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4 ways to get the most out of KiwiSaver

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KiwiSaver is a great tool for Kiwis to save and invest for the future. Here are 4 things you can do to optimise your investments in KiwiSaver. Taking the time to make these changes now could undoubtedly benefit you when it comes to your retirement or buying your first home.

1. Increasing your contributions

The level of contributions you make to your KiwiSaver account will have a significant impact on the balance you will have in retirement. If you are only contributing the minimum 3% of your wage, increasing that contribution rate is an effective way to reach your investments goal faster. Even a 1% increase in your contribution rate may have a big difference to the overall value of your funds in KiwiSaver. 

If you are earning $65,000 annually, contributing 3% of your income to KiwiSaver, and have 30 years until retirement, increasing your contribution to 4% means that you may have an extra $56,691 in your KiwiSaver fund. If you are contributing 10%, you may have an extra $396,832 in your retirement. Increasing your contribution rate to KiwiSaver might be more affordable than you think.

 

Weekly Contributions

3%

4%

6%

8%

10%

$           37.50

$           50.00

$           75.00

$         100.00

$         125.00

Calculated with an annual income of $65,000.

2. Getting the benefits every year

If you are aged between 18 and 65 you could be eligible for government contribution for your KiwiSaver account. You will get 50c for every dollar you put into your account for a maximum of $521.43 every year. In 30 years, these annual government contributions will add up to over $15,000.

If you are not an employee, you can still get this benefit from making voluntary contributions. Putting $20 per week into your KiwiSaver funds may give you $520 in government contributions. If you can afford it, make sure you are contributing at least the minimum amount required in KiwiSaver to qualify for the government contributions.

3. Making sure you are in the right fund

According to the latest KiwiSaver Annual Report, there are 381,034 Kiwis investing in default conservative funds who have not made an active choice in their investments. If you are one of them, you could be missing out on quite a substantial amount of money. For example, if you are earning $65,000 annually, contributing 3% of your income to KiwiSaver, and have 30 years until retirement, being in a conservative fund instead of a growth fund means that you may be missing out on over $75,000 in retirement.

  

KiwiSaver fund type

In 30 years (retirement)

Defensive

    $                      212,222

Conservative

    $                      241,388

Balanced

    $                      276,028

Growth

    $                      317,274

Aggressive

    $                      366,502

With an annual income of $65,000 and 3% contributions.

As you can see from the example above, being in the correct KiwiSaver fund type for your situation and goals is one of the most important thing you can do to maximise your returns. But, with many different KiwiSaver funds available to choose from, picking the most suitable fund for you could be quite overwhelming.

These fund types aren’t made to be ‘one-size-fits-all’. If you have a longer investment timeframe, a more aggressive fund may be suitable for you as you will have more time to ride out the ups and downs in your investment value. Being in a more conservative fund may be suitable for you if you are very close to retirement or buying your first home as it offers more stability.

 4. Setting up a financial plan

Set some goals on what you want to achieve financially and think about how much money you will need during your time in retirement, as a comfortable retirement starts with a clear plan. When building a retirement plan, you need to take into account many things including the age you are planning to retire, how long your retirement will be, and any emergency funds you may need. Seeking financial advice from a professional regarding your investments could help you reach your financial goals faster.

One of our Authorised Financial Advisors can help you optimise your investments in KiwiSaver and help you develop your personalised KiwiSaver investment strategy, whether you are using it to fund your retirement or to buy your first home. Take our short KiwiSaver HealthCheck so we can get a good understanding of your situation. After working out how much money you will need in retirement, we will build up a plan for you to get there.

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