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

Archives

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.


Saving

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 26 November 2016

Q&As: Better to put savings towards mortgage than emergency fund
- How to weigh up KiwiSaver versus other saving
- Reader not stuck with KiwiSaver provider, but costly to move
- Reactions vary on discussion about which indexes to use

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NZ Herald 19 November 2016

Q&As: NZ tops the world - so it might be better to wait to buy a house
- KiwiSaver tax credit still $521
- Share fund not so great - especially if you check what it's measured against

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RNZ Radio 10 November 2016

Why some people are still not in KiwiSaver, or are on a contributions holiday. Part 1

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NZ Herald 8 October 2016

Q&As: Perhaps we should celebrate a young man's spending splurge
- Don't get rid of student loan, pay down mortgage
- Dodgy share advice given to elderly couple
- Think of NZ Super as insurance
- Pension info there, but reader may have been distracted

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NZ Herald 30 July 2016

Q&As: It's easy to check if you're eligible for a tax refund
- Former homeowners may be able to use KiwiSaver money to buy a home
- Most people using KiwiSaver first home help don't stop contributing

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NZ Herald 18 June 2016

Q&As: Ignore misleading KiwiSaver salesman, but maximize your tax credit
- Change to contributions holidays just a suggestion
- 1970s house much more modest than today's houses
- Well done! - but take case about judging others' spending

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NZ Herald 30 January 2016

Q&As: A different Auckland housing option: live on the water
- Reservations about young landlord's success
- 2 Q&As on whether Bonus Bonds are a good deal
- Worries about living in a leasehold property
- Have your say about advisers

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Radio NZ 28 January 2016

Setting financial priorities

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NZ Herald 19 December 2015

Q&As: Are Bonus Bonds a good place for retirement savings?
- How safe are Bonus Bonds?
- Another KiwiSaver provider that allows regular withdrawals in retirement
- Happy reader moving into new home - thanks partly to this column

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Radio NZ 19 November 2015

Getting through Christmas without going broke. Also, the big spender and the big saver.

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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 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 30 May 2015

Q&As: How should high-saving couple allow for emergency money?
- Will reader's children squeak through and get KiwiSaver kick-start?...
- ... And will another reader's partner?
- Some bank depositors' money at risk if bank gets into trouble
- Shouldn't borrowers be the ones who bail out a bank?

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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 24 August 2013

Q&As: 64-year-old should get rid of mortgage - and join KiwiSaver if she's not already in
- Capital gains tax valuation idea could cause problems
- How changes to the KiwiSaver first home subsidy would work
- Overseas grandson can't join KiwiSaver

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NZ Herald 29 June 2013

Q&As: Will new OBR policy mean banks can take money out of our savings accounts?
- How risky are our banks?
- Why NZ doesn't insure bank deposits, and bank credit ratings
- KiwiSaver providers that alert members about tax credit top-ups
- Property prices can indeed plunge over mere hours - sometimes

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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
- Accountant gives bad advice on joining KiwiSaver
- Paying extra off the mortgage versus saving outside KiwiSaver
- 2 Q&As about young man who is NZ tax resident but still pays interest on his student loan
- Reader's student loan idea might work - depending on family dynamics

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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.

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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 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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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 28 May 2011

Q&As: Reader knows more about chemistry than savings schemes
- Yes, KiwiSaver does rely on government favours to be attractive, but that's okay
- Timing of the tax credits in the next KiwiSaver year
- Some KiwiSavers on total remuneration may want to take contributions holidays
- When to bring UK inheritance to New Zealand

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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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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.

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NZ Herald 26 February 2011

Q&As: Why 55-year-old Mum shouldn't give up on home ownership
- Important to save a little, even if you have a mortgage, to gain market knowledge over the years
- Banks "are just like car dealers"
- Will below-market share buyer lose it all in tax?

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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.

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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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NZ Herald 5 February 2011

Q&As: Should we all panic over the Savings Working Group's dire forecasts?
- Do Bill English and Alan Bollard need to talk about how hard it is for New Zealanders to save?
- Why mailing nasties to companies that make low-priced share offers might not work

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NZ Herald 27 November 2010

Q&As: What the Savings Working Group is up to, and why
- Have banks been given a fair go in this column?
- Is $8 worth worrying about?

