KiwiSaver … How Hard can it be?

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Here are the key intricacies to be aware of in order to optimise your KiwiSaver ready for a happy and long retirement.

Your KiwiSaver, if set up right, can be a game-changer when it comes to your retirement. But to make sure it’s as game-changing as possible, it’s important to ask the right questions of your scheme.

 

When I mention saving for the future, we might think saving up for a holiday or some renos … but I want to talk about saving that big future … 65.

 

What’s that nest egg going to look like when you’re 65? And will your KiwiSaver have done its job by then?

 

The big thing to keep in mind is that KiwiSaver is not a set and forget scheme. There are layers to this scheme that you need to stay aware of. These key layers include:

·      Tax & Contributions: Considerations around your tax rates and contribution amounts.

·      Changes: There are many ongoing tweaks being made to the scheme. For example, on 1 April this year there were changes to the contributions holiday and to the percentages you can contribute; from July, KiwiSaver being opened up to the over 65s; and there are more changes in the pipeline from April 2020.

·      Fund Type: There are funds that will generate a return starkly different than others (don’t just go with the default).

·      PAYE vs Self-Employed: There are considerations for self-employed Kiwis that differ slightly (with contributions) to those on PAYE.

·      Withdrawing Funds: There are several instances where you can dip into your KiwiSaver funds, including: boosting your first-home deposit, if you are permanently immigrating overseas, or as your retirement lump sum. Depending on when you will be (next) needing your funds, will determine a course of action with how your KiwiSaver funds are invested.

 

With many KiwiSaver balances getting to be substantial, talking with an adviser about how your KiwiSaver funds fit into your big picture will ensure you’re getting the best of your investment.

 

When it comes to top tips for your KiwiSaver success, your best plan is to talk with someone who does this for a living, who knows the ins and outs and can give you the information you need to make that informed decision.

 

Simon O'Neill is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

 

Help! I Took my Life Insurance out Through the Bank!

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Some insurance is better than no insurance. But the best insurance is always better. Here’s how to find out if you’ve got the right cover for you.

 

At Velocity we believe that having choice is a good thing, and that getting good advice (from professionals who can offer choice) is even better.

 

If you took your insurance out through the bank, the first thing we would say is “Good on you! New Zealand is one of the most under-insured countries in the developed world and you’ve just helped change that.”  

 

I don't know about you but I find it distressing to look thorough the Give a Little pages and see some incredibly difficult and distressing situations. I only wish I could have sat down with some of those involved many years ago, and put in place some personal insurance that would take one of the challenges out of some awful situations. I realise this is being a little simplistic and I know there are some valid reasons why insurance can't be put in place, however, often it is simply a case of being under insured. 

 

So, if you have personal insurance (life, trauma, income protection, health covers) in place, good on you.

 

However, if you purchased this off someone who can only provide one option, how do you know you are getting the best option in the market?

 

How do you know you are getting the best wording that will give you the most chance of a full payment when the crisis hits? 

 

Ask us to compare what you have with other options in the market and you may be in for a surprise!

 

At Velocity we want to ensure our clients have the best cover for the best price. Our job is to compare the insurance from all the options in New Zealand and recommend a package that will give you the most protection when you really need it. And, what is more, you get us to fight your battles (should they occur) at claim time.

 

Insurance is one of those things you generally only hear about when it doesn't go as it should and so it hits the media. But we know that for every one of those there are hundreds of incredibly relieved and grateful claimants with less stress and more options.

 

Using a Financial Adviser to get the best option in place at the best price and to give you personalised service to us just seems like an absolute no brainer.  

 

If you need to review this, do get in contact with your Velocity adviser.

 

Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

 

Goodbye to Kylie

 

We are sorry to let you know that Kylie is finishing up at Velocity this week. 

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In the three-and-a-half years Kylie has been with us, she has worked with Brendon to make sure his clients have been looked after through the mortgage process. She has also put her design and social media skills to use behind the scenes. 

 

Kylie is moving on to a role closer to home and working as a Marketing Manager. We'll miss you Kylie!

 

If you have been dealing with Kylie, in the interim, do contact Brendon and he will continue to look after you.   

 

We have started the process to find a replacement (how could that be possible??!!). 

How will the Recent Government Housing Changes Affect You?

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Some changes to KiwiBuild have been announced, but will this make any difference

to your average first-home buyers? Brendon takes a look … and tries not to get too

cynical.

