Saving for the future

When you are finding it hard to make ends meet saving can seem impossible. However, even little amounts over long periods of time can add up to substantial sums. One of the best ways to optimize your savings is through the Kiwi Saver Scheme. This represents a great deal for savers as both government and your employer will contribute to your savings. It may be tempting to put it off for the future, but it is something we all need to consider no matter our stage in life. This is especially so because the superannuation scheme currently in place is not guaranteed to us when we retire. We need to think about what we would do if we didn’t have that money to fall back on.
For more information on Kiwisaver go the website: 
Alternatively if you want to talk to someone personally about Kiwisaver try one of the many free budgeting services available throughout the country.  

For Ngai Tahu whanui there is also the saving scheme Whai Rawa that should be considered. For more information on this click here:

Before you buy a Home

For many New Zealanders’ home-ownership is a major financial goal and is seen as the key investment. There are a number of non-financial benefits that often come from the stability of home ownership including improved health, educational achievement and a sense of being part of the community. However, there are no guarantees on where the house market is headed and home ownership is not the right decision for everyone. Give careful thought about what is best for you before making this life changing decision. 

If owning your own home is a life goal for you, here are some tips to help get you there.

1. Save Towards a Deposit 

In order to purchase your own home you need to have a deposit. Keep in mind that the more you have the less you have to borrow. This will save you a lot of money in interest, so it's important you put aside savings. 

2. Take steps to make sure you are someone the bank will want to lend to

  • Your employment – are you (and your partner) in steady work? How much do you earn?
  • Having evidence of a budget and regular savings is evidence to banks that you manage your finances     effectively. 
  • Your credit history – avoid having garbage debt and ensure you make payments on time. 
Can you do any of these things better to help improve your financial record? For example, can you take steps to make sure you are paying your bills consistently on time. This will not only make you look more financially savvy, it will also help you to avoid late payment fees.

3. Calculate the real cost

Firstly, you need to calculate what the likely repayments on a house in your price range would be. Go to your bank's website to use their calculator or visit sorted.org.nz.

You also need to consider that while interest rates are currently low there are no guarantees that they will stay this low. There are also other costs associated with owning a home such as rates, insurance and maintenance which need to be considered. These can add up to a considerable amount and should not be overlooked. 

4. Finding the right home

When choosing a home it is important to think carefully about what things matter to you and you whānau. If you are not sure, going to open homes can often clarify what you want in a house. 

Things to consider are: 
  • Location – Is the area likely to go up in value? Is it close to schools, your work, whānau and friends? 
  • Size – does it have enough (or too many) rooms? Is the lounge/ kitchen an appropriate size?

5. Get the right advice

If you think you have found the right house make sure that you have received the right advice so you can feel confident in your investment. This means you should: 
  • Go to the council and get the LIM report. 
  • Have a building inspector look over the house. 
  • Have a lawyer check the title and clarify your legal obligations. 

6. Are you with the right bank?

Shop between the banks to make sure you get the best possible deal. While, 0.2% might not seem like much it will make a big difference to how much you have to pay.