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NZ Herald 2 October 2010

Q&As: KiwiSaver is not guaranteed by the government - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't join
Is it wise to have your KiwiSaver account with your bank?
Banks said to be "stealing" KiwiSaver members from other providers
Does a reader who is speedily repaying her mortgage need a savings account?

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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.

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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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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 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.

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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 12 December 2009

Q&As: Which investment advisers charge fees - and why that is a good start
Winners of draw to go to Taskforce breakfast and lunch

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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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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 April 26 2008

Q&As: KiwiSaver the last straw for employer of "whinging, incompetent" New Zealanders
Reserve Bank offers some reassurance for reader worried that NZ banks could be caught up in their foreign parent's woes ...
.... But if you're still worried, consider the safest investments of all, government securities.

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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 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?
3 Q&As on when the KiwiSaver tax credit begins - depending on when you join and/or start making contributions.
More winners in our giveaway of "KiwiSaver: How to make it work for you".

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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.

While I still have reservations about the distortion of savings decisions, and while many employers are angry at being forced to contribute, practically all individuals will be better in than out.

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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.
Why dividends should be included when we look at the performance of the NZ share market.

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NZ Herald June 16 2007

Q&As: A big fan of property investing scares me with his lack of knowledge.
I'm accused of hypocrisy and bias.
In praise of boring old index funds and learning about them.
KiwiSaver: Will the kick-start be around for a while? What happens when an employee gets a lump sum? A clarification about access to the money in bankruptcy.

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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.
Succinct advice from a reader's Dad who suffered in the Depression.

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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.

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Holm Truths Autumn 2007

From the Mailbox -

A mortgage-free couple wonder how to use the equity in their home.

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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.

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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.

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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?
Is tithing the way to go? One reader says yes, another no.

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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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Holm Truths winter 06

Stay Away: Don't rush to bring your shares back from overseas.
Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Giving the kids a great start with regular investing

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Holm Truths autumn 06

Stuff and happiness: Buying things you don't really need

Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Should a young man buy himself a house?

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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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NZ Herald March 25 2006

Q&As: Stick with share fund investments.
Is it wise to depreciate if you're selling your rental quite soon?
Tax treatment of the expenses of rebuilding leaky rental property.

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NZ Herald March 4 2006

Q&As: Eftpos v credit cards. And bank fees.
The investment outlook is gloomy, so save!
Wealth doesn't make you happy.

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NZ Herald February 25 2006

Q&As: Is compounding interest over-rated?
Credit cards v eftpos.
How long is long-term? Returns on different assets.

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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 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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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?

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Holm Truths spring 05

Kids, cash and cards: Help your children learn about money

Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Saving for the children's future

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NZ Herald August 27 2005

Q&As: Grandparents don't need a trust to save for their grandchildren.
New Zealand's tax on capital gains is confusing.
Depreciation on rental property.

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NZ Herald August 6 2005

Q&As: 18-year-old should wait a bit before buying a house.
Saving for the grandchildren - how much risk is good?
Rental property depreciation risks.

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NZ Herald July 16 2005

Q&As: When to declare share trading profits.
What to do if travel agent charges more for using a credit card.
Different Visa rules in Australia, and how Visa operates.

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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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NZ Herald June 25 2005

Q&As: Should you sell your house and buy again after prices fall?
The best way to rebalance your investments after the markets put them out of balance.
How to measure inflation.

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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.

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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.

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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 April 9 2005

Q&As: Where should a 13-year-old put his regular savings?
Extra repayments on a fixed mortgage.

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NZ Herald March 19 2005

Q&As: Tips for a 12-year-old on how to save.
A revolving credit mortgage might be just the thing.
One way to spot a leaky home.

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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.

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Holm Truths spring 04

Investor beware!: How to spot a rip-off or scam

Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Plans for single mother of 41

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Holm Truths winter 04

3rd big question: When? - How should you time your investing?

Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Where to invest while saving for a car

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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 summer 03-04

Time is Money: A basic principle that helps you understand investing

Also in this issue: Great Debate - Revolving credit v traditional mortgages

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Holm Truths summer 01-02

Pay yourself first: A way to make it easier to save

Also in this issue: Great Debate - Renting v home ownership

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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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