In early September, the government’s KiwiBuild was announced. In this

reset there were some announcements about changes to the government’s first-

home grant and the government-sponsored Welcome Home Loan. I suggest these

changes will impact very few of our clients, but let me go through them

here. (And, although I don’t particularly like being cynical, they are completely

underwhelming in my opinion.)

1. KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant will become First Home Grant

A new name ... nothing here.

2. The minimum deposit requirement for the First Home Grant will reduce

to five per cent for both new and existing homes (currently the minimum

deposit is ten per cent) 

It really doesn’t matter if this is reduced to five per cent if the banks aren’t giving

loans without a ten per cent deposit—which they generally aren’t right now.

3. The First Home Grant can be paid to all buyers, who are eligible for the

grant, where there are three or more buyers, by removing the current cap

of $10,000 for existing houses or $20,000 for new properties.  

If you are looking at buying a house with more than two people, great, but don’t

forget there is a maximum purchase price ($500k for existing and $550k for new

houses … and an income cap that still applies).

4. The definition for new properties for First Home Grants will be amended

to define new properties as properties where the Building Code

Compliance Certificate was issued less than twelve months before the date

of the first home buyer’s First Home Grant application (currently this is six

months). 

I haven’t had a situation in the last 5 years where this would have made a

difference.

5. Welcome Home Loan will be renamed First Home Loan

Name change only. Moving right along.

6. The minimum deposit requirement for First Home Loan will reduce to

five per cent for both new and existing properties.

Finally, something. A loan where you only need five per cent deposit! But, again,

don’t forget that the current maximum price the house can be to apply for the

First Home Loan (nee Welcome Home Loan) in Wellington is $500k ($550k for a

new house) and the income is limited to $80k for an individual and $130k for a

two or more. How many house in Wellington can you get for less

than $500k? Or new builds for less than $550k?

I would suggest if the house price limit is increased and the income threshold is

increased, this would make a difference for first home buyers in Wellington. I

would hope this is being looked at with some urgency, otherwise I am sorry but

it seems to me to be business as usual. 

But don’t give up. If you are a first-home buyer we can clarify what your options

are. Do make contact and we can have a chat.

Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No

investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A

disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

Fixed vs Floating

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The interest rates keep falling. Are tiny interest rates the new norm? Should we

lock in one-year rates in the hope they’ll be even lower this time in 2020? Brendon

explores.

Right now, we are securing one-year fixed rates at 3.55% for many of our clients,

with two-year rates not much more. 

Like us you would have heard the economists predictions of further cuts to the

Official Cash Rate. Some are even predicting it to fall to 0.25% (from the current

1%). Holy Moley!! 

I would say, though, that the OCR is only one factor in the banks’ pricing of

interest rates. So there are no guarantees that home loan rates will drop by

another 0.75%.   

Many of our clients are taking advantage of the low one-year rate, because it is

the lowest on the market and because they believe in a year’s time rates will be

as low as they are now, if not lower. It is hard to argue with this sentiment.

If we could say one thing in these times of historic/lowest ever interest rates is

this: make the most of these rates by paying more of your home loan off. 

There are a number of ways to do this and we can help work with you find the

best option for you. The big danger in these times is that, unless you are

intentional about it, you will just adjust your budget to the new lower payments.

Don’t look back on this in 10 years’ time and see this as a missed opportunity to

take some big chunks out of your mortgage.

Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No

investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A

disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

What is the First Home Buyers Club and who should come?

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Lance explains how this free coaching workshop will give you the tools and confidence needed for buying your first home.

 

Whenever we do something for the first time—whether it be starting a new sport, public speaking or the first time behind the wheel—it can be daunting to say the least. And buying a house for the first time can bring about that same sort of sweaty palms and self-doubts and sometimes even more so.

 

You have worked hard, schooled and studied, saved money, put money into KiwiSaver, and now, in buying a house, you are expected to do something you have never done before and you’re expected to trust people you have never met. Plus, there is more on the line than ever before when it comes to buying a house and it can have the added pressure of very tight timelines. And then someone comes along and asks you why you are so stressed!

 

Well, here is something I hope will relax you.

 

If you are looking to purchase your first home and if you’re feeling nervous, stressed and maybe a little lost, then I say to you, that is exactly how you should feel! And this is why for the last four years I have run the First Home Buyers workshops.

