Time is ripe to get banking fit

JASON KRUPP
Last updated 05:00 14/01/2013
finances in shape
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GET FINANCIALLY FIT: Ensuring you are not paying unnecessary fees and using the right debt facilities, such as personal loans instead of credit cards when buying appliances, quickly add up to meaningful sums down the track.

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BNZ says Kiwis should probably focus their energies in the New Year on getting their finances into shape, as well as their waistlines.

The bank recommends people start with asking themselves if they know what bank fees they pay, if they're getting reward points on their accounts, and how can they reduce their debts.

In addition, BNZ suggests people review their KiwiSaver accounts if they are already in the scheme, or re-kick the tyres if they're not, and lastly ensure they're taking precautions against fraud.

"As people head into 2013 and fitness and weight loss resolutions fall by the wayside, a more achievable resolution might be to have a little bit of a relationship with your bank," said Andy Symons, acting chief executive at BNZ.

He said ensuring you are not paying unnecessary fees and using the right debt facilities, such as using personal loans instead of credit cards when buying appliances, quickly add up to meaningful sums down the track.

Symons also said few people check their statements on a regular basis, and often don't realise they've been defrauded until months down the line when the amounts get significant.

"Although New Zealand doesn't have a specific problem with [bank] fraud, people are getting exposed to risk when they shop online," Symons said.

The bank said reviewing KiwiSaver allocations and fees was a good thing to do each year.

Many of BNZ's financial New Year resolutions are much along the same line as those put forward by David Kneebone, executive director of the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income.

He advises Kiwis to think carefully before letting their enthusiasm for the new year carry them into expensive gym contracts and recommends they set goals that include a savings plan on how to pay for them.

Lastly, he recommends clean living as a financial salve: smoking, drinking and eating junk food all place a strain on the wallet.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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