Saving for a house deposit?

The beauty of the kiwisaver is that part of your funds are able to be used to purchase your first home. There are conditions such as you must not have previously owned a house  and that you must have been in the kiwisaver scheme for 5 years. It is understood that kiwisaver holidays where you did not make any contributions to the scheme are not included in the 5 years.

Making voluntary contributions to your kiwisaver account can really accelerate the savings process because you are investing in an asset which increases in value and there will not be the temptation to withdraw some money for whatever reason. Anotther good reason why using kiwisaver as the main house saving tool is that you will not have to worry about gold digging relatives who accuse you of being stingy and money hungry but purchase lottery tickets because they think that it is the only way of getting financially ahead.

It pays to run the figures in your head in order to know how you are going to arrive at your destination.

For Example, saving $20 per week=$1,000 per annum, $40,00 per week adds up to $2,000 per year, $60 per week adds up to $3,000 per year, $100 per week = $5,000 per annum. Your savings can really multiply quite rapidly once you get into the savings habit.

Saving and investing are two different things. most people can save money but it is being an investor which can mean the difference between staying in a financial rut and prospering.

Parking your money in low interest accounts is not being an investor.

Once tax is paid on any interest you receive and then inflation devalues the value of your money by whatever rate it is, there is nothing in the way of profit left for the account holder.

Few people have the sufficient funds to invest directly into the sharemarket but with your kiwisaver account, you are able to participate in the markets and take advantage of the fantastic capital gains which are available. Kiwisaver is not the only option for investing in the markets. Many banks do have managed funds you can invest with the minimum amount to get started can be $250 on wards. It is an excellent way of breaking into the markets.

Sharesies is another option for investing. It basically works like other managed funds but the beauty of this is that you are able to invest the bare minimum. You can start the fund with as little as $20 and invest as little as $5 per week. It is an excellent way of learning about the various funds and watch their movements. Visit;

Developing the savings mindset will go a long way towards reaching your financial goals but if you sit there thinking, Saving for a house deposit for 5 years is a long time, I will be 30, 35, 40 years old or whatever in 5 years time”. Stop and think about this for a moment.

You will be 5 years older in 5 years time whether you decide to plan for your future or not!

Forget about what other people are doing, they cannot live your life for you though they may try to. Just think about your own situation but ask for advice by all means then decide if you are going to take it on board.

Happy investing!

Robert A. Stewart

This article is not intended as financial advice but rather is the opinion of the writer. If you require financial advice, see a qualified financial advisor.

I have a FREE ebook available “My secrets to Finance Success” by clicking on the link below;


Capital Gains tax and kiwisaver

The talk in New Zealand these past two or three weeks has been the possibility of the introduction of the Capital Gains tax. This is likely to be at 33%. irrespective of which tax rate you are on. So if for example you are on the lower income bracket paying tax of 17.5% then your kiwisaver provider would still pay 33% tax on any capital gains on your kiwisaver. The capital gains tax could be mitigated by new incentives by those in the scheme or at least encourage those who have not joined to do so. All will be revealed in May’s budget but it is likely that the $1000 kickstart will be reinstated and that the annual tax credit will be increased. It was the last National government who scrapped the kickstart in order to balance the books. They also reduced the tax credit from $1040 to $520. Prior to the reduction, you had to deposit at least $1040 to get the full government tax credit so that was in effect the same as making 100% on your investment, tax free. Then National reduced the tax credit to $520 but you still had to deposit $1040 to get this which is like earning 50% on your investment.

As for the $1000 kickstart. If you are a school leaver or have not got around to joining kiwisaver then it may be a good idea to wait until after the budget to see what unfolds. It really depends on timing because Grant Robertson (The finance minister) may decide that they changes will take effect on July 1st which is the start of the kiwisaver year but if the changes take effect immediately after budget night then it would be good sense to join kiwisaver in order to collect the 1k kickstart and deposit at least $1040 into your kiwisaver account by 30th June in order to collect July’s tax credit.

Another change which has been talked about is the scrapping of the tax on employer contributions for those earning less than $48,000. As with the government incentives, the employer contributions will become tax free if your level of income allows it. It was the last National government who placed the tax on employer contributions.

It is interesting to see how any capital gains tax will effect kiwisaver balances in the future because a lot of these funds do have investments in property. It may well affect the supply of housing because would be property developers will think it is just not worth the hassle especially with the new compliance costs which will cost land lords an arm and a leg.

