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Kiwis urged to pay off debts

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Cutting your credit card might be the best financial resolution you make this year.

While most New Year resolutions involved health and fitness goals, Chartered Accountants ANZ recommended cutting the credit card.

Organisation financial services leader John Cuthbertson says the past couple of years had been challenging and weird from a financial perspective.

"Some people lost their jobs. Others were fortunate enough to build a healthy pool of savings or pay down their mortgage," he says, adding household debt increased considerably over the past two years.

"Many of us chalked up some debt over the past two years to make ends meet, so it's time to hit reset and bring that debt under control.

"We suggest you focus on small debts to begin with, as little achievements keep you motivated, and prioritise those debts with high interest rates, as those are hurting you the most.

"Also be sure to pay off non-deductible debt first."

Households also needed to commit to a savings plan with at least three months income to be held as an emergency fund, Cuthbertson says.

"Many of us have the best intentions to save, but when pay day hits, we can get carried away and quickly spend what's in our account - prompting us to think 'ah well, I'll try again next month'."

The easiest way to meet the commitment was to set up an an automatic transfer to savings, he says.

"If you've successfully hit your savings goal, or paid off your credit card debt, celebrate with a nice meal or a special leisure activity. You'll be helping local business and feel like you've earned the reward."

Investment was also critical for longer-term savings, in such asset classes as shares, bonds, managed funds and real estate.

"While it can be overwhelming to explore, it is worth doing your homework and assessing what potential investment options are right for you."

However, Cutherbertson says investors need to be careful of get rich quick schemes.

"But be wary of investment opportunities promising quick and significant returns - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!"

One of the ways to reduce risk was to seek professional advice from a financial adviser before making any decisions, as well as an accountant.

"Chartered Accountants have done years of study and professional development, to get to the point that they can advise you on the best way to structure your finances.

"For example, you may be able to make voluntary superannuation contributions and enjoy a tax break on them, when to pay down debt and in which order, and the taxation implications of different investments.

"We can also help navigate a complex tax situation if you've just moved countries, which is certainly on the cards for a lot of people post-pandemic."

-RNZ/Nona Pelletier.

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The sentiment is spot on...........

Posted on 19-01-2022 21:38 | By groutby

....but the reality is way off, the article published by the totally taxpayer government funded RNZ refers to ’chartered accountants’ and ’financial advisors’...I get that, but who can afford to do that? Reality vs Idealism is an ongoing battle which many cannot win, and at the moment, idealistic views seem to outweigh the practical realities of life as it is.... Those struggling from week to week haven’t got the luxury of dipping into cash reserves ’forcefully donated’ by others via taxation and rates and the like....

There speaks someone in Lala-land.

Posted on 19-01-2022 15:44 | By Bruja

Unless rental costs are halved then the majority of Kiwis not only can’t save, they can’t even the afford the basics like decent food and power. An absolute b....y insult! A slap across the face for so many ordinary people.