 

At these evening sessions, I explain how the different banks lend, what they are looking for, how to get a loan and unpack what a pre-approval means. And we bring in some of the best minds in the industry …

 

·      You’ll hear from a real estate agent about what is currently happening in the property market, and how to decide on a price to put on a property.

·      A lawyer will explain what to look out for when it comes time to write down your offer on the dotted line, giving you peace of mind when offering.

·      And often we will have a building inspector to give you the tricks for spotting a warm Wellington home from a cold, damp potential nightmare. 

 

Our hope is that after you have come along to the First Home Buyers Club that you will surprise yourself at how calm and confident you are. That you’ll feel equiped and ready to charge head first into getting your first home.

 

It’s the perfect opportunity to learn from the industry experts, ask those burning questions and chop down what can seem like a mountain of a job into bite-sized, manageable tasks.

 

So, come along! Check us out on Facebook or on our website for upcoming First Home Buyers Club. Dates. And it’s totally free-of-charge! I look forward to meeting you, hearing about your journey so far, and answering your questions.

 

Lance Shearman is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

We’re Building Our First Home: Part One

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Stevie and her partner decided that building was the right first step for them to get on the property ladder. This series is an insight into the reasons why and their struggles and joys along the way.

I come from a family of house-buyers-and-flippers. I'm the first one to build their first home (or any home to be exact) and that comes with its fair share of eyebrow raises at family get togethers. However, what shocks me is that more people in Wellington aren't doing it.

 

Believe it or not, our house buying journey actually started at Buyers Club at Velocity Financial.

 

My partner and I had been talking about buying our first home but put it on the back burner until we had more deposit saved up. After attending Buyers Club, we flirted with the idea of using our parents as guarantors for our deposit and started house hunting.

 

We considered everything—building, buying new and buying secondhand—but we were under the impression that buying secondhand would be the easiest and cheapest option.

 

The reality that Wellingtonians and Aucklanders are finding is that buying new and buying secondhand can be the same price, depending on the area you are looking.

 

Six months of house hunting, countless open homes and four failed attempts at trying to buy a property, we reached our limit for attending open homes. We were tired of spending our spare time going to open homes and scouring TradeMe for our dream home. We decided that October would be our last month of house hunting until the new year.

 

We had also come to two key conclusions by this stage of the house hunting process:

  1. To get the house we wanted, we would have to spend more money on a house than we had originally planned; and,

  2. We may not be living in the suburbs we originally had wanted to.

 

Discussing these revelations with everyone at work, the topic of a new build came up again, so we started hunting around. We found a few developments who were selling "turn-key" builds. What this means is that you sign up, pay a deposit and agree to buy the property when it has been built. This means that you aren't paying rent and a mortgage at the same time (which was perfect for us).

 

We found a development that was 20 minutes further out of town than originally desired but it would give us a warm, dry home with a ten-year warranty and it was so much bigger than we originally thought we could get.

 

More than that, we could use a ten per cent deposit and not have to use any parents as guarantors! We would also have the ability to save up as much money as we could before the build was complete. We travelled to the show home, looked around at the model home and signed up then and there.

 

In the last 10 months since we signed up, a lot has happened and not a lot has happened. We've finalised the plans of the property, picked out our colours and appliances and saved, saved, saved! There has been an array of emotions from excited about moving out of our damp rental to nervousness that our place won't be built before next winter. But our foundations have been laid and we can now see the finish line.

 

My one piece of advice through this process is this: Don't dismiss a new build just because it seems expensive or not in your perfect suburb or because you don't know anyone else doing it. Talk to someone who has done it and decide whether it could be right for you. You might just be surprised.

Knowing What I Know Now, What Would My First Home Look Like?

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By Graham Goodisson

 

Listen in as Graham shares his property purchasing insights with a younger, less-real-estate-savvy version of himself.  

 

It’s obviously a little unfair to answer this question being that I am a different person now, however, it’s an interesting window into some of the key lessons I’ve learnt working in the industry over the years.

 

So, for starters, I would not be so conservative with that first purchase. I would push the envelope so to speak. Why? Well, because lots of the terrible things that might happen tend not to (obviously this is not financial advice to act on and, please, do see my lawyer!).

 

Another factor that I overlooked was not knowing how the house needed to work for young kids. This was unfortunate as my first son was born three days after we moved in. I would value drive-on access above all other things—because, with a young family in Wellington winters, drive-on is a gift.

 

I would value sun more. I would visit the house I was interested in at different times of the day and on windy days! Basically, more than just at open home times.

