Kiwi Saver, Mary Holm financial writer and columnist

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  from Mary Holm, New Zealand's most widely read investment writer

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Borrowing

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 3 June 2017

Q&As: Is mortgage interest as 'dead' as rent?
- $1 million needed in retirement, says reader ...
- ... But here's how you can do well with half that

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RNZ Radio 27 April 2017

Investment risks - Part 1

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NZ Herald 11 March 2017

Q&As: Mum objects to teenager being offered credit card
- Newish Code places more responsibility on lenders
- Another reader has trouble extending credit card limit
- Help for people struggling to pay rates

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NZ Herald 25 February 2017

Q&As: Questions to ask before parents lend mortgage money to their children
- Determined couple pay down big mortgage fast
- Bank's reluctance to extend credit card limit is surprising
- Tax adviser thinks tax should have been mentioned last week

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NZ Herald 3 September 2016

Q&As: Should student earn interest while running up student loan?
- Freebies for shareholders left some the worse for wear
- Deduction of Canadian pension from NZ Super seems fair
- Another ethical KiwiSaver fund
- Show Me The Money Week about to start

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NZ Herald 20 August 2016

Q&As: Borrowing to invest in shares raises risk - and rewards
- Buying shares directly versus using a KiwiSaver fund
- Reader shouldn't worry that KiwiSaver first home withdrawal will stop

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RNZ Radio 4 August 2016

Clever and not-so-clever moves with mortgages

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NZ Herald 11 June 2016

Q&As: Adding to already huge mortgages is playing with fire
- It's not interest rates but mortgage size that matters
- Lack of family communication leads to big debt ...
- ... so do pushy credit card providers

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NZ Herald 28 May 2016

Q&As: 'Ripped off' reader should shop around rather than dropping life insurance
- How to judge a KiwiSaver fund
- Start small, and keep going
- Help for woman with $100,000 in credit card debt

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NZ Herald 21 May 2016

Q&As: Rates postponement a good option for couple
- Fraud investigator writes about scams ...
- ... And so does a victim
- Vanguard not the only US index fund option

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RNZ Radio 21 April 2016

Good borrowing: How gearing boosts returns - and losses

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NZ Herald 19 March 2016

Q&As: Alternative for daughter trying to escape bad debt - pay up
- Is emphasis on total shareholder return justified?
- Inflation calculator shows what prices have risen, and what haven't
- Is this reader ready to retire?
- Struggling retiree questions wealthier reader's concerns

Money column for March 19 2016

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Radio NZ 4 February 2016

Listeners' questions on setting financial priorities

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NZ Herald 12 December 2015

Q&As: Reader worries about borrowers on peer-to-peer lending site Harmoney
- Another possible meaning for "freehold"
- Should windfall go on buying a rental or mortgage repayment?
- Insurance advisers respond to critical report

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Radio NZ 15 October 2015

Mortgages

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NZ Herald 22 August 2015

Q&As: Banks give teenagers credit too easily
- Credit union offers lower-interest deal to credit card borrowers
- Retiree "invests in people"
- 55-year-old spending while she's able
- Financial adviser struggles with how others do it

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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 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 2 May 2015

Q&As: How to persuade 20-somethings to stick with KiwiSaver
- An offer too good to not miss
- Get legal advice when lending to adult children
- Can bankruptcy distribution be undone?
- Last week's picture was misleading

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NZ Herald 18 April 2015

Q&As: How some can get round the single KiwiSaver provider rule
- Borrowing lots to buy rentals not the way out for reader's parents
- Should couple bring property money back from Australia or wait for a better exchange rate?
- Another provider offers unhedged KiwiSaver growth fund
- Lawyer not recommending against using a lawyer

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NZ Herald 28 March 2015

Q&As: 'No' on deductions but 'yes' on student loan for teen entrepreneur
- Clarification on KiwiSaver fees for children
- Doesn't performance matter more than fees?
- Give or lend to adult children when they need it, not when you die

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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 14 February 2015

Q&As: How to let both daughters in on the deal
- Did "holidaying" KiwiSaver miss out?
- Could KiwiSaver money be grabbed because hubby's running up debts?
- Student loan repayments can continue into retirement
- Some tips for last week's separated woman

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NZ Herald 29 November 2014

Q&As: Do landlords take advantage of others less fortunate?
- How KiwiSaver members are protected from losing their money
- Inland Revenue got it wrong last week about interest deductions on family loans
- Meaningful Christmas gifts

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NZ Herald 22 November 2014

Q&As: The pros and cons of investing in several rental properties
- An employer can contribute any amount above 3% of pay into a KiwiSaver account
- Who owns the shares when you invest through a nominee, and does it matter?
- Was I wrong last week about tax deductibility in a family loan?

