BOOKCASE : Smart Money

• Sheryl Sutherland & Marty Witty
• New Holland
• RRP $29.99

It was conveniently serendipitous that review copy of Smart Money: how to structure your New Zealand business for investments and pay less tax, arrived just as I was gathering material to write this month’s feature on wealth and asset management. (See page 45.)
The book proved helpful in number of subtle ways. But most of all, it was within my relatively limited ken. I had, as the authors say, been told by the experts on wealth management that New Zealanders are race of financially illiterate beings, who suffer accordingly. Witness the rape of their savings by financial institutions in which they would never have invested, had they been more savvy.
Well, that’s as may be and, like all generalisations, the observation suffers limitations. But then along came Smart Money, authored by couple of very savvy writers. And, given that around 90 percent of New Zealand businesses are small businesses employing 10 or fewer people, the book is tailored pretty much for them.
It is not an evening read, rather dip-into when considering taxing issues like compliance, deductible expenses, the rules around home offices and other small business investments and, of course, surviving the inevitable Inland Revenue Department audit.
Smart Money is also about investment planning which, as the tide of baby boomer business owners contemplate cashing up, gives it somewhat timely relevance. For many New Zealanders business, rather than home, is the family’s number-one nest egg. And believe me, that needs protecting. Been there and broke that.
As the authors point out, tax, investment and business planning must be considered holistically. It is tough world out there and if the competition doesn’t get you, the policy wonks at IRD’s head office just might come up with something that will. They are, after all, constantly vigilant according to Sutherland and Witty.
There are, it seems to me, as many books of this genre as there are whodunnits. Perhaps more. But this one is written for especially for Kiwi consumption. It is about our business rules, our tax rules and our investment and planning opportunities. Don’t take it to bed. Sit up and take notice of what it has to say. It says it pretty well.

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