A capital gains tax will not just affect property and shares. It is likely to affect crypto currency as well but it is not clear what the situation is in the event that someone makes a capital loss as can happen when investing for capital gain. Investor’s who lose money in an investment in this way may well be able to claim losses against their wages and salaries but it is best to seek advice from a qualified person in this regard.


How to compile your family tree

Starting is easy-you just start with your own family and your parents. Ask them about what they know about their parents and grand parents and anything they know about their ancestry. Don’t just ask them who their ancestors are but ask about their trade, hobbies, and about their life in general.

If you have aunties and Uncles or grand parents then also ask them about ancestors. Two people may have a complete different opinion about a person in the family depending on how well they got along with them or if they didn’t if you get the picture so it pays to keep an open mind. Don’t forget to prepare yourself by compiling a list of questions prior to meeting your relatives.

Now that you have some information available, make a list of things you are trying to find the answers to. If your grand parents are still alive then you should at least have four generations of your family tree and if you get stuck, some members of the family may at least know where to look to get the information you require.

When you are compiling a family tree, note any patterns which may appear in your family. In some families a certain trade may appear several times as sons followed in their father’s footsteps in certain occupations.

Family scrapbooks, family albums, and school report cards will all give you an idea of a person’s interests but this is only possible with living relatives and those who have departed within the last few decades. When it comes to relatives four generations ago and longer you will rely on old public records for information.

Knowing where to look and obtain information is the key. if you want to receive emails updates then click on the link below;


Seeking Battle of Waterloo ancestor

It has been passed down through my family for generations that our ancestor Ann Livingston is the daughter of a French Soldier w washo died at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. It has been said that her father’s death occurred while Ann was a baby or just prior to her birth.

What our family do know about Ann is that she married William Stewart at Old Kilpatrick in 1834. William was born at Stirling in 1808. His parents were John Stewart & Janet Thomson.

Willam and Ann’s second son was Robert Stewart (born 1842). He is my great grandfather and founder of Stewart’s brewery at Coal Creek near Greymouth, New Zealand.

Trying to find the identity of Ann’s father and mother for that matter is a challenge. There is a website forces war records which I have tried but it just contains the names of those who fought at Waterloo (and other wars) and nothing about their families. I did however note that a couple of William Livingstone’s appeared on the list and I do have a theory that since Ann’s son Robert named his first child, William Livingstone Stewart, that maybe Ann’s father was William.

There is also the possibility that Ann’s father was a Robert since according to Scottish naming traditions, the second boy is named after the mother’s father.

The National Military Museum is in Kew England and that contains military records. I have written to them but no joy there. Their site is Phone +44(0) 20 88763444 Address; National Army Museum, Bessant Dr, Richmond TW9 4DU, United Kingdom

The has a lot of names of those who have fought British battles and I have found a couple of William Livingstone’s there but nothing about their families.

The Roots chat forum is another place I have used. THis is a site where you post threads and hope that someone on the site will have information that you need. The roots chat site is is another site I am signed up for. I tried their search engine but no joy so I sent them a message asking if they have any records of soldiers who served at Waterloo and they gave me instructions on how to search the catalogue;

1. Sign in to

2. Near the top-centre of the screen, hover the mouse pointer over Search and click Catalog

3. Just under the “Search by.” heading, click Keywords

4. In the Keywordsa search box, enter “Battle of Waterloo” and click Search

5. You will see 36 results.


How Scottish naming traditions can provide clues to researching your ancestry

During the 1700s and 1800s there was a system of naming children which had been called “The Scottish Naming Traditions”. It is a pattern of naming offspring after relatives and went like this;

First son named after the father’s father (Child’s Paternal grandfather)

Second son named after the mother’s father (Child’s Maternal grandfather)

Third son named after his father

Fourth son named after his father’s oldest brother

First daughter named after the mother’s mother (Child’s maternal grandmother)

Second daughter named after the father’s mother (Child’s paternal grandmother)

Third daughter named after her mother

Fourth daughter named after the mother’s oldest sister

If you have noticed that some of your ancestors have followed some kind of naming pattern for their children then it could prove helpful in your research. I have tried to find information about my great great grandmother Ann Livington and whether two Miller lads who were boarding with her and her huisband William Stewart were in some way related. It has been suggested that they may be half-sisters of Ann because her father died in the battle of Waterloo (1815) while she was a baby or just prior to her birth. I found out through my research that one of those lads named one of his children Ann Livingstone Miller.