 

I would buy as soon as I could—not delay it. If it’s possible then make it happen.

 

I would avoid the trendy Resene colour-of-the-day when renovating. All tenants that followed hated the yellow walls and polished floor boards (they wanted carpet). I would also know that renovating bathrooms and kitchens does cost more than you think so, if I had a choice, take the house with those things done.

 

I would also now know that all house reno’s do need consents!

 

Luckily, I didn't know any of the above and just ploughed on regardless, its amazing how you make it work.

 

Graham Goodisson is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

Should I Buy Now or Later?

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You’ve got a small deposit saved up, so should you buy a house now or save up for a bigger deposit? Brendon explores and offers some tips on timing the market and seizing the day.

 

I talk to potential first-home buyers every week and one of the most common questions I am asked is, "Should I buy now or should I keep saving and wait a bit?”

 

This is how I answer.

 

1) You have to have at least ten per cent deposit. 

 

If you want to buy a house for $500,000, $50k is pretty much a minimum figure needed through savings or KiwiSaver (or a combo of the two. If you haven't got that (and you can't get some help from family—which is another blog in itself) then keep saving! 

 

Be aware also that banks are a little tougher with a ten per cent deposit than a 20 per cent deposit. And some types of property (i.e. apartments) won't be possible to purchase with only ten per cent. That aside all aside, however, you may well be ready to go.

 

So, if you have ten per cent then lets have a talk. 

 

2)  If you have 20 per cent deposit, you are in a better position to buy. 

 

Twenty per cent is the magic number, and if you fall just short of that, and you can get there within a few months, it may be worth saving hard to get to this figure. When you go to the bank with 20 per cent, the deal you will get (in terms of interest rates and the cash contribution they offer) will be better and the banks will be a little more lenient on the amount of income you need.

 

So, in summary …

 

Don't be put off by number 1. Lots of my first-home buyers only have ten per cent and they have successfully purchased their first home.

 

Finally, a helpful comment on getting in to the market ... 

 

I would argue that when you are ready to buy (see above) and you find the house you want to live in, then attempt to buy it. If you plan to hold the property for many years, I am just not convinced "timing the market” is the way to go. 

 

Take the Wellington market, for example. There was high price inflation from 2000-2007 (with a wee slow down in 2004). The Global Financial Crisis happened and Wellington house prices "nudged back" by maybe five per cent. They were then steady right through till 2016, and since then have increased by around 40 per cent. Through all this period of almost 20 years, the best time to buy would have always been "today". 

 

I am not promising there will be no market corrections in the years to come, however, Wellington’s house market history is periods of stability followed by bursts of increases. Adding to this argument is, the longer you plan to hold the property, the less relevant trying to "time the market” becomes, because, prices will increase over time. If you’re planning on trading properties, that is a completely different conversation—another blog!

 

Yes there is a conversation around renting forever and investing the savings. If you are that way inclined, there is a conversation to be had, but if, at some stage, you are wanting to live in a house you own, then see above.

 

At the risk of sounding like a real estate agent (forgive me all my real estate agent friends!) I think it is generally true, the best time to buy your first house is now!

 

Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

 

 

Fixed vs. Floating

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By Brendon Ojala

 

Now that we’re all getting used to seeing interest rates starting with a three, has the time come to lock it in for the long haul? And are there any hidden catches with these super low rates? Brendon answers all.

You will have seen banks advertising one- and two-year rates at 3.79% in the last couple of weeks. The trick with these is to watch for the little "conditions apply” asterix.

To secure these incredibly low rates you generally need to have a 20 per cent deposit, it needs to be your owner-occupied house, and the bank needs to be your "main bank" (that usually means you need your income going in to one of their accounts, and some times they require another product like a credit card or insurance with them).

It is pretty hard to go past these current low rates. Plus, there doesn't seem to be a lot of upside risk to interest rate rises, either in NZ or offshore. As I have been banging on about all year, the only upside risk I see is the Reserve Bank imposing new "capital requirements" on to banks which could lead to rising rates—so just watch for this at the end of this year.

The big news of the week of course was Official Cash Rate drop by half a percent. This level of drop caught almost all by surprise, and has led to banks dropping their floating rates (and at time of writing, some banks are also nudging down their fixed two years rates). The big question is this: how much lower can home loan rates go?

