Don’t miss out on the ‘free five hundy,’ KiwiSavers!

Get a head start now and be sure not to miss out on a ‘free five hundy’ next year. BNZ has this life hack sorted for you.

Did you know there’s an incentive put in place by Government that basically means you could receive up to $521.43 a year just for contributing to your KiwiSaver account? It’s called the KiwiSaver Member Tax Credit (MTC). Here’s the deal: Continue reading…

Financial support for new families

Whatever your financial situation happens to be, by the time your new family member arrives you can be sure there’ll be plenty of unexpected changes. But what do you do if you find your finances stretched too far? It might be time to look into some of the financial assistance options available, after all, there’s no point struggling along needlessly if financial support is available to help make ends meet. Here are some of the options that might be available to you depending on your circumstances. Continue reading…

Young Money: Dad was right

Mariah Clark is a 17 year old high school student from Palmerston North. 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. Continue reading…

Five ways new parents can sort their finances

Most parents will tell you that you’re never really prepared for the massive life changes that go hand in hand with having a first baby, so the last thing you want to be worrying about is your finances. Of course, other than sleep, finances are one of the first things to take a hit as new parents find themselves learning to cope with reduced income and increased costs. This is the time to put a financial safety net in place. Even though sooner is better, it’s never too late to start — so here are five ways to get your finances ready for the arrival of your first baby. Continue reading…

Young Money: The art of managing money – tales from a teen

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

Michelle Feng 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.

The first time I went grocery shopping by myself I was so excited. It was a mission, and I was alone. I was sure of the product I wanted to buy, and I even planned out my route to get there. However, when I arrived at the supermarket, my planning and good intentions went right out the window.

I became distracted and overwhelmed. You know the feeling when you just cannot stop your eyes scanning the shelves? The shiny, plastic-packaged products shouting ‘Me! Me! Me! Buy me! I am totes way better than the other brands!’ It can be so hard to look away from these beautiful products, sitting nicely on the shelves waiting for you to take them home. How are you supposed to know which brand is the best?

The reality is, of course, that there is not much difference between products. On that ill-fated shopping trip I, a naive and inexperienced shopper, became side-tracked and eventually bought everything that struck my fancy. Upon leaving the supermarket I realised I had left without buying the very product I went to the store for in the first place.

And yes, this is a true story.

Putting aside the trouble I got into at home, I learnt some important lessons about being good with money. Determining which desires are needs and which are wants is often the last thing on the mind of a money-wielding teen, and the importance staying focused can have on positive money management.

The big challenge then is: how can we be good with money in the face of distraction and confusion around needs and wants? How can we deal with all the temptation around us and get the most value out of the limited resources we have?

Let’s look at people who are good at dealing with money. It seems clear that older people are better than their younger counterparts in terms of managing money. They may have a better understanding about what is really important, have their priorities straight, have developed self-control and made wiser financial decisions. Younger people, on the other hand, may be much more frivolous and lack the same level of discernment about what they actually need.

Big assumptions and grand generalisations, I know. But run with me on this one.

So it seems that, in order to be good with our money, we first need to identify what our needs are, and what our wants are. As I slowly move out of the sheltered world of home and school into the ‘real’ adult world, I begin to realise that managing money is more than just doing the maths and calculating how much we have earned. Instead what really matters is how we can use money effectively within the constraints we have.

The popular saying “money is neither good or bad; it is what you do with it” applies to managing money. In essence, we are responsible for what we do with what we have.

A common mistake parents make in today’s society is not trusting their kids with money from an early age. What they don’t realise is that the sooner they allow their kids to get in touch with money, the sooner they’ll know how to manage it effectively. They need to learn to control their wants in order to meet their needs.

The fact is that resources are limited and our wants are unlimited. Therefore, the art of managing money is shown through our ability to control our wants and desires in order to satisfy our needs, not the other way round.

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.

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