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

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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.


Retirement Planning

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 24 June 2017

Q&As: Some spend too much on fun, but some spend too little
- What to do if employer won't contribute to KiwiSaver
- 2 readers 'self-insure' for health insurance
- Reader glad he had check-up before dropping health insurance
- Another way to keep down health insurance costs
- How have you done in KiwiSaver?
- Win a seminar ticket

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NZ Herald 17 June 2017

Q&As: Should retirees stop their health insurance?
2 reasons why students should participate in KiwiSaver
My maths was OK!
Reader suggests doing a trial run on retirement budgeting
Retired couple doing fine on $600,000
More research needed on changing NZ Super age

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NZ Herald 10 June 2017

Q&As: Don't miss KiwiSaver tax credits - and why kids do miss out
- How to calculate tax credits for new KiwiSavers and those turning 18 or 65
- Savings goal from adviser looks too high
- Please email to say how well you're doing in KiwiSaver

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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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NZ Herald 27 May 2017

Q&As: Million-dollar savings goals do more harm than good
- Retirement expectations rise and so should saving
- Don't like one housing forecast? Here are some more
- Several NZ passive fund providers

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NZ Herald 6 May 2017

Q&As: Index fund comparison inaccurate - and look how shares have grown!
- Broke couple could share their house ...
- ... or live on a boat
- Beneficiaries entitled too
- Paying for your rest home? Lucky you
- Services for Seniors booklet tells all

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NZ Herald 1 April 2017

Q&As: University probably the best route to a new start for woman
- Credit cards not linked to mortgages
- Clearing up info on Residential Care Subsidy and gifting
- Do small gifts count when apply for that subsidy?

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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 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 6 August 2016

Q&As: Should couple sell Auckland rental now or keep it until retirement?
- How to contribute something other than 3,4 or 8% to KiwiSaver
- What happens when a KiwiSaver turns 65
- 'Good news' letter a reminder to the young
- Auckland too pricey? Try Dunedin
- Update on KiwiSaver HomeStart grants

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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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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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Radio NZ 7 April 2016

KiwiSaver for people nearing and in retirement

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NZ Herald 2 April 2016

Q&As: Live well on $15,000 a year in Thailand
- Reader questions last week's correspondent's dividend income ...
- ... While another reader explains it, and wonders about adviser role
- Better to read the column regularly than to chance upon it in some packaging!

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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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NZ Herald 13 February 2016

Q&As: Universality of NZ Super annoys working couple
- Reader challenges AMP KiwiSaver funds' performance
- Accountant objects to my comments about landlords
- Bad luck with competitions? Keep at it
- Pluses of onboard life include decluttering

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Radio NZ 4 February 2016

Listeners' questions on setting financial priorities

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NZ Herald 21 November 2015

Q&As: Why it's better to sell a home before buying another one
- Reader alarmed by what I said about interest on bonds
- Do high dividends go with high risk?
- Another KiwiSaver provider offers regular withdrawals in retirement

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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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Radio NZ 22 October 2015

Why every NZer under 65 should be in KiwiSaver

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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 10 October 2015

Q&As: Calculators that measure your life expectancy more accurately
- Is it better to repay a mortgage or save?
- Don't overreact to worry that KiwiSaver retirement withdrawals could be limited
- Don't assume any interest rate trend will continue
- What would happen to members' savings if a KiwiSaver provider went bust

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NZ Herald 3 October 2015

Q&As: What are bonds, and are they a good investment?
- KiwiSaver instead of term deposits for retiree?
- Can you judge KiwiSaver fund by 2-month return?
- How tax affects Givealittle fundraising in memory of daughter

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NZ Herald 25 April 2015

Q&As: Leave Auckland - and calculate how far your freed up money will go
- Transferring money early to Australia is not a good bet
- Court decision raises questions for KiwiSavers in financial trouble
- A way round the 3-month KiwiSaver wait, if you're a big contributor
- KiwiSaver scheme offers wide range of investments

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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 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 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 31 May 2014

Q&As: Comparing the Government's Budget with a family budget
- 3 Q&As about apologies, "amazing", "awesome", and correcting grammar
- Should retiree add $500,000 of other savings to his KiwiSaver account?

