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.
NZ Herald 24 June 2017
Q&As: Some spend too much on fun, but some spend too little
NZ Herald 27 May 2017
Q&As: Million-dollar savings goals do more harm than good
NZ Herald 26 November 2016
Q&As: Better to put savings towards mortgage than emergency fund
NZ Herald 19 November 2016
Q&As: NZ tops the world - so it might be better to wait to buy a house
RNZ Radio 10 November 2016
Why some people are still not in KiwiSaver, or are on a contributions holiday. Part 1View - It's FREE!
NZ Herald 8 October 2016
Q&As: Perhaps we should celebrate a young man's spending splurge
NZ Herald 30 July 2016
Q&As: It's easy to check if you're eligible for a tax refund
NZ Herald 18 June 2016
Q&As: Ignore misleading KiwiSaver salesman, but maximize your tax credit
NZ Herald 30 January 2016
Q&As: A different Auckland housing option: live on the water
Radio NZ 28 January 2016
Setting financial prioritiesView - It's FREE!
NZ Herald 19 December 2015
Q&As: Are Bonus Bonds a good place for retirement savings?
Radio NZ 19 November 2015
Getting through Christmas without going broke. Also, the big spender and the big saver.View - It's FREE!
NZ Herald 17 October 2015
Q&As: How a woman who can't stop herself from spending could tie up an inheritance
NZ Herald 10 October 2015
Q&As: Calculators that measure your life expectancy more accurately
NZ Herald 29 August 2015
Q&As: Retired couple paying for rest home now wish they had spent more earlier
NZ Herald 30 May 2015
Q&As: How should high-saving couple allow for emergency money?
NZ Herald 25 January 2014
Q&As: Time for over-savers to spend on fun experiences - but still save some
NZ Herald 24 August 2013
Q&As: 64-year-old should get rid of mortgage - and join KiwiSaver if she's not already in
NZ Herald 29 June 2013
Q&As: Will new OBR policy mean banks can take money out of our savings accounts?
NZ Herald 6 April 2013
Q&As: You can be regarded as being in a de facto relationship even if you don't live together
Syndicated column 3 November 2012 - KiwiSaver's flexibility is a plus - up to a point
KiwiSaver is many things - mostly good. But I hadn't thought of it as a type of insurance policy until recently, when I was talking to an authorized financial adviser in Christchurch.View - It's FREE!
NZ Herald 15 September 2012
Q&As: The big question: does the doom merchant use banks?
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
Syndicated column 19 May 2012 - The older you are, the better the deal in KiwiSaver
Wake up and smell a more comfortable retirement, middle-agers! A survey released today shows that no-longer-youthful New Zealanders are less likely to be in KiwiSaver and more critical of the scheme. And yet arguably they get the best deal out of it.View - It's FREE!
Syndicated column 21 April 2012 - Why a reader advises his son against KiwiSaver - and why I disagree
A reader's letter explaining why he's advising his 18-year-old son not to join KiwiSaver has not convinced me.View - It's FREE!
Syndicated column 24 March 2012 - How to join the new debt cutting trend
We're all living through three "great transitions", said the keynote speaker at a recent conference. One transition is from West to East - with the growing emphasis on China and India, another is from analog to digital, and the third is from debt to saving. Let's look more at that third transition.View - It's FREE!
NZ Herald 17 March 2012
Q&As: No clear-cut answer on whether's it's better to slash debt or save for Christmas
Syndicated column 28 January 2012 - Take action now to avoid bill blues next January
Ah, summer. Time for beaches, baches, barbecues - and facing probably the year's biggest credit card bills, or even demands for payment from loan sharks.View - It's FREE!
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?
NZ Herald 28 May 2011
Q&As: Reader knows more about chemistry than savings schemes
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?View - It's FREE!
Syndicated column 26 February 2011 - More reasons to get young into savings accounts
An article I read recently made me more convinced that it's good to sign up children into savings accounts.View - It's FREE!
NZ Herald 26 February 2011
Q&As: Why 55-year-old Mum shouldn't give up on home ownership
Syndicated column 12 February 2011 - So much for the "can't afford to save" excuse
Practically all New Zealanders can save. If they want to. In the wake of the release of the Savings Working Group (SWG) report on February 1, various people have been saying that many New Zealanders just can't afford to save. I don't buy it - or should I say save it.View - It's FREE!
NZ Herald 12 February 2011
Q&As: Here's an incentive to save for retirement
NZ Herald 5 February 2011
Q&As: Should we all panic over the Savings Working Group's dire forecasts?
NZ Herald 27 November 2010
Q&As: What the Savings Working Group is up to, and why
NZ Herald 2 October 2010
Q&As: KiwiSaver is not guaranteed by the government - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't join
Syndicated column 25 September 2010 - Are we bad savers, or was it a bad survey?
A recent report on New Zealanders' savings habits annoyed me - and not because it starts by saying that the Savings Working Group, of which I'm a member, "is likely to face a tough challenge". What got my goat was its misleading conclusion.View - It's FREE!
NZ Herald 4 September 2010
Q&As: Looking after the pennies is more rewarding than we realised
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.View - It's FREE!
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.View - It's FREE!
