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Financial Prescription for a Happy New Year

11 December 2006
Media release – for immediate release

Financial Prescription for a Happy New Year

People tempted to spend too much over Christmas are urged to think about the January hangover that may follow.

Traditionally retail spend lifts by about a billion dollars in December* - 27% more than other months, says Blair Vernon, Bank of New Zealand General Manager Personal Financial Services.

“We encourage all New Zealanders to take control of their finances and think carefully about their spending in the coming months.”

Raewyn Fox, chief executive officer of Family Budgeting Services says it’s important that families don’t suffer in the long-term as a result of short-lived good times at Christmas.

“The desire to provide expensive gifts and holiday treats can make January difficult and stressful for many families. Basic budgeting is fundamental to not overspending. Regardless of circumstance, we would suggest planning in advance how you’re going to spend. Set a budget and stick to it,” says Fox.

“If you need help working out a budget, speak to a budget advisor who can assist with planning budgets, not only when things go wrong. There are budget advisors in every major town. To contact your local budget service look in the Telecom White Pages under ‘Budget Advice Services’.”

It is important that people make their money go as far as possible, says Vernon.

“Two simple and effective things that people can do to better manage their money and lower their interest costs are:

- Switch to a low interest rate credit card – for those who think they are unlikely to pay their credit card off in full each month

- Consolidate high interest debt into a personal loan or low interest rate credit card – for those who have a number of HP or store card debts.

“It’s important to lower other interest costs when home loan interest rates are not expected to fall significantly anytime soon,” says Vernon.

“If any customer finds themselves getting into difficulty - at any time of the year - we invite them to come in and arrange for a free review of their banking arrangements. There are simple things that we can do to assist, like arranging for a one-month home loan holiday, or a top-up on a home loan. We can also make sure that the customer is on the most cost-effective account structure.”

*Retail spend in November 05 $3.7bn, December 05 $4.7bn source: Statistics New Zealand.

ENDS

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