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NZ Herald 24 May 2014

Q&As: How to easily learn more about your KiwiSaver investment
- Ask the boss to keep contributing to KiwiSaver after you gain access to the money
- When your employer keeps contributing, you should too
- Reader angered by comments about language

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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 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 2 November 2013

Q&As: Bankrupt couple could make a new start in a small town ...
- And another reader has an idea for a job for them ...
- And yet another reader suggests trying the Australian outback
- How capital gains tax would work for family with two homes and trusts
- Younger reader asks for a stop to school marm comments about grammar

Money column for November 2 2013

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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 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 13 October 2012

Q&As: Make credit card repayment your top priority
- Why KiwiSaver tax credit is not as good as some people think
- Revolving credit mortgage could help some unhappy ANZ customers
- Reader bombs out on gold, silver, dollar forecasts

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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 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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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 11 August 2012

Q&As: The kids are off, the house is mortgage-free, now what?
- Couple are disillusioned by pathetic returns on managed funds
- What to do with a small KiwiSaver nestegg when it's your only savings
- Clarifying the rules about KiwiSaver withdrawal if you've moved overseas permanently

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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 3 March 2012

Q&As: How to plan retirement savings if you don't want to own a home
- Family in last week's column must have muddled their language a little
- If you've lived in Australia, applying for NZ Super may not be straightforward

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NZ Herald 18 February 2012

Q&As: How much financial support a reader gives their student son
- Two banks offer mortgages that get around problems with revolving credit loans
- An accountant's offer boosts reputation of the profession
- Two Q&As about means testing of NZ Super in some circumstances, and how KiwiSaver fits in
- Yes, there are plenty of companies that don't pay dividends

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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 29 October 2011

Q&As: Parents hoping to deduct payments to baby for "working" for them are dreaming
Tax dodgers and protesters aren't in the same camp
Couple in sixties should grab the chance to get their own home
Why returns are disappointing on KiwiSaver cash funds

Money column for October 29 2011

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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 6 August 2011

Q&As: Am I flogging a dead horse over annuities?
Why annuities are not popular
Perhaps the government should provide annuities
Different types of annuities available
Would it be wise to get an annuity from a UK company?
How KiwiSaver changes will affect shareholder employees

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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 16 July 2011

Q&As: Retired couple with house in Christchurch's red zone have several options to weigh up
- Three Q&As about KiwiSaver for children and grandchildren
- One adviser firm accepts pay-for-performance fees, at least to some extent

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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 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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Syndicated column 5 June 2010 - Plans or no plans? Readers differ

If you've wondered who that bloke is hanging around stores in the weekend watching people buy 3D television sets, it could be Blair Vernon.

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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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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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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 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 June 20 2009

Q&As: No use crying over split milk: Investor can still make use of 10-year rule
Not all landlords have a dream run with their tenants
How KiwiSaver returns are boosted
Do KiwiSaver contributions need inflation-proofing, and if so, how?

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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 28 2009

Q&As: Couple approaching retirement should spend most of their savings on paying off their mortgage.
Yes, you can get KiwiSaver tax credits as well as NZ Super.
Reader who distrust government confuses KiwiSaver with NZ Super Fund
Was this column wrong last week about withholding tax on interest paid on a loan within a family?

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NZ Herald February 9 2008

Q&As: Calculator tells reader to stop saving and live it up a bit.
Reader who finds KiwiSaver nauseating has a scary list of things that could go wrong....
...But another one applauds KiwiSaver, while sitting on the home ownership sidelines.

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NZ Herald July 7 2007

Q&As: What happens to KiwiSaver accounts in a divorce?
How KiwiSaver might affect NZ Super, and what you should do about it.
A source of basic KiwiSaver information
The NZ share market index that includes dividends has been misleading in the past. How much does it matter?

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NZ Herald June 30 2007

Q&As: Three Q&As about KiwiSaver - reimbursement of employer contributions; is daughter overseas eligible?; when is mortgage diversion helpful?; where can you get the information that was in the three Herald supplements about KiwiSaver?
Rental property running costs mount up over the years.

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NZ Herald June 2 2007

Q&As: Student allowance rip-off is not OK.
Advice for house-less Gen Xers: Buy a rental property in the provinces.
Rental property buyers feel like the scourge of society.
The cliché king has his say.
Cardboard boxes and contentment.

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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 27 2007

Q&As: Unclaimed money may be yours!
Options for couple retiring with $200,000 and no house.
More on the index/active share fund debate - the theory and how it works in NZ

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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 December 16 2006

Q&As: Should man, 64, get student loan for the income, given that he probably won't ever repay it?
Passing shares down the generations has good and bad points.
Why did GPG get an exemption from the new international share tax rules?
Woman makes great progress in one short year.
New charity aims to help children help themselves.

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NZ Herald December 9 2006

Money column for December 9, 2006

Win a ticket to a seminar
Q&As: Should retired couple invest in a commercial property? Why take on that risk?
Can we predict NZ dollar movements?
When is it best to change money from US to NZ currency.
A US website that evaluates international charities.
Yet another charity offers a Christmas gift programme.

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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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Holm Truths winter 05

Seize the chance: A great way to boost your savings

Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Investment as retirement approaches

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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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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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Holm Truths winter 03

First things first: How much should you invest in bonds, shares, property and so on?

Also in this issue: Great Debate: NZ v international shares

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