Syndicated column 13 February 2010 - Wanted: Clear thinking on GST
A lot of nonsense has been spoken about GST since John Key more or less said the government will increase that tax - probably to 15 per cent - and use the money to cut income tax rates.View - It's FREE!
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.View - It's FREE!
NZ Herald 12 December 2009
Q&As: Which investment advisers charge fees - and why that is a good start
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.
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."View - It's FREE!
NZ Herald April 26 2008
Q&As: KiwiSaver the last straw for employer of "whinging, incompetent" New Zealanders
NZ Herald February 9 2008
Q&As: Calculator tells reader to stop saving and live it up a bit.
NZ Herald August 18 2007
Q&As: Man lives in NZ but his savings are in the US. When should he bring the money here, in light of the dollar's fluctuations?
Syndicated column June 26 2007: KiwiSaver - be in to win
Ever since the government announced its added incentives to KiwiSaver last month, everyone is talking about the retirement savings scheme. And well they might.
NZ Herald June 23 2007
Q&As: Nearly 65-year-old should grab chance to join KiwiSaver. People over 60 do particularly well out of it.
NZ Herald June 16 2007
Q&As: A big fan of property investing scares me with his lack of knowledge.
NZ Herald May 26 2007
Q&As: The inter-generation battle rages on in six Q&As, and we also get several readers' ideas on how Gen Xers can cope with high house prices.
Syndicated column May 15 2007: Readers respond on KiwiSaver tax breaks
Three readers were unhappy with my last column, in which I said the KiwiSaver tax breaks expected in the upcoming Budget will benefit only some people, at the expense of New Zealand as a whole.View - It's FREE!
Holm Truths Autumn 2007
From the Mailbox -
Syndicated column April 28 2007: Think again about those KiwiSaver tax breaks
Many readers were no doubt pleased to hear of Winston Peters' recent hints that the May 17 Budget will include tax breaks in the KiwiSaver retirement savings scheme. But only some will benefit - and it will be at the expense of others, and the country as a whole.View - It's FREE!
Syndicated column March 20 2007: KiwiSaver enticing enough already
KiwiSaver, the new retirement savings scheme starting July 1, is coming in for criticism that is doesn't include more tax incentives. But I'm glad of that.View - It's FREE!
NZ Herald July 29 2006
Q&As: Should we have a new 25c coin instead of a new 20c coin, and also a $5 coin?
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?View - It's FREE!
NZ Herald July 15 2006
Q&As: Lessons from the Bible: Is borrowing bad?
Holm Truths winter 06
Stay Away: Don't rush to bring your shares back from overseas.
Holm Truths autumn 06
Stuff and happiness: Buying things you don't really need
NZ Herald April 1 2006
Q&As: Can he retire?, 40-year-old asks.
NZ Herald March 25 2006
Q&As: Stick with share fund investments.
NZ Herald March 4 2006
Q&As: Eftpos v credit cards. And bank fees.
NZ Herald February 25 2006
Q&As: Is compounding interest over-rated?
NZ Herald February 11 2006
Q&As: Couple should spend less?
NZ Herald February 4 2006
Q&As: Man who has made $3 million from shares.
Syndicated column October 18 2005: Home ownership not the only road to wealth
Shock, horror! Home ownership is falling and will continue to fall. But is that so bad?View - It's FREE!
Holm Truths spring 05
Kids, cash and cards: Help your children learn about money
NZ Herald August 27 2005
Q&As: Grandparents don't need a trust to save for their grandchildren.
NZ Herald August 6 2005
Q&As: 18-year-old should wait a bit before buying a house.
NZ Herald July 16 2005
Q&As: When to declare share trading profits.
Holm Truths winter 05
Seize the chance: A great way to boost your savings
NZ Herald June 25 2005
Q&As: Should you sell your house and buy again after prices fall?
NZ Herald May 21 2005
Q&As: Article and follow-up column from last week, on how interest is paid on term deposits, and how not to be ripped off.View - It's FREE!
NZ Herald May 14 2005
Front page article and Q&A on how interest is paid on term deposits and how to stop yourself from being ripped off.View - It's FREE!
Holm Truths autumn 05
Moving the goalposts: Working part-time in retirement makes a huge difference to how much you need to save
NZ Herald April 9 2005
Q&As: Where should a 13-year-old put his regular savings?
NZ Herald March 19 2005
Q&As: Tips for a 12-year-old on how to save.
Syndicated column February 8 2005: Higher returns don't matter for the short term - they need time to work their magic.
There's more than one reason behind the old investment message that goes like this: If you need your money in just a few years invest your savings conservatively, but if you have a longer horizon take more risk.View - It's FREE!
Holm Truths spring 04
Investor beware!: How to spot a rip-off or scam
Holm Truths winter 04
3rd big question: When? - How should you time your investing?
Holm Truths autumn 04
'His & Hers' investment styles - How gender affects the way we invest
Holm Truths summer 03-04
Time is Money: A basic principle that helps you understand investing
Holm Truths summer 01-02
Pay yourself first: A way to make it easier to save
Holm Truths winter 01
Free lunch a rewarding spread: It's wise to spread your investment money around
Holm Truths autumn 01
Terms of enrichment: How long you want to tie up your money affects what you invest in.