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.


Spending

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 5 August 2017

Q&As: Easy rule of thumb on how much you'll need in retirement
- KiwiSaver solution for Downs syndrome son
- Reader unsuccessful at opting out of KiwiSaver
- Different types of fees-only financial advisers

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 15 July 2017

Q&As: Gift vouchers have their faults, but they're not scams
- How to find a financial adviser that doesn't receive commissions
- Why KiwiSaver returns on your own contributions are so high
- KiwiSaver providers that don't charge fees for under-18s
- Winners of seminar tickets contest

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

RNZ Radio 23 June 2016

Spending too little, spending too much

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 11 June 2016

Q&As: Adding to already huge mortgages is playing with fire
- It's not interest rates but mortgage size that matters
- Lack of family communication leads to big debt ...
- ... so do pushy credit card providers

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 4 June 2016

Q&As: Is it really harder to buy a house now than in the 1980s?
- A money coach explains an addiction to spending ....
- ... And a reader describes how it affects her
- Does it work to have life insurance with 2 companies?

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 7 May 2016

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

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

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!

View - It's FREE!

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 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?

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
- 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?

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 22 August 2015

Q&As: Banks give teenagers credit too easily
- Credit union offers lower-interest deal to credit card borrowers
- Retiree "invests in people"
- 55-year-old spending while she's able
- Financial adviser struggles with how others do it

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 15 August 2015

Q&As: 70-year-olds should skip buying unit and spend their savings
- How to set up a regular income from bank term deposits
- One reader applauds my being tough on those with big credit card debt ...
- ... While another is incensed by it

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 26 July 2014

Q&As: Insuring KiwiSaver against losses in last year an idea worth considering
- Disagreement on the rate at which cars depreciate
- A good car buying strategy
- Reader is confused about overseas pension and NZ Super
- What countries your spouse worked in can also affect your NZ Super

View - It's FREE!

Syndicated column 16 February 2013 - Financial misbehaviour disappointing

Ironically, a survey on New Zealanders' financial behaviour was released just days before Christmas - a time of much financial misbehaviour, when everyone's saying, "I don't care what it costs, I've just got to buy something for Uncle Fred."

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

Syndicated column 1 December 2012 - Self-insurance eases the pain

Have you ever thought, as you pay hundreds of dollars yet again for car or house insurance that you never claim on, that it would be better to bank the premiums and use that money if something went wrong?

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 10 November 2012

Q&As: Best websites for comparing banks
- "Frugal ways die hard"
- Winners of TV show may be in for a nasty tax surprise
- KiwiSaver may not be the best spot for 21st present

View - It's FREE!

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.

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

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.

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 11 February 2012

Q&As: A disadvantage of revolving credit mortgages - it can be hard to keep track of your money
- Should John Banks and co. have shared the profits on the sale of their KiwiSaver scheme with members?
- The one situation in which NZ Super is affected by your KiwiSaver account
- A call for info about student spending

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 4 February 2012

Q&As: Most people still get their money doubled in KiwiSaver, or close to that ...
- ... And no, KiwiSaver is not self-funded by members
- What happens in April 2013 to KiwiSavers who pay their own employer contributions
- Good and bad employers and KiwiSaver
- A little book that says it all - almost

Money column for February 4 2012

View - It's FREE!

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!

Syndicated column 19 November 2011 - Two thoughts about Christmas shopping

Look at any graph of credit card spending over the years and you see a clear pattern - spikes each December as we put Christmas gifts, food and drink and holiday spending on our cards.

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 19 November 2011

Q&As: The "who and how" of KiwiSaver withdrawals before retirement - including what happens if you go bankrupt
- Was the recent advice on tax for buskers correct, or is their income donations?
- Two readers suggest a short-term approach to employment for 60ish couple made redundant
- Meaningful Christmas gifts

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?
- 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

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 30 April 2011

Q&As: A reader's attempt to recover tax on finance company interest is a nice try, but ...
Wanting less and working less doesn't preclude tall poppies
Creative ideas on how to cut household expenses
Did I get the banking system wrong, or did a reader?
At least one bank - sort of - will lend to share investors

View - It's FREE!

Syndicated column 29 January 2011 - Turning interest into your friend

New Zealanders are, apparently, a fairly satisfied bunch - except when it comes to our financial situation. But maybe that's not such a bad thing.

View - It's FREE!

Syndicated column 4 December 2010 - Do we really need more stuff than Americans?

Something to ponder as Christmas gift giving approaches: New Zealanders apparently think they need more stuff than the people we often regard as most materialistic - Americans. What's more, older and male New Zealanders seem to be more into "things" than young people and females.

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald 18 September 2010

Q&As: The "I can't afford it" excuse for not joining KiwiSaver just went out the window - plus other points about kids and KiwiSaver
Are managed share funds a crock?
Here's hoping a recent correspondent is not a regular reader of this column!
A book, online tool and language trick for overspenders and their partners
You must be under 65 to join KiwiSaver, but can take part in the scheme after that age

View - It's FREE!

Syndicated column 27 February 2010 - Readers react over GST

Two readers sound angry about my last column about GST. Some of their points are valid, but over all I think they just didn't "get" it.

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 14 July 2009 - Recession could be a blessing for most

The response to a question in a recent survey bothered me a little. Asked what they would do with a $10,000 cash windfall, 54.3 per cent of the respondents said they would pay off debt or save the money - down from 58.3 per cent three months earlier.

It's not exactly a huge drop. But I was hoping for a substantial increase.

View - It's FREE!

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.

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald November 29 2008

Q&As: Repaying a mortgage - on a home or rental property - almost always better than saving with term deposits.
KiwiSaver works well for children.
3 Q&As on charitable Christmas giving.