Using the surnames of relatives as a middle name seem to be more common than you think. My great grandfather Robert who was Ann Livingstone’s son had a habit of this! In fact he often used the first and middle names of some relatives on both the paternal and maternal side of his family. He was not given a middle name at birth as was common in those days (He was born in 1842). He added the Miller name after he landed in Australia to distinguish himself from other Robert Stewarts. This led me to believe that there may be some kind of family tie as far the boarders Ander and Walter Miller who were living with Robert’s parents in 1841.

Among Robert’s children was an Ann Cochrane Stewart, John Cochrane Stewart, James Blair Stewart, and Archibald Arrol Stewart. I have noticed that if you removed the Stewart name there are ancesters named Ann Cochrane, John Cochrane, James Blair, and Archibald Arrol. Robert named his first child William Livingstone Stewart and I was thinking that maybe Ann Livingstone’s father’s name was William.

The Cochranes and the Arrol’s came from Robert’s wife’s side of the family while one of Robert’s sister’s married a Mr. Blair.

All of this information can be useful when putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together in your family tree.

You can get a copy of genealogy which explains in general terms how to go go about tracing your ancestry wherever they come from.

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Robert Stewart pioneer in West Coast brewing

Robert Stewart was born at Old Kilpatrick, Dumbartonshire, Scotland in 1842. Son and Grandson of a cooper, Robert also learned coopering and worked for his father William who owned a cooperage at Old Kilpatrick.

He left Scotland for Australia in 1862 and sailed to Brisbane where he met his wife, Margaret Cochrane, also from Dumbartonshire, SCotland though they sailed on different ships. They live in North Queensland until late 1865 when they sailed for Hokitika after finding the climate too hot in Queensland.

In Hokitika Robert work for a brewery and this was the start of several moves for Robert and Margaret.

Robert worked in various breweries and they are at Sydney, Christchurch, and Charlston.

At Charleston around 1870 he worked for Thomas McCarthy owner of the Standard Brewery and when the gold rush was ending Mr McCarthy moved to Wellington where he established another brewery and urged Robert to come with him but Robert preferred to remain on the West Coast.

After Charleston Robert and his growing family moved to Westport where Robert built his own brewery but disaster struck in 1878 when a south west squall blew the brewery over and this calamity caused the family financial hardship for a time and the family moved to Coal Creek on the northern side of the Grey River.

Robert then went to work for a Thomas Joyce, owner of Joyce’s brewery at Omoto but left after Joyce did not stick to the agreed terms.

Robert then built his own brewery not far from where he lived on the side of Cobden Hill near where the current road stands but Thomas Joyce then wrote to the council complaining that Stewart’s brewery is causing an obstruction so the council wrote to Robert asking him to remove the obstruction but he refused. Joyce continued to complain and Robert received more letters from the council but this had little effect. Robert owned 8 acres around the brewery and leased another 8 acres. He milked cows and supplied milk to Greymouth.

The brewery had its ups and downs but in 1905 after a string of setbacks, Robert finally got his final brewery going at Coal Creek after saving money from working at the Crown brewery in Hokitika,, a job he started in 1899.

In 1936, the brewery was shifted closer inland on the banks of Cobden Hill at great expense by Robert’s son, Archie at a cost of 10,000 pounds. Archie continued brewing until 1961 when the brewery brewed its last batch.

Craft brewing is proving popular in New Zealand with many people turning their home brewing into a commercial operation. There is a lot of information on the internet teaching you the ins and outs of home brewing and I have put the link to one such site for you. Your first batch may be just a click away;

Brewing made easy


How you can live and travel forever on $20 a day.

I just recently read on the internet about how it is possible to live and travel on $20 day day! This sounds too good to be true but all the same is worth checking out. Our world is much bigger than our own neighbourhood and once you have some travelling to far flung places you appreciate what you have once you meet people who are less fortunate people in the world than you. I think to live on $20 a day is probably only possible for those without financial commitments and I am not talking about things bought on credit but rather rates if you own property and the costs of running a vehicle which add up to an arm and a leg annually. This guide however will be useful information for those who are ready to set off on their journey of a lifetime and you can find out more by cluicking on the link below;



Workplace bullying is an issue that has cropped up in the news recently (well in New Zealand anyway). It is an issue that has probably been around for centuries but has only been given a name within the previous 20 or so years. Workplace bullying takes many forms, it may be harassment, sexual or non-sexual, personal comments that make the recipient feel humiliated, verbal abuse, social exclusion, name calling, and constant criticism that is unjustified.

