Saving for a rainy day always good
Laying down a little fat against the hard times and salting away a meaningful amount for old age have to be two of the primary goals of any family.
Yet saving is so easy to say but so many find it hard to do.
Just how hard people find saving was recognised in the ‘‘architecture’’ of KiwiSaver, which was designed to silently and automatically spirit away money from the pay packets of people who signed up to it.
That’s as great a help in the long-term salting away as the old workplace super schemes were for previous generations.
So couldn’t that automatic savings setting be used to build up shorter-term savings goals like building up an emergency fund?
The answer is clearly yes and the banks offer ways of doing just that.
In a way, the tools the banks offer provide people with a means of devising their own automatic savings plans.
Take Kiwibank’s ‘‘Paystream’’, which is a service that allows people to divert a portion of their income into a savings account, if they so choose.
It’s an ideal way to fatten up an emergency fund in an account that earns you a bit of interest, or of putting a bit aside towards a holiday or the kids’ emergency funds.
Other banks have means doing the same thing.
They can be put in place in faceto-face meetings in branches, by phone or using online banking.
And then there are some more erratic, but arguably more fun, ways to build savings.
One, about which I have mixed
of feelings, is ASB’s intriguing Save the Change.
The bank calls it the electronic equivalent of a piggy bank into which you put your loose change.
Save the Change is a service people sign up to that rounds off each of the electronic transactions they make, with the upwards difference getting swept into a savings account.
For example, someone using it can opt to round off each transaction.
If they swipe their card for a $2.35 transaction, 65 cents gets swept into their savings account.
People don’t just choose to round up to the nearest $1. Some choose multiples even $10.
In Auckland, Save the Change has proven most popular in West Auckland, accounting for 33 per cent of users.
That has been followed by South Auckland (28 per cent), Central Auckland (24 per cent) and East Auckland (15 per cent).
People have saved $65 million since its launch in 2010, with $11m saved in the last three months alone.
My positive feelings towards it are that it is generating savings, which is a good thing.
But allied to that is the rather strange element of randomness attached to it. It just doesn’t feel like a plan.
I acknowledge that every little helps but without a plan the little bits might turn out not to add up to enough. Save the Change may well do something strange to the way users see spending.
And blurring the lines between spending and saving can be a dangerous thing to do.
But it clearly has its fans and many of the ‘‘names’’ people give to the accounts into which their ‘‘change’’ is swept indicate that people are saving for things many people borrow to pay for.
That includes holidays, the horrendous cost of dentistry, birthday bashes, weddings and holidays.
And saving for those things rather than incurring debt to pay for them is always better.
of $2, $5 and Building up to next year’s Cricket World Cup, Sky Television is showing highlights from the 1992 tournament, played in Australia and New Zealand.
As TV3 presenter John Campbell might say, it’s been ‘‘fascinating’’.
New Zealand, billed as the Young Guns that season, were outstanding, winning seven successive matches but falling to Pakistan in unlikely circumstances in the semifinals. It’s hard to believe it was 22 years ago.
Watching the coverage through today’s eyes emphasises how much the one-day game has changed. Among the most obvious changes: Few batsmen wore helmets and those who did favoured the open front, which offered the face no protection.
The New Zealand batting order seems comical in hindsight. In the opening match against Australia, with quick runs needed at the end of the innings, Chris Harris went in, followed by Ian Smith, with Chris Cairns, who became a mighty sixhitter, held back and hardly facing a ball.
There were very few sixes –in that game against Australia, New Zealand captain Martin Crowe made an unbeaten century, but hit no sixes.
The boundaries look dangerous. Rather than boundary ropes, there are hoardings, and players often crash into them.
The television coverage is extremely dated. For example, there is no hotspot, and the batsmen’s scoring charts are virtually meaningless because scoring strokes are depicted from both ends.
However, the New Zealand commentators, such as John Morrison, Glenn Turner and Richard Hadlee, are much better counterparts today.
The crowd seems to invade the pitch at the drop of a hat, to salute not just a victory, but a 50 or a century.
The batting looks inhibited compared to today’s free hitters (bred on Twenty20 cricket), the spin bowling is ordinary and the fielding not as slick, though Harris was truly outstanding.
Scores were low. New Zealand made 248 against Australia, which Richie Benaud described as ‘‘wonderful’’ and a ‘‘terrific performance’’. On a ground as small as Eden Park, such a score would be inadequate today, but was good enough then to win comfortably.
Crowe was an innovative and clever captain that season.
With 456 runs at an average of 114, he was the player of the tournament.
Andrew Jones scored 322 runs, Greatbatch 313 and Ken Rutherford 212. They were so good the lower order was hardly needed.
The New Zealand bowling revolved around spinner Dipak Patel, medium-pacers Harris, Gavin Larsen, Rod Latham and (slightly quicker) Willie Watson. Fast bowlers Danny Morrison and Cairns each played in only five of New Zealand’s nine matches and did not bowl all their permissible overs.
They’ve gone different ways since. Crowe is now fighting cancer, Watson has nothing to do with cricket, and others pop up on the cricket scene from time to time.
The next World Cup is from February 14 till March 29, 2015. If it’s half as good as the 1992 version, cricket fans are in for a treat.