2 Q&As on the new fair dividend rate tax on non-Australasian shares - the threshold, and trying to get around the rules
2Q&As on home equity release - lifetime interest rates and break fees if you change your mind

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Holm Truths Spring 06

Mortgage moves: How you can make the big loans work better for you
Also in this issue: From the mailbox - Is it a good idea to increase your mortgage and invest the money elsewhere?

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NZ Herald September 30 2006

This is the final week in which we are running excerpts from Mary Holm's bestselling book, "Get Rich Slow: How to grow your wealth the safe and savvy way." Mary's regular Q&A column will resume next week.

TEACHING THE CHILDREN WELL

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NZ Herald September 2 2006

Q&As: Some options for a whinging woman who can't afford a home.
Is wealthy couple wise to do it themselves when it comes to their investments?
Reader who dislikes "that word" boycotts Toyota.
Getting mean over medians and averages.

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Syndicated column March 28 2006: What we don't know CAN hurt us

One of the first things journalists are taught is to make the first sentence of an article a "grabber", something that will perhaps surprise readers and make them read on.

So this column is officially starting now: Every New Zealander over 65 gets NZ Super, no matter how rich they are.

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NZ Herald March 11 2006

Q&As: A landlord's nightmare.
Credit cards v eftpos.
Optimism, pessismism and oil prices.

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NZ Herald March 4 2006

Q&As: Eftpos v credit cards. And bank fees.
The investment outlook is gloomy, so save!
Wealth doesn't make you happy.

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NZ Herald February 25 2006

Q&As: Is compounding interest over-rated?
Credit cards v eftpos.
How long is long-term? Returns on different assets.

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NZ Herald February 4 2006

Q&As: Man who has made $3 million from shares.
How much risk for a 53-year-old?
How good is advice from banks?

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NZ Herald January 21 2006

Q&As: Shares v term deposits - it depends how much time you have.
Short-of-cash millionaires should try to renegotiate their mortgage.
When is a 2% penalty not 2%?

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NZ Herald January 14 2006

Q&As: Should man, 53, go with bank and seminar rental recommendation?
Young couple ponder buying share of family farm.
should Mary answer all readers' letters?

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NZ Herald December 3 2005

Q&As: Who gets the money when mortgage rates increase?
2 Q&As on whether the tax rate on second jobs is fair.

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Holm Truths spring 05

Kids, cash and cards: Help your children learn about money

Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Saving for the children's future

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NZ Herald May 21 2005

Q&As: Article and follow-up column from last week, on how interest is paid on term deposits, and how not to be ripped off.

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NZ Herald May 14 2005

Front page article and Q&A on how interest is paid on term deposits and how to stop yourself from being ripped off.

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NZ Herald April 2 2005

Q&As: Different banks' policies on early repayment of fixed mortgages.
The man in last week's Q&A could stick with properties.

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Holm Truths summer 03-04

Time is Money: A basic principle that helps you understand investing

Also in this issue: Great Debate - Revolving credit v traditional mortgages

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Holm Truths autumn 03

Emotions and investing: The way we feel affects our investing in ways we are not aware of

Also in this issue: Great Debate - Term deposits v corporate bonds

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Holm Truths autumn 02

Burrowing into borrowing: Buying goods and services using credit cards or hire purchase can hurt your wealth

Also in this issue: Great Debate: Credit cards v EFTPOS

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Holm Truths summer 01-02

Pay yourself first: A way to make it easier to save

Also in this issue: Great Debate - Renting v home ownership

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