As we say goodbye to 2019 and welcome in 2020, it's a good time to catch up on the very best of the Herald columnists we enjoyed reading over the last 12 months. From politics to sport, from business to entertainment and lifestyle, these are the voices and views our audience loved the most. Today it's the top five from finance columnist Mary Holm.
A mortgage at 88 — this Granddad needs help
In this column from September, a reader wrote in for advice for her ailing grandfather. Despite showing early signs of dementia, he was refusing to allow family members to help manage his finances. It was discovered he still had a floating mortgage of around $140,000 as well as over $10,000 in credit card debt. Mary Holm offered some useful advice on how to handle the situation .
It's slim pickings for retired women
After a reader wrote in regarding statistics showing less money in retirement for women, he concluded the statistics must be affected by solo mothers or divorcees - since in his family, women inherited money from their spouses. Mary Holm set the record straight - and reminded the reader trhat his family tree wasn't a scientific survey .
Don't panic over CGT on second homes
When a capital gains tax was still on the cards in 2019, readers wrote in with their concerns - as well as their support of the tax. Mary Holm reassued readers that the new tax might not be as bad as they feared, or that it might not happen at all - which turned out to be the case.
Single again and starting over?
Following a recent divorce, a 48-year-old reader wrote in for advice on "starting over", with no assets to divide. She was considering using her savings and Kiwisaver to put a deposit on a small home or apartment, but wondered if this was the most sensible thing to do. Mary's advice? Nobody knows what will happen with house prices, but at 48 and newly divorced, why not do what you want to do?
Win Lotto, celebrate — then make a plan
Winning Lotto is a dream come true for many - but knowing how to handle a large sum of money can be difficult. When a reader won $200,000, they wrote in for advice on what to do with it - pay off the mortgage or invest? Mary wrote that while the win was substantial, it wasn't seriously life-changing - which could be for the best, because research shows that big winner often don't end up happier.