If you subscribe to the belief that rates will keep going lower, you would be fixing your interest rates for a short period (probably a year) and hoping that in a year they are even lower. You may also hold of locking in your rate, until you need to. You will start getting letters from the banks and emails from us 8 weeks prior to the refix date. In a world of lowering rates not rushing in would seem like a sensible strategy. If you are a little more conservative, you may be happy to lock away a sub-four per cent three-year rate, so you know what your mortgage payments will be for awhile yet.

Regardless of rates, you should seriously consider keeping some flexibility in your mortgage, because if you can pay a little more, you are going to save SIGNIFICANTLY on the amount of interest you pay to the bank over the course of the loan. How do you do this? Well, that’s an individual conversation, so don't hesitate to get in touch with your Velocity adviser to make sure you’re making hay in this sunny patch of interest rate weather.

Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

Handy Hint for Being Application Ready

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Online statements are great for the trees, but not so great when it comes to proving your address while making an important application. Here’s a quick ninja tip for both saving the planet and saving yourself some stress.

 

These days it’s great to see so many companies encouraging us to use and download online statements, rather than printed copies. Some are even charging for paper statements to encourage us to do our bit for the planet.

 

However, it can be an issue if you need to prove your address at any stage.

 

Whether you’re opening a new bank account, putting something on hire purchase or buying/selling a house, they will require a utility bill or bank statement that has been sent to your home to confirm your address in the last three months.

 

So, a handy hint from the people who have helped process hundreds of mortgage applications …

 

If you have no utility bill or bank statement coming to your home address, get something (i.e. a utility bill or bank statement) sent to your home address at least once. This might mean turning paper statements on and then off after a delivery or two. Simple solution.

 

No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

 



Brendon's Health Saga: Part Two

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Who would have thought? One week after writing about a health incident from 12 years ago, Brendon had another similar incident. The shock of it aside, it’s a great reminder of the tremendous benefits of health insurance.

 

When I left you last month, I had just been declined for insurance cover due to the fact that I had a PFO (slightly dodgy valve) in my heart. When first discovered 12 years ago, the medical advice was to leave it, however, the advice now seems to be to get it corrected, according to the medical people at the previously mentioned insurance company.

 

I had also mentioned that the reason I discovered this 12 years ago I had had some neurological issues that led to some "stroke like" symptoms.

 

Fast forward six weeks—the week after writing last month’s blog,—after 12 years of no symptoms, I suffered some further "stroke like symptoms". This was very weird that they occurred just a week after the PFO issue was brought back to my memory.

 

So, anyway, off to the GP who referred me to neurology at the hospital (who, by the way, saw me within one hour of my GP ringing them—thanks public health system) and I was diagnosed with "probable migraines—rather than a stroke". 

 

So, good news. I was then given a four month wait to see a cardiologist regarding the PFO issue (not so good work, public health system).

 

This is where my health insurance kicks in. 

 

Two days later I have an appointment with a cardiologist. And, all things considered, it seems it is worth getting my PFO “closed”. The procedure is covered by health insurance ($21k worth) and I am booked in to have it done on 26 June. The only wee snag at this stage is that I am out of the country on the 29 June, so we are now juggling dates between me, two specialists and operating facilities. 

 

The other add-on to this story is an add-on to my health insurance.  The insurer I am with has a scheme where you can get an "expert medical opinion from one of their world renowned specialists".  So, for professional interest, more than anything, I have asked for a second opinion regards to the diagnosis of the migraines and the advice to get my PFO closed. To be honest I am not expecting a change, however, it will be reassuring to get these things confirmed.

 

Stay tuned for the third exciting instalment next month ...  

 

Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

Dust off the Fitbit: Introducing AIA’s Vitality

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Insurance rewards for exercising and looking after ourselves are coming to New Zealand. Graham explains. 

 

AIA, who now own Sovereign, are about to be all over the place with a rebrand and also an upcoming release of their Vitality programme. 

 

"AIA Vitality is a world-leading, science-backed wellness programme that encourages people to look after their health and wellbeing, while benefiting from lower premiums and other rewards." — Taken straight from AIA's website.

 

I'm excited about the concept and am participating in the Vitality programme. I don't necessarily need the motivation for exercise (I do like the rewards I get for current behaviour) but will benefit form the motivation to be more proactive and regular with the health checks that a 53-year-old male needs.

 

For all existing and new Sovereign and AIA clients we will be actively promoting the Vitality programme, as the rewards and savings are genuine and well worth it.

