Speaker: Mary Holm

Host: Southern GWN

Venue: Tūranga, Christchurch

Date: 26 February 2020

Attendance: 130

Southern GWN Te Aka Wāhine o Te Waipounamu were pleased to host Mary Holm who presented a finance seminar about making the most of your money.

Mary is the author of six books, four of which have been on the NZ bestseller list. She is also an award-winning columnist and writes a Q&A personal finance column in the Weekend Herald and the Money Talk column in the Australian Women’s Weekly NZ edition. Mary is interviewed on money issues every second Thursday on National Radio, is a director of Financial Services Complaints Ltd (FSCL), and frequently discusses personal finance in the media.

The response from Southern GWN members was very enthusiastic and there were attendees from a wide range of government agencies. Audience members were extremely engaged with many attendees commenting on how authentic and accessible Mary was in presenting her knowledge. Mary provided a broad selection of tips and insights about money management, investment, debt, retirement savings and more.

Key messages

  • Find ways to kill off debt: especially high interest loans. It may be better to add to your low rate mortgage, then increase your mortgage payment to avoid keeping the extra debt for 30 years. Use debt management tools like www.sorted.org.nz to check your current mortgage rate and see how fast you can pay it off if you increase the payment.
  • Curb spending. Are you buying things that lose value or gain value?
  • Find your best KiwiSaver fund. Even if you have another Super plan it's beneficial to have KiwiSaver as the Government will pay you $521.00 if you put in at least $1,043.00 per year ($87.00/month). There are many KiwiSaver funds to choose from catering to all kinds of personal priorities (e.g. ethical KiwiSaver funds).
  • Make sure you're getting the most from your employer. Contributing enough to your KiwiSaver to get maximum employer contribution will make a big difference in the long run.
  • Save painlessly. Save a regular amount and get used to not having it. Make saving a habit.
  • Buy a house or be happy not buying one.
  • Move confidently towards and through retirement (hint: you don’t need $1 million). If you have $100k saved it is an extra $100 per week you can spend; $500k saved is an extra $500 per week.
  • It’s best to ‘set and forget’ your investments. Investigate funds then find the right one for you: defensive, conservative, balanced, growth or aggressive. Don’t keep checking your funds, as they're volatile in the short term. Don’t bail out – it's a long-term investment.
  • Pay an expert for expert and independent advice. Some “free” advisors are connected to certain plans or funds and may promote that plan rather than looking at the best options for you.


Mary Holm speaks to a packed house at Southern GWN's February event

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