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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Retirement

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 18 March 2017

Q&As: Trusts may no longer enable well off elderly to get subsidy
- Possible trap for parents giving money to adult children
- What KiwiSaver rules would change when under National plan
- Partial KiwiSaver tax credit in year you turn 65 - or 18
- Good reasons for using a credit card

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RNZ Radio 16 February 2017

KiwiSaver - heading into retirement and after you retire

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NZ Herald 5 November 2016

Q&As: In retirement planning, first work out how long you're likely to live
- Did angry reader actually read my last column?
- Another columnist and I battle it out over active v passive funds
- Sometimes leasehold property works out well
Money column for November 5 2016

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RNZ Radio 27 October 2016

Eating your house: ways to make use of the value of your house in retirement

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NZ Herald 7 May 2016

Q&As: Thai retirement not so cheap
- Buffett not unbalanced
- 3 Q&As on investing in international index funds

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NZ Herald 23 April 2016

Q&As: Smartshares are a good way to get into share investing ...
- ... And they beat mortgage repayment for one reader
- Who worries more, rich or poor retirees?
- Retirement Commissioner seeks your thoughts

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NZ Herald 9 April 2016

Q&As: New index will tell more about how 65-pluses spend
- Was I dismissive to a reader last week?
- Is diversification the main point in a high-yield share portfolio?
- Original high-yield correspondent explains his strategy
- Sharebroker info useful but don't get into frequent trading

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NZ Herald 26 March 2016

Q&As: Reader suggests an economist could explain unfair tax on term deposits and property investment
- ... And the economist does so
- Shares work well for retiree
- 3 ways another retiree could cut expenses
- How to reduce the cost of a funeral
- Debt-dodging daughter should attend a course

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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 17 October 2015

Q&As: How a woman who can't stop herself from spending could tie up an inheritance
- Extra house savings may be better outside KiwiSaver
- Saving in or out of KiwiSaver, and 55-year-old can still aim at home ownership
- More information about life expectancy
- Is ageism rearing its ugly head amongst pensioners?

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NZ Herald 5 September 2015

Q&As: KiwiSaver accounts very unlikely to go to zero, but nor are they guaranteed
- What happens to KiwiSaver money when the person dies?
- NZ Super is indeed paid from current taxes
- Have retired people paid towards their NZ Super?
- Reader challenges my comments about some people paying for their rest home care
- Some retirees need "permission" to enjoy spending their money

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NZ Herald 29 August 2015

Q&As: Retired couple paying for rest home now wish they had spent more earlier
- Are NZ Super recipients beneficiaries?
- Reader thinks it's bad to eat into capital in retirement
- How couple might set up a first home account

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NZ Herald 6 December 2014

Q&As: Term deposit interest not so bad for people in retirement
- How much in savings to get income equal to NZ Super?
- Reader challenges my comment about landlords' tax

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NZ Herald 20 September 2014

Q&As: Gold fans no longer to be seen now price has plummeted
- Reader wishes she'd never heard of tax refund company
- Alternative to KiwiSaver for 67-year-old
- Is Buffett a better bet than an index fund?

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NZ Herald 27 July 2013

Q&As: Do older workers pinch jobs from young ones? And would new retirees spend up to avoid means testing?
- Might a government force annuities onto KiwiSaver members?
- How two landlords took a "nasty fall"
- Is sexism raging in KiwiSaver?

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NZ Herald 4 May 2013

Q&As: Which is riskier, moving to a posher suburb now or waiting?
- Retired man's preference for shares may be riskier than he realizes
- You can't cash in KiwiSaver to buy Mighty River Power shares

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NZ Herald 16 February 2013

Q&As: A company that promises way too much. Steer clear!
- 2 Q&As about how reverse mortgages might affect government residential care subsidies
- More on relationship property next week

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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 1 December 2012

Q&As: Reverse mortgages can work well, if you know what you're doing
- Where to get comparable info on KiwiSaver fees
- A parent's worries about KiwiSaver are probably unfounded

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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 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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Syndicated column 22 September 2012 - Help needed for retirees to live it up a bit

I'm disappointed. Retired people have been gaining access to their KiwiSaver money for several months now, but there's no emergence of good new products to help them manage their savings.

