Being asked by a friend of family member for money can be such an emotionally charged situation - you want to help them out but at the same time you don't want them knocking on your door every time they feel short of cash.

I remember helping my sister out of a financial hole years back after she decided selling door to door house alarms on a commission only basis would be a good idea.

It all came unstuck when she couldn't meet her rent or bill payments after some of the sales fell through.

We lent her money but it came on the condition that she pay us back and find a job that would at the minimum pay for her expenses.


We didn't demand that she quit her commission only job but she figured out soon enough that it wasn't really worth the effort.

It was a good lesson for someone in their early 20s to learn.

Diana Clements' piece on lending to friends and family has some great tips on how to avoid getting into trouble if you do decide help out.

Asking for more
Mary Holm's column also has a great lesson in learning to negotiate with your bank or financial institution.

A reader who rung the ANZ to ask if it could offer a better rate on a term deposit which was due to roll-over soon was rewarded by a better offer.

While asking for more doesn't always work - as some of those commenting on the column have pointed out - it never hurts to try.

Being armed with information on what others are offering can help with your case.

The financial website has the most up to date information on deposit rates and mortgage rates and presents them in an easily comparable format.


It's not just term deposits which can be negotiable but mortgages and other financial products.

Don't be afraid to ask: Is that the best you can offer me?

Ethical investing
It's hard for the average Joe to imagine religion affecting your KiwiSaver retirement savings.

But as Helen Twose's KiwiSaver Q&A notes it's a real issue for those who are of the Muslim faith and are forbidden to receive interest.

According to Statistics New Zealand there were 46,149 people who identified themselves as being of the Muslim faith in the 2013 census.

Yet nearly seven years after KiwiSaver first started it's only now that the first fund that will act in accordance with Islamic principles is about to be launched.

The Amanah New Zealand KiwiSaver fund will invest in up to 50 US listed companies and be sharia compliant.

If KiwiSaver is made compulsory down the track it could pose problems for the politicians if some parts of our society don't feel like they have much choice in where they can put their money.

All KiwiSaver funds are supposed to outline their stand on social and ethical responsibilities - whether they have one or not - in their investment documents but so far few people have paid much attention too it.

That could all change if the scheme does become compulsory.