View - It's FREE!

Syndicated column November 25 2008 - Christmas giving that makes you happier too

Struggling retailers aren't going to like this, but how about we make 2008 the year we stop spending ridiculous amounts on Christmas presents we don't need - and often don't even like?

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald November 22 2008

Q&As: Does charity begin in the home country? Salvation Army programme looks good.
List of overseas charities with Christmas gift offerings.
National's KiwiSaver changes could discourage single Mum trying to get ahead - but there's hope they will be altered.
The whole KiwiSaver mortgage diversion issue will be much easier for many under National's changes.
Plus: Readers on KiwiSaver

View - It's FREE!

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 july 19 2008

Q&As: Stop worrying about money, says former spendthrift, now in his seventies.
Employee KiwiSaver can do very nicely thank you if she or he has several employers.
Let's list the KiwiSaver good guy employers, rather than the others.
Employer is confused by government's planned KiwiSaver changes.

View - It's FREE!

Syndicated column May 27 2008: If the Government can do it ...

If there's one topic that I should write about more often, but I avoid because I fear it will turn people off, it's budgeting. But with the government's Budget in the news, now is as good a time as any to consider the way we - as individuals or couples - spend our money. And I promise not to get preachy.

View - It's FREE!

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.

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald November 3 2007

Q&As: Why does the price of our milk rise when overseas demand goes up?
How and when to take a KiwiSaver contributions holiday - for children and adults.
Two Q&As on KiwiSaver tax credits and timing.

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald October 20 2007

THE OTHER B WORD

Budgeting is rather like eating healthily or exercising. Some people like to do it, but for others it's a chore. And for many it's a source of guilt. They think they should do it, but they don't.

This article could be yet another telling the laggards how they will be much better people if they keep track of all their spending. But that's hardly likely to make any more difference than other such articles.

As poet Robert Frost wrote: "Nobody was ever meant, to remember or invent, what he did with every...

View - It's FREE!

Holm Truths summer 06-07

The other B word: While some people find it easy to follow a budget, others struggle. Here are some tips for the latter group.
Also in this issue: From the Mailbox - Couple who sold their house save heaps by renting. But should they wait for a price fall before buying again?

View - It's FREE!

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.

View - It's FREE!

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.

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald December 2 2006

Q&As: A handy rule for quick money calculations
When an ice cream at the movies was a luxury
Insights into the life of a share investor hobbyist
It's hard to know what goes on behind charity closed doors

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald November 25 2006

Q&As: Is it a good idea to go back to 100 per cent mortgage on rental and invest the money in a term deposit?
A reader supports gradually building up a share portfolio.
Another charity offers Christmas gifts for the needy on behalf of your friends and relatives.
Reader wants more info on charities before making gifts.
A Sydney minister's quick-witted response.
Prices then and now - and how houses fit into the picture.
Cathedral carvings show inflation is nothing new.
A reader's pie and doughnut confession.

View - It's FREE!

Syndicated column November 21 2006: Look beyond the dividends

In share fund investing, keep your eye on the prize - the over-all return, not just the fees and dividends.

View - It's FREE!

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?

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald November 11 2006

Q&As: What's happened to the price of pies over the years?
Would it be good for NZ if Inland Revenue was tougher on rental property capital gains?
When is "income" really "profit"?
Reluctant shareholders worry about their lack of power - How best to hold shares.

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald September 30 2006

This is the final week in which we are running excerpts from Mary Holm's bestselling book, "Get Rich Slow: How to grow your wealth the safe and savvy way." Mary's regular Q&A column will resume next week.

TEACHING THE CHILDREN WELL

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald September 2 2006

Q&As: Some options for a whinging woman who can't afford a home.
Is wealthy couple wise to do it themselves when it comes to their investments?
Reader who dislikes "that word" boycotts Toyota.
Getting mean over medians and averages.

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald August 26 2006

Q&As: What you should check out before you buy a house. And who should do the inspection.
Some possible progress on the proposed changes to international investments tax.
Who's right and wrong in the maths on the new coins.
Financial adviser explains how "Jane", with her $1 million in term deposits, could save on fees.

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald August 19 2006

Q&As: The average New Zealander can't afford to buy a house, or can they? The poor don't stay poor.
How one man keeps his costs down.
Flaws with a tax parable? And a man living on $1,000 a year?
An investment adviser gives us inside info on commissions.

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald August 12 2006

Q&As: A few fewer luxuries and many New Zealanders could afford to buy homes.
2 Q&As on whether the Reserve Bank got it right with the new coins.
A financial planner objects to what I said last week about how to choose an adviser.

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

View - It's FREE!

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?

View - It's FREE!

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?

View - It's FREE!

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.

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

Syndicated column December 13 2005: Can't see the forest for the houses? Also: Christmas shopping.

Quick question: Which of the following grew fastest in the last year: New Zealand house prices, New Zealand shares, hedged overseas shares (hedging removes the effects of foreign exchange movements), or unhedged overseas shares?

Surprise, surprise, it wasn't house prices. Bigger surprise still: house prices came last.

View - It's FREE!

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.

View - It's FREE!

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.

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald June 11 2005

Q&AS: Paying extra for using a credit card.
Distortions when considering how good an investment your home is.
First home buyers should probably wait.

View - It's FREE!

NZ Herald May 7 2005

Q&As: A letter to give a spouse who is mean with money.
Where to get info on interest rates.
Returns on share funds, and debt repayment.

View - It's FREE!

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.

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!

Holm Truths autumn 02

Burrowing into borrowing: Buying goods and services using credit cards or hire purchase can hurt your wealth

Also in this issue: Great Debate: Credit cards v EFTPOS

View - It's FREE!

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

View - It's FREE!