Frequently Asked Questions

About National Capital

Who is National Capital?
National Capital provides digital financial advisory services that specialise in KiwiSaver. It was founded in 2018 and now advises Kiwis on over $2 million of their KiwiSaver savings. We are based in Auckland, but serve clients all over New Zealand. We provide KiwiSaver advice, with the goal of empowering one million kiwis to become financially secure.
Will this cost me?
No, we do not charge our clients any fees. We provide free KiwiSaver advice, with the goal of empowering one million Kiwis to become financially secure.
Why is the service free?
This service is free of charge because the providers pay us the fees on your behalf.

We only work with providers who are willing to pay us as we are providing a valuable service which is mutually beneficial for all parties involved. We monitor the provider’s funds, keep in contact with clients and alter our recommendations based on evolving circumstances. The providers are paying us an ‘advice-fee’ to serve their clients instead of the client paying for our advice. In a sense, we provide the ‘customer service’ part of their KiwiSaver product. 
 
Check out this article for more information.
How many schemes and funds do you work with?
We work with 12 KiwiSaver schemes and have more than 100+ funds to choose from. The current list of schemes we take into consideration in our Investment Selection Process is below:
 
1. Milford KiwiSaver Plan
2. Generate KiwiSaver Scheme
3. Booster KiwiSaver Scheme
4. Superlife KiwiSaver Scheme
5. ANZ KiwiSaver Scheme
6. ANZ Default KiwiSaver Scheme
7. CareSaver KiwiSaver Scheme
8. OneAnswer KiwiSaver scheme
9. Aon KiwiSaver Scheme
10. Fisher Funds KiwiSaver Scheme
11. Fisher Funds TWO KiwiSaver Scheme
12. Mercer KiwiSaver Scheme
How can I trust you?
National Capital is New Zealand owned and operated. We comply with all New Zealand legislation and keep our client's interests above our own. We are regulated by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) which is the New Zealand Government’s agency responsible for financial regulation. National Capital is audited. 
 
However, it's not just legislation that makes us do the right thing. The business is also based on three Maori principles; pūataata - to be transparent, tikanga - the correct way, and taurikura - prosperity. These values guide decision making in order to build trust with clients, shareholders and employees.
Why do you talk about trust so much?
Trust between a client and their adviser is very important. We acknowledge that utilising a digital financial adviser can be daunting as you are essentially receiving advice from someone you haven’t met. But we are real people! Check out this short video about our emphasis on trust at National Capital.
Who are the people behind KiwiSaver?

National Capital is led by a dynamic and experienced team. Clive Fernandes is the CEO and founder. David Anamosa heads Investment Research. Arran Cunningham is in charge of our User Experience and Digital Design. James McKelvie is in charge of our Advice Logic.

To find out more about us, check out our About Us page.

About KiwiSaver

What is KiwiSaver?
KiwiSaver is the New Zealand retirement saving scheme. It is a voluntary saving scheme and you can choose how much you want to contribute from your gross (before tax) income. You have the option of contributing 3%, 4%, 6%, 8% and 10%. Your employer contributes a minimum of 3% your gross income too.
 
The money is then invested on your behalf by a KiwiSaver provider into a KiwiSaver fund of your choice. There are different types of KiwiSaver funds ranging from Cash to Aggressive funds. We’ve explained the different types of KiwiSaver funds in this 2 min video.
Why join KiwiSaver?
There are significant financial benefits associated with being in KiwiSaver. 
 
The most obvious benefit is that you obtain a return on your invested amount. This comes in the form of capital gains and earnings. In a KiwiSaver fund, you can be exposed to a variety of different investment assets which have the opportunity of yielding a much higher reward than simply keeping your retirement savings in the bank. 
 
The government makes a voluntary contribution of up to the value of $521 per year depending on your contribution to the scheme. 
 
Your employer also contributes a minimum of 3% of your gross income to your KiwiSaver. 
Where does my money go?

The money you put into your KiwiSaver is invested into a variety of investment assets such as stocks and bonds. Putting your money in the bank is also a form of investing. The difference between investing in a bank account and a KiwiSaver fund is that they invest in different types of investment assets. This is due to differing client demands and return expectations. 

The purpose of investing is to generate a return in the form of capital gains (increase in the value of  an asset) and/or income earnings (distributions like interest or dividends).

When you log in to check the balance of your KiwiSaver, the amount that you see is how much all those units are worth at that exact moment in. 

What is the best KiwiSaver?
The best KiwiSaver fund is the one that is right for your personal situation. You need to take a lot into consideration; required returns, volatility capacity and volatility tolerance are just some of the many factors that can influence the right KiwiSaver strategy.
 
Take the KiwiSaver HealthCheck to determine what the best strategy for you is.
Which is the best performing KiwiSaver fund?