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NZ Herald 15 November 2014

Q&As: Are older people greedy? Is this question worth worrying about?
- What does "return" mean in KiwiSaver
- Is interest on family loans taxable?
- Reality strikes after parents lend to student son

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NZ Herald 8 November 2014

Q&As: Early Brierley investment brings back memories of 1987
- Reader and I disagree on share market performance - and who reads this column!
- Family loan suggestion 1: put it in borrower's will
- Family loan suggestion 2: put it in lender's will
- Family loan suggestion 3: borrower should try elsewhere first
- Why KiwiSaver Fund Finder idea wouldn't work

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NZ Herald 1 November 2014

Q&As: Comparing KiwiSaver and similar non-KiwiSaver funds from the same provider
- A reader offers some tough rules for family gifts or loans to students
- Keep others in the know about family loans
- Misunderstandings about children and KiwiSaver

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NZ Herald 25 October 2014

Q&As: Some rules for lending to family members
- KiwiSaver provider not taking Warren Buffett's advice about share trading
- A reader wonders where her KiwiSaver contributions have gone

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NZ Herald 30 November 2013

Q&As: Should people be forced to put some of their KiwiSaver money into an annuity?
- Highly leveraged property investing is risky
- An investor in both puts some perspective on shares versus property
- Meaningful Christmas gifts

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NZ Herald 23 November 2013

Q&As: Gear both or neither when comparing shares and property
- Tip for bankrupt couple: low-paid retail work has its rewards
- New KiwiSaver tool helps you work out your risk level
- Retirement date not the key factor in choice of KiwiSaver fund

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NZ Herald 19 October 2013

Q&As: Is there life after bankruptcy?
- Tax on KiwiSaver not as bad as portrayed
- Pay highest interest mortgages and other loans first
- One reader dislikes my comment on grammar, but three support it

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NZ Herald 25 May 2013

Q&As: Easier to borrow to invest in property than shares, but that's not always a plus
- Tax on international shares is different, but not necessarily worse
- Anti-KiwiSaver reader gives me all the more reason to write about KiwiSaver

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NZ Herald 20 April 2013

Q&As: Two readers warn about trying to control children's inheritances
- Do adult children expect an inheritance these days?
- A bit of confusion over KiwiSaver and tax
- Two readers' ideas on rethinking student loans

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NZ Herald 26 January 2013

Q&As: Beneficiary can do well with KiwiSaver - with help from a Buddy
- Elderly couple shocked at how fast reverse mortgage is growing
- Should reverse mortgage interest rates be lower?

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Syndicated column 2 June 2012 - Let's educate our way out of 500%+ loans

When I first saw "Annual interest rate 547.50%" on a New Zealand website offering loans, I thought there'd been a mistake. But no. That's the rate for a small, short-term cash loan from www.savemybacon.co.nz.

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NZ Herald 5 May 2012

Q&As: Reader could do with a re-think
- Economist calls for in-depth look at NZ Super
- Easy way to make KiwiSaver contributions
- Should we use KiwiSaver money to repay student loans?
- How about starting to charge interest on student loans?
- 3 readers remember what tertiary tuition fees were like in their day

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NZ Herald 14 April 2012

Q&As: Should reader buy a NZ house now - while still overseas - or later?
- 3 readers' varying views on student loans
- 2 readers seem to be a bit muddled about the new KiwiSaver tax credit

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NZ Herald 7 April 2012

Q&As: Best ways to play the KiwiSaver game if you are an employee with a mortgage
- 2 readers argue - convincingly - with my comments last week on student loan repayment
- Why a reader changed her attitude to repaying her children's student loans

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NZ Herald 31 March 2012

Q&A: Students get a good deal by world standards, and shouldn't dodge student loan repayments
How come the bonds in a balanced KiwiSaver fund report losses?
Winning the tax game if you have a home and a rental property
Where to get free budget advice

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Syndicated column 24 March 2012 - How to join the new debt cutting trend

We're all living through three "great transitions", said the keynote speaker at a recent conference. One transition is from West to East - with the growing emphasis on China and India, another is from analog to digital, and the third is from debt to saving. Let's look more at that third transition.

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NZ Herald 4 February 2012

Q&As: Most people still get their money doubled in KiwiSaver, or close to that ...
- ... And no, KiwiSaver is not self-funded by members
- What happens in April 2013 to KiwiSavers who pay their own employer contributions
- Good and bad employers and KiwiSaver
- A little book that says it all - almost

Money column for February 4 2012

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Syndicated column 3 December 2011 - Columnist is wrong - mortgage repayment is well worth it

Contrarian investing - when you put your money into investments that most people are getting out of - sometimes works well. Such investments are usually cheap. But should we extend that to borrowing when most others are repaying debt?

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Syndicated column 27 August 2011 - Bridging the gap between those who want to borrow and those who have to

There were times when I felt distinctly uncomfortable at the government's recent Financial Summit to discuss what should be done about loan sharks.

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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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Syndicated column 29 January 2011 - Turning interest into your friend

New Zealanders are, apparently, a fairly satisfied bunch - except when it comes to our financial situation. But maybe that's not such a bad thing.

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Syndicated column 17 November 2009 - It pays to know how numbers grow

The recent fuss over food price rises shows how little feel many New Zealanders have for the power of compounding numbers. And that lack of knowledge could harm them when borrowing and investing.

