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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Psychology of Money

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 12 August 2017

Q&As: 47-year-old in strong position on house market sidelines
- Tips from an expert on getting the best type of mortgage
- Questions about KiwiSaver not dumb
- Money Week coming up

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RNZ Radio 15 June 2017

Investment risks - Part 4: Ups and downs in investments, emotions and fees

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RNZ Radio 30 March 2017

Gender and Investing

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RNZ Radio 24 November 2016

One person's take on the Fraud Film Festival:

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RNZ Radio 1 September 2016

How emotional thinking can get in the way of good investing

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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 25 June 2016

Q&As: Don't count on house price rises - and it may be better to keep renting
- Couple need to make up their mind about buying vs renting
- KiwiSaver providers occasionally slip up on claiming tax credits

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RNZ Radio 23 June 2016

Spending too little, spending too much

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NZ Herald 30 April 2016

Q&As: The richest ones don't look rich
- Why index share fund fees are higher in NZ
- Another way to invest in Smartshares
- Why NZ investors are hit particularly hard by inflation

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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 28 January 2016

Setting financial priorities

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Radio NZ 10 December 2015

How overconfidence can make you poorer (and other psychological aspects of investing)

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NZ Herald 5 December 2015

Q&As: A few phone calls can slash hundreds from insurance bills
- We're not all bad, says insurance adviser
- "Freehold" doesn't mean mortgage-free, and beware of leasehold property
- Reasons for Auckland house price rise don't rule out bubble
- Meaningful Christmas gifts

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NZ Herald 24 October 2015

Q&As: Is greed behind Auckland house price rises?
- Apartment or unit? Go with what you prefer
- Rental property not a good way to invest her inheritance
- Individual shares or a share fund?

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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 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 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 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 28 June 2014

Q&As: Car buying decisions not always rational
- Should young man invest in Fiji, buy a house, or neither?
- Why it takes so long to process KiwiSaver contributions
- When must self-employed make employer contributions to KiwiSaver?
- I will try to run more non-KiwiSaver Q&As
- Last week's picture offends a reader

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NZ Herald 25 January 2014

Q&As: Time for over-savers to spend on fun experiences - but still save some
- 65+ man's KiwiSaver plans overly optimistic
- All guardians must sign before children join KiwiSaver - which seems unfair
- How to judge a KiwiSaver fund's volatility using fund finder

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NZ Herald 14 December 2013

Q&As: Wisdom for bankrupt couple from one who has been there
- How to find ethical funds in the KiwiSaver Fund Finder
- Dangerous issue with last week's picture
- Stop tampering with KiwiSaver
- Last column of the year and thanks to correspondents

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NZ Herald 7 December 2013

Q&As: The problem with do-it-yourself annuities
- Employee super schemes still offer annuities
- How new tool helps you choose a KiwiSaver provider
- 3 Q&As give advice to bankrupt couple from those who have been there

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NZ Herald 21 September 2013

Q&As: Dripfeed money when moving it from country to country
- Home exemption from capital gains tax applies to farmhouses but not farms
- Should people overseas be allowed to use KiwiSaver money to repay student loans?
- Is prostitution just another job?
- Sex worker's letter makes a reader weep
- Escaping the trap of over-valuing money

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NZ Herald 3 August 2013

Q&As: Reader's shareholding success probably more luck than skill
- There'll always be renters, but that doesn't mean we have to love landlords
- Property investors with big debt take big risk - and why do they brag?
- Older workers do take jobs from the young to some extent
- KiwiSaver contributions not taken from redundancy pay
- On quitting KiwiSaver to start a business

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NZ Herald 16 March 2013

Q&As: Student loan question brings out the differences in a couple's attitudes to money
- 2 Q&As about making use of the student loan repayment bonus - which expires on March 31 - while students are still studying
- Clarification of some tricky wording about student loans
- A warning for couples: Relationship property agreements should not be DIY

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Syndicated column 16 February 2013 - Financial misbehaviour disappointing

Ironically, a survey on New Zealanders' financial behaviour was released just days before Christmas - a time of much financial misbehaviour, when everyone's saying, "I don't care what it costs, I've just got to buy something for Uncle Fred."

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NZ Herald 24 November 2012

Q&As: Lessons from a bad managed fund investment
- An older reader's tips on money and life
- Do parents commit their children to KiwiSaver if they sign them up?
- Meaningful Christmas giving

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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 25 August 2012

Q&As: 3 readers are upset about morality and student loan repayment strategies
- Is it better to take advantage of the student loan repayment bonus, while it lasts?
- Low retirement spending figures challenged

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NZ Herald 18 August 2012

Q&As: New research helps to answer whether couple in early 50s should worry about how much they are saving
- KiwiSaver funds won't be the next finance companies
- Should young man overseas repay his student loan?

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NZ Herald 28 July 2012

This week and next week, this column will publish excerpts from a small book Mary Holm has written for the Reserve Bank called "Upside, downside: A guide to risk for savers and investors". It will be given away free to the public in September. This column will tell you how to get a copy then. Today's excerpts include an overview and an example of one type of risky investor behaviour. Next week we will publish further examples.

