Are you taking advantage of low mortgage interest rates?

Mortgage interest rates are historically low and have been for a while.  Are you being smart and taking advantage of the opportunity?  For most people your mortgage is the biggest financial commitment you have during your life and one you will usually have for a few decades. Low interest rates are fantastic for being able to borrow money cheaply and make it easier to buy the home you want.  However the catch is that you have a massive mortgage

The Best Retirement Plan Ever

Outside England’s Bristol Zoo there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 buses.  For 25 years, its parking fees were managed by a very pleasant attendant.  The fees were £1.40 cars and £7 for buses. Then, one day, after 25 solid years of never missing a day off work, he just didn’t show up; so the Zoo Management called the City Council and asked it to send them another parking attendant. The Council did some research and

5 Tips To Help You Achieve Your Goals

Many of us have the best intentions in the world but we often fall off the wagon, think it is all too hard and struggle to get back on it again.  Below are some tips to help make it easier for you to achieve your goals. 1. Have one main goal Nobody reaches their potential by scattering themselves in lots of different directions.  Reaching your potential requires focus.  You must also decide what you are willing to sacrifice. 2.

Are you looking for a charitable way to really make a difference?

Life can be challenging at the best of times, let alone when you are trying to juggle treatment for a serious illness, medical appointments, and looking after the family.  But everyday New Zealanders are dealing with this on a regular basis. set up a Charitable Trust for you to be able to practically support an individual that is going through an unexpected life or health change.  Many worthy charities request donations. They too do amazing work, but you

8 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a penny

If Christmas is tough for you financially, cut down on gifts and consider less tangible ones, they are often the most valuable.  In our busy lives we often don’t take the time to communicate how much we care about those close to us.  The ideas below take no money, just a little bit of time and some imagination. 1THE GIFT OF LISTENING... But you must REALLY listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.

The New Zealand Money Guide

Questions from the Northern Advocate which is syndicated to the Bay of Plenty Times, Rotorua Daily Post, Hawkes Bay Today and Wanganui Chronicle What inspired you to write The New Zealand Money Guide? I’ve always been passionate about helping educate people to be smarter with their finances so they have more options in their lives.  This book was a great way to do that. Do you think New Zealanders in general overspend and if so why? Yes they do and

Common Sense – an under rated financial skill

When thinking about how people make financial decisions I believe common sense is surprisingly uncommon.  May be its because we are so used to following rules that we forget the basics?  May be its because we are so busy?  I think the good old common sense is a critical component of making good decisions.  Below is a parable that I came across that provides a good reminder of the value of common sense. London Times Obituary of the late

Important things to consider before entering into a partnership

It is often said that going into a business partnership is just as complex and involved as a marriage.  In my experience I would strongly agree with this.  I’ve seen everything from incredibly successful partnerships through to ones that have been a complete nightmare.  Let’s look at some areas you might like to consider before you enter a partnership with another party.  A partnership could include investing, business or property investing partnerships. Formal partnership vs collaboration Does the arrangement

I still have a mortgage and don’t earn a lot, when do I start saving for retirement?

The short answer is start today, no matter how small the investment is it all adds up over time.  If you go through your spending and check if you are spending wisely.  Is there an area where you can cut back even just a little?  Is there an alternative cheaper option for something you are buying?  Have you checked that you really need everything you are spending your money on? Have you thought about taking on an extra job? 

Customers urged to negotiate for better deals from banks

If yours is up for review, get in touch with your bank. If there seem to be better rates in the market, ask if they can match them. It is a competitive market and banks are under pressure to hold on to good business. There is more than half a percentage point in difference between the cheapest and most expensive two-year rates in the market. Banking expert Claire Matthews said winter tended to be a less frantic time

How to save for your children’s university fees

Any new graduate will tell you there is something quite disheartening about seeing 12 per cent of your new salary being siphoned off to student loan payments. While the scheme is currently interest free for borrowers who remain in New Zealand, the average student loan debt is more than $20,000 and graduates say that affects their ability to start saving for their retirements, or a first home. But if you start saving now you can make it easier

How much in savings should I be putting away for a ‘rainy’ day?

A: Many financial planners suggest having an emergency account, with enough money to cover at least three months’ worth of fixed expenses. This emergency account becomes your savings for a rainy day fund. If anything should happen to knock you off your feet, you do not want to be forced to sell your house, car or other assets. If something does happen, it is easy to stop your variable spending, such as not buying new clothes and no social spending.  

A financial advisor recently recommended we take out a variety of life insurances. What do we need?

The only challenge with life insurance is that you can’t buy it when you need it.  You need to buy it ahead of time just in case you might need it.    Generally speaking, the more debt and dependants you have the more insurance you need.  In your early 20s you may not need a lot of insurance but as you go through life, have children and get a mortgage, you need the most amount of insurance.  Then as your

I have three credit cards and a car loan. Is it a good financial decision to consolidate them and take out one big loan?

The answer to your question is that it depends.  Consolidating all of your debts into one loan can either be a great idea saving you money and helping you get on top of your debts, or the opposite in that it costs you more money and stress.    Debt consolidation is getting one loan, at a lower interest rate, and paying off all of your debts with this one loan.  Often people will get a personal loan which will generally have

Top 5 tips for first home buyers

Lisa Dudson provides her top 5 tips for first home buyers to help them get into their first home and out of the first home buyers market. Look at buying a property within your means.  Find a good online mortgage calculator to work out how much your mortgage repayments and other property related expenses are going to be. Assess if you can actually afford them.  Your calculations should also include worst case scenarios of interest rates rising. If you find

No idea how to best manage your money and wonder if you can ever afford to get a mortgage to buy a house? Here are some tips

There is no doubt most of us can do better with our money.  I can teach you how to manage your money. If you learn some basic principles you will be able to afford to save and get yourself into a home, or whatever else that might be important to you. Here are 10 Simple tips for managing your money: Review your budget or if you don’t have one, develop one.  This will help you get a

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