Tamsyn Parker 's Opinion

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald's Money Editor

Tamsyn Parker: How safe is your KiwiSaver provider?

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

I remember the collapse of the local finance company industry like it was yesterday even though it's now six or seven years since many of the companies got into trouble.

As a reporter I attended numerous meetings full of grey-haired people all asking when they would see their money back.

Many had their life savings tied up with the finance companies and losing the money meant losing that little bit extra on top of New Zealand Superannuation which might have allowed them to go out to dinner, go on an overseas holiday or treat the grandchildren.

Some $9 billion was put at risk through those companies but in general I think it was quite a small part of the population - mainly retired savers - who got hurt by it.

However it's no surprise that some people fear the same thing happening to their KiwiSaver nest eggs.

Helen Twose's KiwiSaver Q&A addresses the concerns of one such reader this week.

We are all taught to spread risk by not having all our "eggs" in one basket.

But when it comes to KiwiSaver it's only possible to go with one provider.

Fortunately this issue is balanced by a number of protective factors as explained here.

LEARNING TO SAVE
I can certainly relate to Diana Clement's piece about some decades of life being more expensive than others and the age of 25 to 35 being one of the most expensive.

Mortgage payments, taking time off to have babies and childcare all seem to become a hard reality around this age, although I'm not sure it gets much better after 35 given the number of women delaying starting a family until then.

Clement's article talks about couples who have made it easier on themselves by planning ahead and saving from an early age.

If only your 35 year old self could talk to your 20 year old self and give a reality check!

For me the easiest time to start saving was straight out of university after I got my first full time job but that's not possible for everyone.

Learning the savings habit can be tough especially if it's not something you were brought up with.

Here are some great suggestions to start talking about savings with your kids.

PAYING OFF THE MORTGAGE
Mary Holm's column also has a good tip about avoiding having to pay for something being the equivalent to receiving money when it comes to creating wealth.

Holm tells a reader to sell their shares to pay off part of a mortgage on an Auckland apartment rental.

While some of those commenting don't agree this is the best approach it certainly gives the highest level of certainty.

It's far easier to work out what a mortgage will cost than what the return on a share investment might be in the future.

But I guess it's down to the individual how much risk they want to take on.

There's also been some great suggestions on how to help a solo mum of three teenagers considering whether to renovate her house or sell as is.

The decision to renovate can depend so much on where the house is located and how much work needs to be done.

I was shocked at the state of a house being advertised for sale in Grey Lynn the other day but the real estate agent was convinced buyers would see through the mess to the property's potential.

Check it out here.

- NZ Herald

Tamsyn Parker

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald's Money Editor

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald's Money Editor. A business journalist for ten years, she has worked in the UK and NZ for the New Zealand Herald, the National Business Review and a specialist publication on investment products for financial advisors. She is passionate about helping readers learn more about to make their money work for them.

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