The easiest $521 you’ll ever make

If you’re relatively new to KiwiSaver or don’t know too much about it, then you may not know that there’s an incentive put in place by the Government that basically means you could get up to $521 a year just for contributing to your KiwiSaver account. Here’s the scoop:

Each year, if you qualify, the Government will contribute 50 cents for every dollar you contribute to your KiwiSaver account – up to a maximum Government contribution of $521.43. Sounds good, right?

To get the maximum credit, you need to contribute at least $1,042.86 during the MTC year, which runs from 1 July to 30 June, and be eligible for the full year.

With 30 June fast approaching, if you haven’t already contributed enough, now is the time to top-up your account to make the most of this great incentive.

Anything else you need to know?

Visit bnz.co.nz/mtc for more information and eligibility criteria. Importantly, if you joined KiwiSaver part way through the MTC year, or were eligible for only part of the year (for example, you turned 18 during the year), then your maximum MTC entitlement will be pro-rated depending on how long you qualified to receive it.

Have you contributed enough?

The onus is on you to check you’ve paid enough into your KiwiSaver account each year. It can be a bit tricky to know exactly how much you’ve contributed in any one year, especially if you’ve been contributing to your KiwiSaver account directly via your salary or wages. That’s because there is a delay between your contributions being collected by your employer and these making their way through the system and into your KiwiSaver account.

Here are some quick tips to know if you’ve contributed enough to maximise your MTC this year:

  • If you earn an annual salary or wages of $35,000 or more and have contributed at a minimum rate of 3% from your pay, then the chances are you’re on track to maximise your credit.
  • If you make voluntary contributions equivalent to $20 a week or more, you’ll also be on track.
  • Register and log in to ‘My KiwiSaver’, a service provided by Inland Revenue, where you can see all of the contributions you’ve made into your KiwiSaver account via your salary or wages.
  • If you’re a member of the BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme, log in to BNZ Internet Banking to see what your member contributions add up to. Remember, not all of your more recent contributions may have arrived into your KiwiSaver account as yet.
  • Check your pay slips to see how much you’ve contributed.

Time is running out!

If you haven’t made the most of your entitlement this year, it’s not too late. You can make a one-off contribution to top up your account. The easiest way is to make a voluntary payment to your KiwiSaver account.

If you’re a member of the BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme and a BNZ customer, log in to BNZ Internet Banking and simply transfer the money between your accounts. Our advice would be to ensure that your money is in your BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme account by Wednesday 24 June to make sure it counts.

If your KiwiSaver account is with another provider, please check with them for the easiest way to make a contribution and when they’d need to receive this by.

Donna Nicolof is BNZ’s Head of Wealth and Private Bank

Resilience in business: 5 steps to get started

“Resilience” is a buzz word that farmers will be hearing a lot of at this year’s Fieldays. But what exactly is resilience? We asked Resilient Farmer founder Doug Avery (2010 South Island Farmer of the Year and 2013 Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year) for his point of view.

Continue reading…

Planning for an uncertain future

Simon Pickering is a BNZ Asset Finance Specialist with an interest in agribusiness. 

One of the overriding themes of any lending decision we make is that all the deals are done with an eye on the future — the idea being the minimisation of undue risk. When we’re setting up a loan structure, the time frames involved mean we’re setting up repayment schedules for periods that are usually years down the track. Predicting the future is hard. But if we take a look at some of the issues the agribusiness sector is facing, we can make some very well informed decisions all the same.

For farmers or agricultural contractors, the ability to plan ahead is often hindered by things outside of their control. The most obvious example of this come thanks to two poor seasons in a row for dairy farmers who’ll likely be squeezed for cashflow as a result. The trick is to build this uncertainty into your plans, and asset finance is a great tool for helping deal with the ups and downs of our industry.

But the future-pains aren’t the exclusive domain of dairying, we’re seeing farmers in other parts of the agribusiness sector who are finding it increasingly difficult to employ skilled machinery operators for three months of the year. This points to a real need for simplified processes when it comes to bringing in foreign operators to fill the gap. If you’re a contractor, this applies to you too.

