Let’s get literate

Financially literate, that is.

(Don’t get me wrong, though; I’m also a massive proponent for general literacy. A unicorn dies each time you confuse homophones or indulge in casual apostrophe abuse, you know.)

Apparently September isn’t just about welcoming the advent of spring – it also marks NZ Money Week. This makes me happy. (It also brings to mind a memory that still irks me – that of responding to a former colleague’s bemoaning the state of the housing market by telling her that interest rates can’t rise infinitely. In short, the response I got was “are you stupid?” Sigh.) There are a handful of events/seminars being held during that week, and I’ve put my name down to attend one on investing for beginners. As well as the intro to investment basics, there are also events on women’s wealth, budgeting and other general money management issues. Sign up or take a gander here.

On that note, I was reading Mary Holm’s weekly personal finance column in the Herald this morning and noted her response to a couple who worried they were behind on retirement saving. With $50k cash savings, $30k in Kiwisaver and a nearly paid-off house not long off in the future, they were doing well, though my first impression was that perhaps their Kiwisaver balance seemed low (they didn’t go into specifics about their contributions, though the scheme has only been around since 2007). Holm’s response didn’t berate them for not having saved enough, but rather took the tack that they were still ahead of the majority of Kiwis nonetheless.

That spurred me to click over to Sorted (which just got a revamp and is much easier to navigate now) and calculate just how off track I am. At 4% contributions, I stand to amass $250k by 65 and receive $335 (adjusted for a lowly 2% inflation) a week over 20 years, assuming I live till 85. Definitely gets you thinking. I’d plan to have a paid-off house by then, and if NZ Super is still around, that’s extra cash to take into account (though not something to count on). But it doesn’t sound like a whole lot – which is why I do want to up my contributions to 8% sooner rather than later. Maybe the people who chase the money in well-paying industries, then retire after 15-20 years with their fortune to follow their passion, have the right idea.

4 thoughts on “Let’s get literate

  • Reply Mrs. M August 20, 2012 at 00:31

    I am also a big fan of both types of literacy 🙂 I am concerned about our retirement too – we both have Kiwisaver accounts but that isn’t going to be enough for our retirement by itself. It might sound terrible but I’m putting it in the “Too Hard” basket right now, to be revisited after we have kids.

  • Reply Liquid August 20, 2012 at 21:01

    I enjoy going to those investment seminars. Sometimes they provide refreshments so you can get a free meal and brush up on your financial knowledge. I wish there was a Kiwisaver like program in Canada.

    • Reply eemusings August 21, 2012 at 10:24

      Ummm, I’m pretty sure your RRSPs kick some serious ass. KS stinks tax-wise, and the government keeps tinkering with it. That said, I am glad we at least now have a national retirement savings scheme.

  • Reply The Asian Pear August 23, 2012 at 07:04

    I must admit… I haven’t really figured out my retirement needs and stuff yet. I’m maxing out everything and putting everything I can into savings right now… But I haven’t figured it all out yet. Mostly because my retirement savings are split between my personal savings and my company’s. It just confuses me. @_@

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