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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 1 September 2012

Q&As: The extra money retired people can get from the government, above NZ Super
- 2 Q&As about information on spending in retirement
- People don't literally invest student loans - so how do they do it?
- Reader finds this column not worth reading!
- People who make the most of student loans are "not morally bankrupt"
- A note about Money Week

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Syndicated column 25 August 2012 - Retirement spending puzzle solved

It was a question that got people thinking. Massey University senior lecturer Claire Matthews had just finished a presentation at the Workplace Savings NZ conference on how much people spend in retirement. "How come most of the spending totals for two-person households are more than twice the one-person totals?," somebody asked.

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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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Syndicated column 28 July 2012 - KiwiSaver graduates face some choices

It's decision time for the first KiwiSavers "graduates" - those over 65 who have been in the scheme for five years. But there's no rush.

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NZ Herald 28 April 2012

Q&As: Reasonable and unreasonable expectations about NZ Super and people's retirement savings
- People need to think beyond their own needs, says reader
- Better or worse then or now? Just different
- Just how high are - and were - tertiary fees?
- Oops! I got it wrong about foreign exchange and interest rates

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NZ Herald 5 November 2011

Q&As: Teen busker should be filing a tax return
Reader shows how not to choose a KiwiSaver fund
Voltaire quote last week hit the spot
Researcher reports on surprisingly high chance of ending up in a rest home

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NZ Herald 15 October 2011

Q&As: Is it wise not to save because if you do you'll lose some government subsidies - and to spend the money on cars instead?
- Our chances of ending up in a rest home. And could there be insurance to cover the costs?
- Last week's "oily ragger" should do her own thing
- No bargain is quite so good when you consider how much you really had to earn to buy it
- Update on a reader's predictions of NZ's exchange rate and gold and silver prices

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NZ Herald 8 October 2011

Q&As: An idea for a woman who doesn't know what to do with all the money her husband is now making
- How much is a tax deduction worth?
- Unfairness in rest home subsidies unavoidable - unless you want to distort your spending
- "Add-back" of gifts to a trust not as extreme as reader thinks

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NZ Herald 1 October 2011

Q&As: Are corporate boxes at the rugby tax deductible, and is that fair?
- A quick easy way to see how far a retirement nest egg will stretch
- Does the average retiree get a good deal from NZ Super? Does it even make sense to ask that?
- The best type of fund for a KiwiSaver in his 60s

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NZ Herald 24 September 2011

Q&As: Two Q&As on our recent sawmilling picture - and how they got the huge log up there
- Is it still worth it to set up a trust so you are eligible for the rest home subsidy?
- A suggested way to stop people using trusts to get the rest home subsidy - and are trusts fair?
- Angry reader talks quietly
- Couple in their 60s plan trip to Greece courtesy of KiwiSaver

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Syndicated column 10 September 2011 - Labour shows up National on retirement savings issue

Come on National, you can do better. In less than a year, the first New Zealanders will gain access to their KiwiSaver money to spend in retirement. They need help with how to handle that money.

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NZ Herald 13 August 2011

Q&As: Should reader move to lower-risk KiwiSaver fund? Putting share plunge in perspective
- Don't try to time markets
- Gold fan checks in after gold price soars, but what of his other predictions?
- The one situation in which NZ Super is affected by KiwiSaver savings

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NZ Herald 30 July 2011

Q&As: Two questions to ask before trading up to a more expensive house
- A pilot joins the call for annuities for retiring KiwiSavers
- Mercer explains its alternative to conventional annuities
- A KiwiSaver provider gives children a break on fees
- A reader is taken aback over a headline about steady incomes - and I'm taken aback that she cares!

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NZ Herald 23 July 2011

Q&As: Calling all KiwiSaver providers: Please let us know if you have plans to offer annuities or similar
- Other payout possibilities for retired KiwiSavers
- Couple who have returned to NZ but still own UK house should sell it, buy here and get on with enjoying life
- Dwindling children's KiwiSaver accounts possible but unlikely

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NZ Herald 7 May 2011

Q&As: A house looks ridiculously cheap in 1958, but let's put that into perspective
- Retiree hit by inflation acknowledges that it could have been worse
- Too hard to get by in New Zealand? Fix it or leave, but don't whinge
- A family wants out of its family trust, which is complex, expensive and not benefitting anyone

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Syndicated column 23 April 2011 - Savings growth is far from over at 65

I'm a bit hesitant to pass on this information, for fear that some readers might get the wrong message. But here goes. Just promise me you'll read past the first half dozen paragraphs, okay?