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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 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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Syndicated column 5 May 2012 - How the lolly choice has changed

The economists have given up on the idea, and it's time the rest of us did too. I'm talking about making financial decisions based only on the cold hard facts and numbers, and not taking into account emotional and psychological factors.

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NZ Herald 17 March 2012

Q&As: No clear-cut answer on whether's it's better to slash debt or save for Christmas
- The best way to make use of the student loan repayment bonus
- Student loan holder living overseas is foolish to ignore his loan
- What's the point?

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Syndicated column 10 March 2012 - Men don't have a monopoly on financial ability

New Zealand women are less confident about their finances than men, a recent survey suggests. Should they be?

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NZ Herald 3 December 2011

Q&As: Is share buying just for the elite?
KiwiSaver first home buyer strikes a hitch - but all is well
60-ish couple could get into rental property
Did our couple blow too much on holidays?

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Syndicated column 22 October 2011 - Who needs money when you've got what New Zealand's got?

New Zealanders, it seems, are better off than people in any other OECD country when we look at non-financial measurements. The saying "money isn't everything" rings true in this country.

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NZ Herald 12 February 2011

Q&As: Here's an incentive to save for retirement
- Would increasing GST have to hurt those on lower incomes?
- Time to count a few blessings
- Lengthening the term of a mortgage can ease payments - but at a price
- Don't let tax drive your investment decisions

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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 4 December 2010 - Do we really need more stuff than Americans?

Something to ponder as Christmas gift giving approaches: New Zealanders apparently think they need more stuff than the people we often regard as most materialistic - Americans. What's more, older and male New Zealanders seem to be more into "things" than young people and females.

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NZ Herald 4 September 2010

Q&As: Looking after the pennies is more rewarding than we realised
Three Q&As on readers' suggestions on how a couple can better manage their money - including ideas on mortgages and software
Is it worthwhile trying to time a home purchase to make the most of market movements? - plus KiwiSaver first home assistance details

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NZ Herald 12 June 2010

Q&As: A way for couples on higher incomes to get KiwiSaver first home help
Man with terminal illness can probably withdraw all KiwiSaver money
KiwiSaver contributions holidays more flexible than reader realises
More thoughts on why house prices have outgrown rents
2 readers challenge the use of the term "Mum and Dad investors" - and we seek an alternative

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Syndicated column 22 May 2010 - Confession time about retirement plans and goals

I'm going to commit sacrilege here. But it's not as if I haven't thought long and hard about it. So okay, deep breath, here we go: Contrary to what many will tell you, it's quite possible to be financially together and not have a detailed written plan on how to fund your retirement - or even a retirement savings goal.

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NZ Herald 15 May 2010

Q&As: Why house prices must - at some point - come down further
Newly retired person loses out, for a year, on PIE tax
How a rising NZ Super age might affect KiwiSaver
Temporary workers in KiwiSaver at a disadvantage

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NZ Herald article May 2010: Reasons for not being in KiwiSaver rarely make sense

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NZ Herald 27 February 2010

Q&As: KiwiSaver trustee change raises questions about how much trustees protect members
Hazards of dealing with an overseas sharebroker
What's the difference between investing and gambling?

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Syndicated column 30 January 2010 - Oh no, oh no, it's off to work we go

Returning to work after a holiday is rarely easy. Back when I was employed - as opposed to self employed - I remember always feeling as if I were in the wrong job on my first few days back at work.

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NZ Herald 5 December 2009

Q&As: Adviser's advice is shocking - on three counts
Does it make sense to want your charity dollars to all go to the frontline?
When should you reduce your KiwiSaver contributions?

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Syndicated column 1 December 2009 - Gifts that give on several levels

Perhaps the most important assignment in a university course I teach on financial literacy has little to do with finance. Worried that the course might send the message "the more money you have the better", I ask the students to think about how money and happiness are related.

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NZ Herald 28 November 2009

A way to make friends and relatives happy at Christmas
Changes to invitation to Capital Market Taskforce meeting
Q&As: Less insurance can save big money and work well - if you are healthy and careful
Gradually get rid of preference shares you don't want any more

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NZ Herald 10 October 2009

Q&As: A reader challenges my advice last week about postponing a first home purchase for three years
How to get around the income cap on the KiwiSaver first home subsidy
How to get around the three-year requirement for KiwiSaver first home assistance
Another reader challenges me - on my advice on whether to sell a Mangere Bridge house or a Whangamata house
The merits of coin tossing
Maybe Lotto will make reader's decision easier

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Syndicated column 6 October 2009 - Good news goes unheralded

One of the findings in a recent survey caught my eye. Only 12 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed said the value of their financial investments had grown in the previous six months, with 42 per cent saying the value was unchanged and 46 per cent saying it had fallen. The vast majority got it wrong.

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NZ Herald 19 September 2009

Q&As: Even a reader's accountant seems confused about how gains on share sales are taxed. The law needs to be changed.
Property fan who did badly in the share market broke one of the basic rules of share investing
Did I mislead readers about the advantages of dollar cost averaging?