Health and safety considerations are another aspect of the future that everyone in the agribusiness sector need to plan for. Law changes and the formation of Workplace NZ are both changing the landscape in which we’re doing business. People need to be aware of all the different aspects of the health and safety regulations lest you fall foul of some heavy fines that are now handed out within the industry for injuries that happen at work.

Believe it or not, BNZ can also help in this regard. BNZ has a strong association with the Rural Contractors Federation and we’re heavily involved in various industry discussions. So if you’re an agribusiness contractor who’s struggling with all of this and you’re not in the federation, we can put you in touch with people who are so they can share best practices.

Come talk to us about all parts of your business and find out how we can help you plan for the future with the right lending facility, the right products and, above all, the right people.

Young Money: The struggle is real – when to save and when to splurge

One of a series of blogs from real people sharing real experiences, observations and advice about being good with money. 

Samantha Mottram is a 17 year old high school student from Auckland’s North Shore. She wrote this post as part of a task for the Massey University Business Boot Camp – BNZ was a Gold sponsor of the Boot Camp and hosted students at BNZ sites across Auckland to meet staff and gain insights into how the bank operates.

Checking my emails is part of my daily routine. I wish I could say it’s to check my work roster or email my teacher completed homework, but I’m guilty of falling into the trap of clicking on emails from online shops, most which I don’t even remember signing up to. Once I’ve been linked to their website, I spend hours scrolling through pages, adding items to my cart, watching the total price increase. Not once do I question whether I actually need that expensive necklace or a pair of over-priced shoes. Instead I click BUY and the money is sucked from my bank account, never to be seen again.

The following week I find out I need to go to an important event for school which is at an expense. Yet to my realisation, I have no money for a ticket to the event or even for transportation to get there because I’ve spent it on items I don’t really need. Only now does the question of ‘should I really have brought those unnecessary items online?’ occur to me.

A lot of teens are challenged with money when it comes to making the choice about spending on necessities as opposed to just satisfying their wants.  So when is the appropriate time to spend my hard earned money? This is a question that young people are regularly challenged by. The struggle is so real, so let’s break down what we can do about it.

Teenagers have a busy lifestyle. School, sporting, other commitments, and maintaining a social life are all time-sucks, so around the clock shopping can seem like a good option. If used effectively, you can economise your time and money, however many teens fail miserably at this and end up spending too much time and money on the addictive excessive. In a world of ever-developing technology, it is hardly surprising that online shopping can become a bad habit for young people.

Advertisements are everywhere! Every web page you visit is over done with money hungry online outlets, tempting offers which many of us fall for. It only takes one click and you’re sucked into a world of beautiful clothes and expensive accessories that are hard to resist. “Oh looking at one more page won’t hurt” I say to myself every time, and every time I manage to find something more I want – ‘want’ being the key word in this sentence.

Do I actually need it? ‘No’ is the sensible answer, but with little self-control, ‘no’ is not the path I will take, nor will many other teenagers, as their parents will know. Self-control is a big factor that young people struggle with when it comes to money. When pay day comes around, seeing all those digits appear in your bank account can be overwhelming. It’s easy to make the assumption that spending it on things you want is the best idea, and doing so online is the easiest way to that. However, as I’ve experienced, spending it all impulsively is not the most sensible option. As mentioned above, you may unexpectedly need to buy something essential but if you’ve spent it the instant you received it, you’ll be left with no cash in hand. So what should you do to minimize the likelihood of this scenario?

As someone who has had to face the truth when it comes to needs and wants, I would suggest save, save save! Logging into YouMoney and seeing all your hard earned money saved up is much more satisfying than that dress you impulse-bought and never wear. I have learnt to set aside some of my paycheque into a savings account so I have something tucked away to pay for unexpected expenses, because not everything can be planned for in advance. Of course, keeping some to spend on the things you want is okay too because teenagers need to have fun! Just remember: have some self-control, learn to say no and, most importantly, monitor your spending. Do so by setting yourself financial goals. When you achieve these financial goals, the feeling of success beats any shopping spree.

If you are studying or training and want to know how BNZ can help you manage your money, read more about our tertiary benefits for students and apprentices.