Fund performance is only one of the many factors that need to be considered when choosing a KiwiSaver fund. While analysing historical returns is a helpful metric to evaluate investment options, a major downfall of this comparison is that past performance does not guarantee future performance. 

The best performing KiwiSaver fund is a subjective competition as there are a  plethora or factors to take into consideration. Risk, ethical concerns (ESG), fees, customer service, asset allocation and alignment to one's personal situation are just some of the many factors that play an important role when deciding which fund to invest in. The weighting you give to each aspect will determine the best KiwiSaver fund for you. 

Check out our analysis of the best performing KiwiSaver funds to see how your current KiwiSaver scheme measures up.

Which KiwiSaver scheme has the lowest fees?

Fees should not be the sole determinant of your KiwiSaver Strategy as they cannot be accurately compared in isolation. It’s also more important to consider net returns after fees than just fees. 

Fees are only one component of fund selection. Before you can even begin comparing fees, the first thing you need to do is establish the right fund type. You also need to consider various other factors such as returns after fees and the suitability of the scheme to your investor profile and volatility. 

About your KiwiSaver account

Which fund should I be in?
The type of KiwiSaver fund that you should be in depends on your personal circumstances. Determining where you are and where you want to be is important so you can set realistic goals and implement a strategy that can achieve them. This will guide you when selecting an appropriate scheme. 
 
Take the KiwiSaver HealthCheck to determine the right type of fund for you. 
Which providers fund/scheme should I be in?
Once you have determined the type of KiwiSaver fund you should be in, the next step is selecting the right provider. This should take into consideration your goals and preferences for the fund, as well as providers investment methodology and risk mitigation strategies. Examples of this include whether you prioritise high returns, low fees, ethical investing, New Zealand owned etc. The key is ensuring that the objectives of the scheme align with your personal goals and ethics.
 
Take the KiwiSaver HealthCheck to determine the best provider fund for you. 
What rate of return do I need?

The rate of return is the annualised amount that you need from your KiwiSaver to reach your retirement savings goal. It is specific to your personal situation and is determined through a series of calculations that takes into consideration factors such as your current KiwiSaver balance, your contribution rate, your employer contribution rate and the years remaining for your retirement.

Take the KiwiSaver HealthCheck and we can do this for you. Alternatively, check out this article for more information and to do the calculations yourself.

How much should I contribute?

Your contribution rate has the single biggest impact on your KiwiSaver balance at retirement. The best answer to this question is ‘as much as you can.’ However, this isn’t a very practical solution.

To figure this out you need to balance the needs and desires of your current self with those of your future self. At National Capital we run a series of calculations which generates different scenario outputs for given contribution rates to determine the best one. 

Take the KiwiSaver HealthCheck and we can tell you the difference your contribution rate will have on your situation at retirement. Alternatively, you can check out this article for more information about calculating your contribution rate. 

Withdrawing KiwiSaver?

You can withdraw your KiwiSaver when you reach the retirement age in New Zealand which is 65. 

However, there are some exceptional circumstances in which you can have access to your investment before this. Please note that withdrawing your KiwiSaver can have some pretty serious repercussions. You are not only taking out the face value of the withdrawal, as you are also losing all the future potential gains from that amount too due to the nature of compounding interest. You can adversely impact your future financial situation much more than you will help your present one. 

This cooking the books podcast discusses the benefits and repercussions of draining your KiwiSaver for hardship.

Who is my KiwiSaver with?
If you are unsure who your current KiwiSaver provider is, contact the Inland Revenue Department. If you are a member of KiwiSaver, they will be able to tell you who you are with.

First Home Buyer Questions

Which is the best KiwiSaver fund for a First Home Buyer?

The best KiwiSaver fund for a First Home Buyer depends on a combination of factors such as how long it will take you to reach your goal, your current contribution rates, and the flexibility of your time frame.

National Capital can help you calculate this and give you advice on which KiwiSaver fund is most suited for your personal circumstances. 

I am getting close to my deposit. Do I have too much risk in my KiwiSaver account?

If you are wanting to withdraw your KiwiSaver funds to help with the purchase of your first home, you may need to consider factors such as the deposit amount needed, the flexibility of the time frame you want to buy your first home, and your tolerance to volatility. If your chosen fund type is too aggressive, your KiwiSaver balance could drop just as you’re about to reach your goal.

National Capital can give you personalised advice on what KiwiSaver fund suits you and your goals best. Start by filling out our KiwiSaver HealthCheck.

How does KiwiSaver’s first home withdrawal work?

You are able to withdraw all or part of your KiwiSaver savings to help buy your first home. However, at least $1,000 must remain in your KiwiSaver account.

Am I eligible for KiwiSaver’s first home withdrawal?

