There is another significant day in December (besides December 25), that anybody with invested funds needs to be aware of – it’s December 31, 2011, when the Government’s Guarantee on Retail Deposits expires.
This means the Government will no longer offer a guarantee on investor savings through any investment company, which is why it is a good time to take a long and hard look at where you have invested your money.
Baptist Savings was not a member of the Government’s Guarantee Scheme because we are a Registered Charity, governed by the Securities Commission exemption for deposit takers. We only lend on first mortgage security to Baptist churches, and Baptist church-associated businesses like daycare centres. As a result, we also adhere to banking regulations around capital adequacy ratios.
We have also operated successfully in taking deposits and lending money to Baptist churches for 49 years, with assets of over $64 million and reserves of over $6.6 million. Our deposits from individuals and churches are over $54 million.
Unbeknown to many is the fact that the major banks in New Zealand did not take up the Government Guarantee either, because it was too expensive. However many of the smaller finance companies did – companies like Canterbury Finance, and thank goodness they did.
But that safety net disappears on New Year’s Eve.
Let’s be blunt. There should no longer be any excuse for people to lose money to bad investments. A bit of research and a bit of digging goes a long way to good decision-making.
Unfortunately, most people follow what I call the ‘heard’ mentality. That is, they ‘heard from somebody they trust or respect’ that this is a good thing to invest in, and they don’t bother to do their homework. They are heading for trouble.
Think about your money and what you will do with it next year. If you’re not confident about researching on the Internet, ask the institution that has your money who they lend to. There are always reports and prospectuses that you can request.
This brings us to the other reality you must be prepared for. If your institution is paying you high interest rates, it is because they are taking more risks with your money. In a nutshell, greater rewards could lead to a bigger fall.
Which is why I will say it again. Think about your money and what you will do with it next year – manage your risk because there are no guarantees after December 31.
Which brings me to the third point. The world is now a global village. What happens in America, Greece or Italy will affect us here in New Zealand. There are lending institutions in New Zealand that have exposure in Europe and you will only learn this if you do your homework. Make sure you don’t fall victim to developments on the other side of the world.
Christmas is a time of celebration and joy, but it would be very sad to go on holiday and come back to find the world has changed. Think about what you will do with your money next year – it might be the best thing you did this Christmas.
May you enjoy a blessed, safe and reflective Christmas as you celebrate the reason for the season – Jesus.