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Syndicated column 14 July 2009 - Recession could be a blessing for most

The response to a question in a recent survey bothered me a little. Asked what they would do with a $10,000 cash windfall, 54.3 per cent of the respondents said they would pay off debt or save the money - down from 58.3 per cent three months earlier.

It's not exactly a huge drop. But I was hoping for a substantial increase.

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Syndicated column March 24 2009 - You can indeed go wrong with bricks and mortar

I first heard people saying, "You can't go wrong with bricks and mortar" years ago, when I lived in the US. I bet the saying isn't quite as common there these days, now that millions of people have, indeed, lost huge amounts because of property.

Yet we still hear that untrue "truism" in New Zealand. And in the last few weeks, as some people are trying to convince us that the house price slump is over, it keeps popping up.

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NZ Herald March 7 2009

Q&As: Don't try to time markets. Stick with your regular retirement savings, although you may want to modify where you save.
Teen's worries are unfounded about how Dad's income would affect KiwiSaver first home subsidy - but other subsidy issues still undecided.
Tax-wise, it's better to borrow for taxable activities than to buy a family home.
Plus: Clarification on the taxation of interest on loans between family members.

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NZ Herald February 21 2009

Q&As: Terminally ill reader should get his money out of KiwiSaver and eat, drink and be merry.
Reader on invalids benefit can benefit from joining KiwiSaver - and an obliging friend could make it work better for both of them.
Many employee KiwiSavers will be better off reducing their contributions to 2 per cent after April 1 - but not all.
Lending within the family can get complicated when it comes to withholding tax on interest.

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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 November 29 2008

Q&As: Repaying a mortgage - on a home or rental property - almost always better than saving with term deposits.
KiwiSaver works well for children.
3 Q&As on charitable Christmas giving.

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NZ Herald August 30 2008

Q&As: A poem from the past shows how our attitudes to debt have changed. Will they change back again?
Reader wonders how long she has to wait for the government to change the law about employer KiwiSaver contributions

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NZ Herald March 29 2008

Q&As: Do Blue Chip, finance company and other investment victims deserve what's happened?
2 Q&As on "nicer" ways to invest than rental property.
Electronic tax payment problems not common.

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NZ Herald November 17 2007

Q&As: Why don't banks lend money for share investment?
2 Q&As on how you can best help your grandchildren (or children) into KiwiSaver
Christmas gifts for those who really need them

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NZ Herald October 20 2007

THE OTHER B WORD

Budgeting is rather like eating healthily or exercising. Some people like to do it, but for others it's a chore. And for many it's a source of guilt. They think they should do it, but they don't.

This article could be yet another telling the laggards how they will be much better people if they keep track of all their spending. But that's hardly likely to make any more difference than other such articles.

As poet Robert Frost wrote: "Nobody was ever meant, to remember or invent, what he did with every...

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NZ Herald March 31 2007

Q&As: Have you got what it takes to borrow to invest in a share fund?
How frequent traders in international shares will be taxed under the new rules.
How Inland Revenue might catch property traders.

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Syndicated column March 6 2007: Digging your way out of the big hole

You're never in debt so deep that you can't get out again. At least one reader of this column will be reassured by this message from Raewyn Fox, chief exec of the Federation of Family Budgeting Services.

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NZ Herald March 3 2007

Seeking your questions about KiwiSaver
Q&As: Are home equity release (HER) schemes - which lend to retired people with homes but little income - a rip-off?
Sentinel defends its HER schemes, but they are still expensive compared with possible alternatives.

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Syndicated column February 3 2007: Help for those in debt

Repaying high-interest debt is sometimes called the best investment. And there's a way to do it that, I suspect, many people don't know about.

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NZ Herald July 15 2006

Q&As: Lessons from the Bible: Is borrowing bad?
Is luck or attitude the secret to wealth?
Sharebrokers shouldn't always be expected to give ongoing advice.

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Holm Truths autumn 06

Stuff and happiness: Buying things you don't really need

Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Should a young man buy himself a house?

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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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Syndicated column November 15 2005: Borrowing is not all bad - it depends why we borrow

Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard has been telling us off because we keep raising our mortgage debt. But, from the individual's point of view, how bad is that? It depends on why we borrow.

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Syndicated column November 1 2005: Borrowing tricky between family or friends

A quote recently caught my eye. "The easiest way to teach children the value of money is to borrow some from them," it said.

But that applies not only to children. Adults, it seems, take much more notice when someone has borrowed from them than when someone has lent to them.

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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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Syndicated column September 20 2005: Wellington and Christchurch dwellers big spenders and risk takers

So much for Aucklanders' image as the big spenders, risk takers and owers of debt!

Wellington and Christchurch dwellers are more inclined to put some of their savings into high-risk, high-return investments than Aucklanders, a recent survey shows.

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Holm Truths autumn 04

'His & Hers' investment styles - How gender affects the way we invest

Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Borrowing to invest, eg in a rental property

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Holm Truths winter 02

Getting into gear: Borrowing to invest makes a good investment better and a bad investment worse

Also in this issue: Great Debate - Fixed v floating mortgages

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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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