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NZ Herald 12 September 2009

Q&As: One reader loathes KiwiSaver, while the next one loves it. But both don't fully understand it.
A former hippie gets a bit carried away

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NZ Herald 29 August 2009

Q&As: Just because a so-called financial expert is confident, that doesn't mean he or she is right
If you haven't worked for a while any time in the last five years, you may well be in for a tax refund
Don't delay joining KiwiSaver, even if you're worried that you could be made redundant
KiwiSaver tax credit lark for the newly retired is too good to be true

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NZ Herald 22 August 2009

Q&As: Wealth doesn't have to equal filth - New Zealanders' attitude to money may leave them more worried about financial issues
Take your pick between share fund managers who try to outperform the market and those who don't
Members of work super schemes can do well by also being in KiwiSaver

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NZ Herald 15 August 2009

Q&As: Reader explains why he won't invest in shares
Data suggest New Zealand doesn't actually over-invest in property
New Zealanders' lack of interest in shares hurts more than just individuals
Help is available for horseracing "addict"

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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 May 16 2009 - Ill wind not as bad as it seems

An email from a Christchurch reader has got me thinking. "In any game it is either a win, loss or a draw," he writes. "Right now there are plenty of losers, nationally and globally - individuals, institutions, banks, organizations, even one or two countries. So who are the winners?"

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Syndicated column November 25 2008 - Christmas giving that makes you happier too

Struggling retailers aren't going to like this, but how about we make 2008 the year we stop spending ridiculous amounts on Christmas presents we don't need - and often don't even like?

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NZ Herald November 22 2008

Q&As: Does charity begin in the home country? Salvation Army programme looks good.
List of overseas charities with Christmas gift offerings.
National's KiwiSaver changes could discourage single Mum trying to get ahead - but there's hope they will be altered.
The whole KiwiSaver mortgage diversion issue will be much easier for many under National's changes.
Plus: Readers on KiwiSaver

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NZ Herald November 15 2008

Q&As: 2 Q&As on National's proposed changes to KiwiSaver
Plus: Meaningful Christmas presents
Readers' views on KiwiSaver

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Syndicated column September 2 2007: Is saving always good?

In some circles, saving has a bad name. People think it's about deprivation - "I either save or I spend, and spending is more fun."

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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 September 29 2007

Over the next few weeks, this column will run highlights from Mary Holm's quarterly newsletter Holm Truths. Mary's regular Q&A column will resume on October 27.

STUFF AND HAPPINESS

A woman I know wasn't sure what to do. Should she renovate her current house, or move to a cheaper suburb and buy a house that was already up to the minute? She preferred to stay put, but would have to borrow to renovate and wasn't sure if she could afford to repay that debt.

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NZ Herald May 12 2007

Q&As: Three readers defend baby boomers and suggest how today's young could afford to buy homes.
A Generation Xer speaks up for her generation.
A reader worries that apartments may lose value.

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Holm Truths summer 06-07

The other B word: While some people find it easy to follow a budget, others struggle. Here are some tips for the latter group.
Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Couple who sold their house save heaps by renting. But should they wait for a price fall before buying again?

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Syndicated column December 2 2006: The investment games people play

Let's say you're playing a game in which everyone has been given $20. In each round, you choose whether or not to put in $1, and a coin is then tossed. If it's heads, you get back $2.50. If it's tails, you lose your $1.

How often would you put in a dollar?

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NZ Herald September 9 2006

This week, and through September, 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 in October.

HOW OUR EMOTIONS AFFECT OUR INVESTING

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NZ Herald August 12 2006

Q&As: A few fewer luxuries and many New Zealanders could afford to buy homes.
2 Q&As on whether the Reserve Bank got it right with the new coins.
A financial planner objects to what I said last week about how to choose an adviser.

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Syndicated column July 18 2006: Owning your home not always the best option

Most New Zealanders grow up expecting to own their own home, but soaring house prices have made it harder for people to get into the market. Does that matter? Is home ownership all it's cracked up to be?

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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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NZ Herald February 11 2006

Q&As: Couple should spend less?
Wealth isn't always money.
How last week's correspondent made his millions.
Making extra payments on fixed mortgages without penalties.

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NZ Herald November 26 2005

Q&As: Woman in Australian shouldn't sell her house here.
Is the house price boom like the great tulip bulb bubble?
Couple disagree over rental property v shares.

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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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Syndicated column July 12 2005: Complexity of financial products no accident

Confirmation, at last, of what we've suspected all along: Providers of financial products may deliberately make them sound complicated.

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NZ Herald June 4 2005

Q&As: 2 on renting v home ownership - including the psychology of the choice.
The professor who set last week's question gives me a grade, and notes that house prices have fallen lots elsewhere.

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NZ Herald May 7 2005

Q&As: A letter to give a spouse who is mean with money.
Where to get info on interest rates.
Returns on share funds, and debt repayment.

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NZ Herald March 26 2005

Q&As: Man in mid 50s can afford to drop out - but what about emotionally?
Is reader silly to stick with renting?

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