There is no doubt that some people are hard to work with and refuse to be civil to you no matter how civil you are to them. The best way to deal with that is to put your head down and concentrate on your work.

People who push others around or are rude to others basically have a low opinion of themselves and what they see in others is often a reflection of how they feel about themselves. Bullying others is their way of boosting their own self-esteem. By constantly putting others down makes them feel better about themselves but problem is, it is like a drug and they have to keep doing it in order for it to work.

There are certain times when the bullying will attack others but it is when they have an audience when they are most lethal. At other times when the victim is alone with the bully, they will be attacked when there are no witnesses but this is increasingly difficult when there are no witnesses.

Some bullying starts with light-hearted banter between work colleagues which gets out of hand or even gets personal; that is when it crosses the line.

The responsibility for what occurs at the workplace rests on the shoulders of the employer; it is they that have to set the standard of acceptable behaviour in the workplace. They have a duty to set boundaries and say this is what is expected of you. Many employers will write this into your employment contract.

The process of dealing with a complaint can be quite drawn out but in New Zealand, the victim if they have a complaint against a colleague needs to complain to their supervisor and they must take steps to ensure that the bullying ceases. If they do not take reasonable steps to solve the problem then the victim can lay a complaint with the Department of Labour.

I have an ebook called “The Bully Buster” and it is available for just $5 It is basically for parents and children and explains how to deal with bullying at school.


The disadvantages of being in debt

“The debtor is a slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

Being in debt limits your options and opportunities in life! If you are in debt, you are chained to the borrower- in other words, you are your lender’s slave. Slavery as we know it was abolished a long time ago yet people are slaves in various ways and being in debt is one form which I am going to discuss here.

There are numerous disadvantages to borrowing money and being in debt and the main ones are;

1.When you use credit to make a purchase, you are spending more money on that purchase than the person who buys with their own money. In the long run, the difference between what you could have paid for stuff bought with your own money and what you actually paid for them with the interest added is quite substantial.

2.Being in debt limits your options in life! Someone with cash in the bank is able to travel to another town in search of work or has money invest or to purchase a household appliance which breaks down.

3.Being unable to meet the minimum payments required will affect your credit score or credit rating and credit card companies are likely to change the status of your card which will mean they charge you a higher interest rate in future.

4.Being stressed out over your debts can create health problems.

5.When you are in debt, you are setting a bad advantage to your children who then think that buying on credit and being in debt is normal.

The bottom line is “If you don’t have the money don’t buy it.” The crunch always comes when you have to pay the money back and for a lot of people that crunch comes with a life changing event such as a job loss, divorce, or death of a family member.


The peril’s of credit card debt

Credit is so easy to get and being in debt is so normalized that no one really blinks an eyelid if someone is up to their eyeballs in debt. In fact many of the books on finance contains a section on how to get out of debt. There is plenty of information on the internet explaining how to get out of debt but the question is, “Do you have the self-control and the determination to follow through with the advice?”

The first thing you need to do when you are in debt is seek help from a budget advisor or doing a google search on the subject.

Then you must cut up all of your credit cards and say “no more.” The next step is to figure out how you are going to repay the money. The sensible thing to do is to pay back the debt on the card with the highest interest rate and to make the minimum monthly payment on the rest. Once you have paid off one credit card pay off the next one with the highest interest rate.

Once you have paid off your debts then you can go about creating your financial portfolio-there is no point in having savings earning 5% per annum and at the same time paying say 15% interest on your debts.

The only exception to this rule is that if you are in New Zealand Kiwisaver and paid in at least $1040 per annum, you would receive $520 tax cret from the government which is the equivalent of receiving 50% per annum on an investment.

There is such a thing as good debt and bad debt! Good debt is when the value of what yoyu are borrowing the money for is increasing while bad debt is money borrowed for things which lose value over time-it is sometimes referred to as dumb debt.

An example of good debt would be to borrow money to purchase a house because the value of the house is likely to rise faster than the money borrowed against it and as more of the loan is paid back, you will have more equity in the home.

A bad debt would be borrowing for a motor vehicle because the value of the purchase declines over time and in so many cases, the money owing on the car is more than the value of the car.

An instance of stupidity is to borrow money to fund an overseas holiday because there is nothing to show for the debt.

Many people get in debt in order to purchase stuff they do not need, to impress people they do no like with money to do not have! Its all about maintaining a self image and keeping up appearances.

For sound money manager’s, the rule is “If you don’t have the money you don’t buy it.”

I have an ebook avalable called “Credit Score Magic” and you can get it here;