The Retirement Commissioner says Christchurch red zone residents face a difficult decision over the Government's offer for their houses, and some are treating the payments as a windfall.
The Financial Literacy and Retirement Income Commission has launched a guide advising residents about making sensible decisions for their future.
Retirement commissioner Diana Crossan says decisions about what to do with the money are very difficult for some people and they should understand that their actions now could affect the rest of their lives.
Ms Crossan says the stresses of the earthquakes, including loss of income, may make it tempting to spend the money without thinking.
She says the guide sets out steps people should go through before making a decision.