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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 19 February 2011

Q&As: Repaying debt should be Number One priority - with one important exception
- Money can't buy the most important things in retirement
- Last week's numbers on NZ Super were incomplete - sorry
- Let's demystify share trading, and share holding
- One more advantage of owning shares

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NZ Herald 24 April 2010

Q&As: Retiree stuck with a property investment that's gone wrong should sell her house and the rental
71-year-old wants to be in KiwiSaver, while younger New Zealander stays out for the sake of the country
Fees are not the only consideration when choosing a KiwiSaver fund

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Syndicated column 27 March 2010 - Wanted: better insurance against outliving our savings

Imagine you're heading into retirement. You'll get NZ Super, but you also have savings in KiwiSaver or elsewhere. You would like to spend that money over the rest of your life and leave the house to the kids. But - not knowing how long you will live - how can you decide how much to spend each year?

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NZ Herald July 11 2009

Q&As: KiwiSaver still great for children, even though the fee subsidy is gone
Now might be an okay time to get into a rental property - for family in the right circumstances
Should young retiree switch some savings into a share fund?
Two Q&As offer advice - on school fees and insurance - to woman with dying husband

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NZ Herald March 28 2009

Q&As: History tells us to hang in there with shares.
NZ Super rise on its way.

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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 December 6 2008

Q&As: Couple can afford to retire youngish, especially if they are willing to eat into their savings.
Cash PIE not always a good substitute for a term deposit - but there's another way to achieve reader's goal using PIE tax advantages.

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Syndicated column September 16 2008: Retirement payments likely to make a comeback

Annuities - which are typically monthly payments to retired people, over and above NZ Super - may be on their way back onto the New Zealand scene.

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NZ Herald August 23 2008

Q&As: 64-year-old can't believe how good KiwiSaver is for him
KiwiSaver providers give wrong info to a would-be investor
Retired man questions my advice about bonds

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NZ Herald August 16 2008

Q&As: Advice on investment during retirement has worked for these readers
KiwiSaver contributions holidays will be easy to take
Reader dislikes last week's answer on KiwiSaver fund performance

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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 March 10 2007

Q&As: Many elderly, and others, could benefit from rates postponement schemes.
Why floating interest rates might be better - for home equity release schemes and ordinary mortgages.
A not-so-dumb question about the $50,000 exemption for international tax changes, and a new source of info on the changes.

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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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NZ Herald January 13 2007

Q&As: Options for a newly retired couple with $200,000 and no home include part-time work, buying a home with a flat attached, an interest-only mortgage and equity release.
Two Q&As on which investments are affected by the new tax law on international shares, and how it will work for investors.

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NZ Herald April 15 2006

Q&As: Attitudes to student loans.
Interest on student loans.
Fear and share investment.
Spending in retirement.

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Syndicated column April 11 2006: Another reason to spread your investments

I can think of three good reasons to hold lots of different shares, as opposed to one or just a few. Two reasons are obvious, but one is less so, even though it may be just as important.

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NZ Herald April 1 2006

Q&As: Can he retire?, 40-year-old asks.
Couple about to retire wonder if their expenses will drop as they get older.
Student loan interest ends. What happens if you go overseas?

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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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Holm Truths autumn 05

Moving the goalposts: Working part-time in retirement makes a huge difference to how much you need to save

Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Is home ownership so great?

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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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NZ Herald February 19 2005

Q&As: Young couple take a break from work.
Some other options for the couple in the column two weeks ago.

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NZ Herald January 22 2005

Q&As: Couple "retiring" in their 30s wonder how to invest their savings.
94-year-old share trader doing just fine.
How to run a caravan rental business.

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Holm Truths summer 04-05

Scattering the seeds: By diversifying, you reduce risk but not returns

Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Some people over-save for retirement

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