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


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.


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.


RNZ Radio 9 August 2018

How to get women more interested in investing

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NZ Herald 30 June 2018

Q&As: Reader's analysis is iffy - NZ shares have grown more than house prices
- KiwiSaver member unhappy with post-65 withdrawal process
- Do the calculations on whether higher term deposit rates are worth it
- Simple and fair taxation impossible, but we have to try

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NZ Herald 23 June 2018

Q&As: Check credit ratings before investing in finance companies
- Reader gets higher term deposit interest by asking
- Possible interest rate rise and what to do about your mortgage
- How KiwiSaver employee contributions are counted towards tax credit

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NZ Herald 24 March 2018

Q&As: How to tell term deposit institutions apart
- Frugal superannuitants seem hurt by last week's column
- Real estate agent defends colleagues, and shares a couple of secrets
- Dividend reinvestment plans work well for many shareholders
- 2 Q&As on who is a professional

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NZ Herald 8 July 2017

Results of survey on how readers have done in KiwiSaver - part 2
- Type of fund
- Staying risky
- The switchers
- Volatility
- Children in KiwiSaver
- To sum up

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RNZ Radio 27 April 2017

Investment risks - Part 1

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NZ Herald 15 April 2017

Q&As: Best long-term investment for entrepreneurial teen
- Reader aghast that beneficiary can keep savings
- Pictured foot is impressive
- Grateful reader's pension rises after reading column
- Free online booklet about investment risks
- Correction about internet link

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RNZ Radio 30 March 2017

Gender and Investing

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NZ Herald 28 January 2017

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

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RNZ Radio 21 April 2016

Good borrowing: How gearing boosts returns - and losses

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Radio NZ 11 February 2016

Why it's not easy to get rich quick

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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 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 8 August 2015

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

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NZ Herald 1 August 2015

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

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NZ Herald 31 January 2015

Q&As: Kicked out of KiwiSaver for joining when too old
- Is now the time to get out of Auckland property and into shares? Who knows?
- Aspiring home buyer's plan highly risky

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NZ Herald 5 April 2014

Q&As: How to tell if an investment - beyond low-risk KiwiSaver funds - is fairly safe
- Should woman sell rental and enjoy the proceeds?
- Can reader use Dad's KiwiSaver for own benefit?
- Lenders may help with first home deposit timing problem

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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 28 September 2013

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

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Syndicated column 8 September 2012 - Risk is not a dirty word

A man on the radio the other day was talking about risk, and how we've become so scared about our children's safety that we don't let them climb trees. The kids lose out. It's similar with investments. Many New Zealanders seem to be too scared of riskier investments, and they too lose from that fear.

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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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Syndicated column 24 September 2011 - Harsh words worth listening to

I've been hesitant to write about a recent speech by Paul Mersi in which he told off New Zealanders for their attitudes to money.

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NZ Herald 2 April 2011

Q&As: Executives of failed finance companies can't get away with wearing the dunce's hat
- Beware "investment houses" offering 20-per-cent-plus returns
- Why did long-term investment go backwards?

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NZ Herald 10 July 2010

Q&As: Other ways in which gold is risky
The difference between term deposits and bonds
Why is ING's default KiwiSaver scheme cheaper than the very similar ANZ and National Bank schemes?
Readers offer some udder ideas on what to call Mum and Dad investors

Money column for 10 July 2010

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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 November 8 2008

Q&As: PIES have many more pros than cons, with tax breaks and, in some cases, a government guarantee
Single parent with three rentals might want to sell one - but not for the reason she suggests
Plus: readers' views on KiwiSaver

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NZ Herald December 8 2007

Q&As: Why 20 shares are much better than two.
Reader claims diversification is not a great idea. I disagree.
Is land a lower risk investment than a share fund?

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NZ Herald February 10 2007

Q&As: The warning signs in investment ads
Should we adjust investment returns to allow for inflation?
How best to assess long-term returns on shares and property
How to tell if an Australian company qualifies for the tax exemption

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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 November 18 2006

Q&As: Should we get bigger tax deductions for donations to charity? Also - give Christmas gifts to those who really need them.
Readers disagree over the price of a 1950s pie.
Buying shares company by company, over the years, not the best strategy.
Is the new proposed tax on international shares fair?

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Syndicated column August 15 2006: Stop loss orders a dead loss

A reader writes that he is concerned about my advice in my last column.

"Your two rules of share investing are to a) diversify (i.e. neutralize returns), and b) not sell when the market bombs," he writes. "One would have hoped you would have added a third - enter a stop loss to avoid catastrophic loss if/when the market does bomb."

Not in my rulebook.

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NZ Herald August 5 2006

Q&As: Typical but rich women ask how to find an adviser.
Does local government keep house prices up? And will they ever fall?
Let's not have the government meddling in the housing market.
Doing your homework doesn't necessarily help share investment.

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NZ Herald February 4 2006

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

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NZ Herald January 28 2006

Q&As: 27-year-old overseas doesn't need more than 4 rentals in NZ.
Should more conservative 26-year-old get revolving credit mortgage?

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NZ Herald January 21 2006

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

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Holm Truths summer 05-06

Can you get rich quick?: Only by taking big risks

Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Spending in retirement

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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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Syndicated column August 9 2005: One bad apple - New Zealanders are bad at diversifying

Most New Zealand shareholders are frighteningly undiversified. About 24 per cent of share investors own shares in just one company, and another 36 per cent hold shares in two to five companies, according to recent research by the stock exchange, NZX, and sharebrokers ABN AMRO Craigs.

Why does it matter? Two reasons:

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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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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 autumn 03

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

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

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Holm Truths summer 02-03

Lessons from past mislead: Investing in what did well last year, or selling what did badly, usually does more harm than good

Also in this issue: Great Debate - Low v high insurance excesses

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Holm Truths winter 01

Free lunch a rewarding spread: It's wise to spread your investment money around

Also in this issue: Great Debate - Shares v share funds

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Holm Truths autumn 01

Terms of enrichment: How long you want to tie up your money affects what you invest in.

Also in this issue: Great Debate - Shares v rental property

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