kiwisaver, volatility, investing

Types of KiwiSaver Funds

  • Fabook Messenger Sharing Link

We talk a lot about finding a KiwiSaver fund that suits you and your needs. What types of KiwiSaver funds are out there? And why is it so important to select a KiwiSaver fund that is suited to your situation?

KiwiSaver 101

KiwiSaver is an easy and affordable way to help you save extra money for retirement or for your first home. To get the most out of your KiwiSaver account, we need to understand where and how your savings are invested. 

Most KiwiSaver providers offer a variety of investment funds. Generally, these fund types can be categorised into Cash, Conservative, Balanced, Growth, and Aggressive funds. 

Although there are many aspects in how investment funds differ, KiwiSaver funds can be compared using these two main categories: the risk and return of the fund and the fees it charges.

Risk and Return

The difference in KiwiSaver funds is in the type of investments they invest in. These different types of investments broadly fall into stocks and bonds. Stocks are riskier investments with higher overall returns whereas bonds are less risky but have lower overall returns.

Click here to watch our video explaining what stocks and bonds are and how this applies to your KiwiSaver fund type. 

The level of risk of a KiwiSaver fund is determined by the proportion invested in growth assets such as stocks, in comparison to the proportion invested in income assets such as bonds. 

Growth assets are types of investments such as shares and property. These investments have the potential for higher returns over the long run, but also higher risk as they have the potential for greater changes in value.

Growth and Aggressive KiwiSaver funds have a greater proportion invested in growth assets compared to more Conservative KiwiSaver funds. 

Screen Shot 2020-07-17 at 4.07.47 PM

It is also important to note that the higher proportion invested in growth assets means there will be greater ups and downs in value, with these investments more likely to produce negative returns in any year.

The table below shows the types of KiwiSaver funds and how they compare in terms of risk and return. 

Type of Fund


Return (percentage invested in growth assets)


Low risk

0 - 9.9% invested in growth assets.


Low to medium risk

10 - 34.9% invested in growth assets.


Medium risk

35 - 62.9% invested in growth assets.


Medium to high risk

63 - 89.9% invested in growth assets.


High risk

90 - 100% invested in growth assets.


KiwiSaver fees to the provider go towards the investment, management, and administration costs related to running the KiwiSaver scheme

Different KiwiSaver funds charge different fees based on how actively or passively the investments are managed. Higher fees may be the result of more actively managed funds which can sometimes lead to higher returns. 

When comparing fees, we should be asking questions like what am I getting for my money? Is the provider doing more to manage the fund and getting better results?


More than just past performance and fees

Various factors such as the amount of money required to achieve your goals, your time frame and your tolerance and capacity for the ups and downs of the stock market should be taken into account when choosing your KiwiSaver fund

Moreover, no one can predict the future, this means we cannot rely solely on the past performance of a fund as an indicator of future success. Continuous monitoring of the performance of KiwiSaver funds as well as research on market trends is vital. 

But you don't have to do this alone. National Capital specialises in KiwiSaver and Investment research and is here to help you figure out the right type of KiwiSaver fund for you, so you can have one less money worry. Start here by completing our KiwiSaver HealthCheck.

  • Fabook Messenger Sharing Link
Take the first step to having one less money worry. Start with our KiwiSaver HealthCheck.

You may also like

What is Swing Pricing and how does it affect KiwiSaver?

When researching KiwiSaver funds, it is important to look at more than simply past performance and general fees. Factors such..

Procrastination: The Thief of Time

The temptation of procrastination - it’s something we know all too well. If the deadlines seem far away, we aren’t as urgent to..

Thinking About Retirement?

Retirement - will you be busy or bored? Sometimes we can’t wait to be retired, but sometimes we don’t want to think about it..

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Take KiwiSaver Advice From National Capital

KiwiSaver advice? No thanks, I’m fine thank you. 

When a company offers free KiwiSaver and financial advice through the..

How Can I Prepare for a Great Mortgage Rate as a First Home Buyer?

Buying your first home is an exciting process! There are many things to think about when planning to buy your first home, one..

Sex, divorce and weightloss take priority over financial security for Kiwis

A recent survey of 1,000 New Zealanders has revealed that Kiwis are more concerned about shedding the extra kilos than ensuring..