KiwiSaver is often overlooked and underestimated. While it’s an epic way to save towards your retirement, it’s also an excellent vehicle to purchase your first home (if you haven’t already).
Even if you’re already part of KiwiSaver, there’s a good chance you’re not making the most out of your savings. Here are four things everyone with KiwiSaver should know.
1. YOU’RE ENTITLED TO FREE MONEY.
In life, the saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” generally rings true, but when it comes to KiwiSaver, there really is free money up for grabs – you just need to give a little (to yourself) to get it.
How to get it:
By law, employers must match employees KiwiSaver contributions up to a minimum of 3%. This contribution is additional to your salary or wages, so just by being a part of KiwiSaver and putting away 3% (or more) towards your scheme of choice, you are effectively giving yourself a 3% pay rise.
Read that again.
Your KiwiSaver contributions come out of your pay at the same time as your tax, so it’s very likely that after the initial adjustment you won’t even miss them.
Pro KiwiSaver tip: If you have funds to spare, increase your personal contributions to 4%, 6%, 8% or even 10% of your salary. If you’re planning on a first home purchase, it’s an excellent way to squirrel away additional money – and it adds up fast. You can change the percentage at any time.
If you personally contribute $1,042.86 each KiwiSaver year, the government will give you $521.43, just for being a KiwiSaver member.
That’s only $20.05 per week that you need to contribute.
That’s over $500, FREE, for making the minimum contribution towards your retirement/first home deposit nest egg.
That’s a win-win if we ever heard one.
If you’re self-employed, it’s well worth making voluntary contributions of at least $20.05 per week to receive the government contribution (though naturally, we recommend contributing more if your earnings allow).
Where else will you get a guaranteed 50% return on investment?
2. YOU’RE IN CONTROL OF YOUR KIWISAVER.
Contrary to what some people believe, the money in your KiwiSaver account is not controlled by the government. All KiwiSaver providers are independent of the government, but they are regulated by The Financial Markets Authority (a government body).
You get to choose your KiwiSaver provider.
You can make changes to your provider or fund at any time.
You get to choose how much you contribute.
You can choose how aggressively you invest.
You can choose what happens to YOUR money.
If you set up your KiwiSaver through your employer, you’ll be placed in a default fund – think of it as a kind of KiwiSaver waiting room. Thousands of Kiwis remain in default funds, even many who have been KiwiSaver members for years.
It’s crucial to take control of your KiwiSaver and make sure it’s in the right fund, which leads us to our next point.
3. YOUR FUND TYPE MATTERS.
So you’re ready to delve deeper and find the right fund for your KiwiSaver: Conservative, Growth, Aggressive, Cash, Moderate, Balanced – where to start?
There are a lot of factors at play here, and rather than guessing which fund is right for you, here’s where you need to enlist a professional. Our quick online assessment gives you a personalised KiwiSaver recommendation at no cost.
4. YOU CAN MAXIMISE YOUR KIWISAVER WITH THE RIGHT ADVICE.
Get your KiwiSaver sorted early and reap the rewards later. Your adviser will help you choose the right fund and work with you if a first home purchase is in your future.
The difference between working with a professional to maximise your balance and leaving you KiwiSaver in a default fund could be hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Align your KiwiSaver to your future goals with proper advice – it’s quick, easy, and won’t cost you a cent.
While we’re home loan and insurance experts, our blog posts are for general information purposes only and are not intended as financial advice. If at any stage you need personalised advice, get in touch on 0800 346 765, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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