Q: I am 48 and having recently divorced, I'm starting over.

My husband and I owned no property together, so there were no assets to divide. I'm now starting from basically nothing and contemplating how to build a financial future. To that end, I am on my way to saving $50,000 within the next two years. I am also in KiwiSaver and have minimal personal debt.

Should I use my savings plus my KiwiSaver (which I believe I can do as I'm starting over on my own) as a deposit on a house? Or is it better to forget that idea (I live in Auckland) and keep the money in KiwiSaver, and use the savings to grow a bit of wealth some other way?

I'm aware that if I use my KiwiSaver (currently sitting at about $50,000) it'll go back to zero and I'll have to build it up again, which might not be smart at my age. On the other hand I am in stable, well-paid employment and I plan to keep working as long as I can — at least another 20 years. The idea of owning my own small house or apartment has a lot of appeal, but would it be the most sensible use of my hard-earned savings?

A: Well done for keeping debt low and saving at a great rate. Sure, it's easier when you're on good pay, but still, $25,000 a year is impressive. And it's good to see you're considering using the KiwiSaver withdrawal.

By the way, even if you and your husband had owned a home, you may still have been able to get the KiwiSaver first home benefits as you don't own a home now.

Too many people don't know about this. It's for people whose "realisable" (easy to sell) assets are less than a maximum that varies between $80,000 and $120,000,


Timing the switch

It's money that counts


Unhappy customer

A sum too far