 

For more information, go to https://www.aia.co.nz/en/campaign/championing-a-healthier-more-protected-nz.html and watch this space for updates from us. 

 

Graham Goodisson is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

It’s Time to Check Your KiwiSaver

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This time of year is especially important for the self-employed, but the rest of us can use the KiwiSaver “anniversary” to make sure we have it all dialled in properly. Here’s how.

 

The KiwiSaver calendar year runs 1 July to 30 June. The Member Tax Credit from the government (to a maximum of $521.43) will be paid out over the coming months, assuming you have contributed the minimum of $1,042.86.

 
If you’re PAYE, 18 or older, earning $35k or more, and have three per cent from your salary (and your employer matching that with three per cent) then you will have reached the threshold.


If you’re self-employed, then, as we hope you know, you’ll need to make voluntary contributions. You may have set this up with a direct debit from your account or perhaps you’re planning to make a lump sum to your KiwiSaver. If you’re the latter, pay those voluntary contributions today—you are running out of time.

 

If you need to make a voluntary contribution and think $1,042.86 is not in the budget, don’t be discouraged, you can still receive 50c on the dollar if you deposit anything up to $1,042.86. So, if you put in $500, the Government contribution will still be $250.

 

This “KiwiSaver New Year” is also a perfect opportunity to ensure that your KiwiSaver is set up right for you. That is, that you are not sitting in a default fund and that your tax rate is correct.

 

Default Funds
When it comes to the default funds it is simply the worst place for many savers to be, yet there is not an effective way by providers (or the government) to get those members to move.


The big problem with the default funds is they are largely invested in lower risk, lower return assets like cash and bonds (maximum investment in growth assets like shares is 25 per cent). The lower the return, the lower that retirement nest egg will be.


There’s more than $8b (yes, billion) invested in KiwiSaver now. The 400,000 KiwiSavers who are invested in default funds, missed out on an estimated $1 billion over the last 8 years.

 

The tax rate can be a game changer for you as well. Some Kiwi’s (around 120,000) are paying more tax than they need to. It, literally, can pay to have your tax rate (for Kiwisaver, this is your Prescribed Investor Rate or PIR) correct. If it’s wrong, changing it could make a difference of $26,000 for you in your KiwiSaver. That’s a significant chunk of a first home deposit—or your retirement income.

Google “KiwiSaver tax rate” and get yours in line.

 

Simon O’Neill is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

Engaging a Solicitor: More Than Words

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A good solicitor can make the world of difference when it comes to saving yourself from painful property mistakes.

 

We all know the playground saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” However, injuries might be painful, but they’re also typically temporary. Conversely, words can hurt long after the fact, sometimes nagging us for years or decades. Words can have carry the pain in property.

 

The downstream effects from the words you write (or don’t write) on a Sale and Purchase Agreement could bring immense and ongoing financial pain to you, your immediate family and often your wider family.

 

The antidote to these negative side effects of our words, is today’s word of the day: solicitor.

 

Many believe that simply saying the word “solicitor” out loud can trigger fees to be automatically deducted from your savings account. But is this a good enough reason not to engage your friendly local solicitor early in the house buying process?

 

I have heard it said numerous times, “I will contact the solicitors after I get my offer accepted.” This is a crucial mistake, because solicitors are not magicians. If you have signed and agreed to something, it is pretty difficult and expensive to get out of it, and sometimes it isn’t possible to get out at all.

 

We all need solicitors to purchase property/land, and they are far more helpful to us when we use them prior to our seal being inked to paper. For a relatively small investment up front, they can prevent all sorts of painful mistakes in the future. 

 

Here are some things to consider with your solicitor prior to making an offer:

·      Do you know the detail of the contract?

·      What work has been done on the property and has it been consented?

·      What about the neighbouring properties? Do they have future work consented? And how will this affect you or the future value of your property?

·      Can you get insurance for this property? If not, then the bank will not be lending any money.

·      What are your rights regarding the builders report?

·      What should I or should I not circle, tick or cross out?

·      Can I get my KiwiSaver out in time?

There are far more questions to answer than this, and each property has its own quirks, but you get the idea of the things a solicitor can help you with. 

 

Also, if time is money, then having a solicitor read through screeds of documentation on your behalf will save you plenty. An experienced solicitor will know what to look for and will sum up the risks very quickly. Allowing you peace of mind when making your offer.

 

Lance Shearman is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.