You can use KiwiSaver to buy your first home if:

  • You’ve been a KiwiSaver member for at least three years.
  • You have not made a withdrawal from any KiwiSaver scheme for the purchase of a home before.
  • The property/land is in New Zealand.
  • You intend to live in the property - it is not an investment property.
  • This is your first home (If you have owned property or land before, you still might be eligible for KiwiSaver’s first home withdrawal).
  • You are a member of a complying fund (Check with National Capital if your fund is a complying fund).
  • You are 18 years or over.

You cannot use KiwiSaver to buy your first home if:

  • You already own a home.
  • You already own land (there may be an exception if the land is Māori land).
  • You own a house overseas.
What can I withdraw?
  • Your contributions
  • Government contributions
  • Government member tax credits*
  • Investment returns

(You cannot withdraw any Australian superannuation savings)

*Only member tax credits that have already been paid into your KiwiSaver account can be withdrawn.

How do I apply for KiwiSaver first home withdrawal?

Contact your KiwiSaver provider or complying fund provider. 

If you may be eligible to withdraw funds as a ‘previous homeowner’, you will need to apply to Kainga Ora Housing New Zealand before applying through your KiwiSaver provider.

When will my KiwiSaver savings be paid out for a first home withdrawal?

Your KiwiSaver is a locked-in investment, meaning it may take longer to release your funds. It can take more than 10 days to process a KiwiSaver first home withdrawal application, so check with your fund provider in advance. 

Funds are usually paid to your solicitor who will then forward it onto the vendor on the settlement date.

Am I eligible for KiwiSaver’s First Home Grant?

You are eligible for KiwiSaver’s First Home Grant if:

  • You’ve been regularly contributing to your KiwiSaver account for the last three years. (Note: Periods do not have to be consecutive. However, periods where no KiwiSaver contributions were made will not count towards eligibility for the First Home Grant.)
  • You have not received the First Home Grant, HomeStart Grant or the KiwiSaver deposit subsidy before.
  • You intend to live in the property (for at least 6 months).
  • Have a deposit that is 5% or more of the purchase price of the home. (This includes money you can get from KiwiSaver’s first home withdrawal, the First Home Grant, any other funds or gifts.)
  • This is your first home (If you have owned property or land before, you still might be eligible for KiwiSaver’s first home withdrawal).
  • You are 18 years or over.

As a sole buyer, you are eligible for KiwiSaver’s First Home Grant if:

  • Your income in the last 12 months is less than $85,000 (before tax).

As two or more buyers, you are eligible for KiwiSaver’s First Home Grant if:

  • Your combined income in the last 12 months is less than $130,000 (before tax).
Is my property eligible for KiwiSaver’s First Home Grant?

Your property is eligible for KiwiSaver’s First Home Grant if:

  • It will be your only home (you cannot own any other houses).
  • The house is within the maximum house price caps based on the Territorial Local Authority boundaries:
    Region House price cap for older/exisiting properties House price cap for new properties
    Auckland, Queenstown Lakes District $600,000 $650,000

    Hamilton City, Tauranga City, Western Bay of Plenty District, Kapiti Coast District, Porirua City, Upper Hutt City, Hutt City, Wellington City, Nelson City, Tasman District, Waimakariri District, Christchurch City, Selwyn District

    $500,000 $550,000
    Rest of New Zealand $400,000 $500,000
How much can I receive from the KiwiSaver’s First Home Grant?
If you are purchasing an existing/older home, the First Home Grant is $1,000 for each year of contribution (with a maximum of $5,000)
  • 3 years of contributing = $3,000 (the minimum you can get)
  • 4 years of contributing = $4,000
  • 5 years of contributing = $5,000 (the maximum you can get)

If you are purchasing a new home, a property bought off the plans or land to build a new home on, the First Home Grant is $2,000 for each year of contribution to the scheme (with a maximum of $10,000).

  • 3 years of contributing = $6,000 (the minimum you can get)
  • 4 years of contributing = $8,000
  • 5 years of contributing =$10,000 (the maximum you can get)
 
If the house you are buying received its building code compliance certificate less than 12 months before the date of the First Home Grant application, then it is considered a ‘new home’.

If you are buying a property with other people, you can each qualify for the grant. A maximum of $20,000 per dwelling applies.

I am eligible for KiwiSaver's First Home Grant. How do I get it?

If you are eligible for the KiwiSaver first home grant, submit your application to Kāinga Ora no later than 4 weeks (20 working days) before settlement/payment date. 

What if I have owned property or land before?

If you have owned property or land before (but no longer have interest/share in the property) and your financial position is considered the same as a first home buyer, you may still be eligible for KiwiSaver’s first home withdrawal and the First Home Grant. 

You will need to apply to Kainga Ora Housing New Zealand to be considered a ‘previous homeowner’ before applying through your scheme provider.

You may be eligible for KiwiSaver’s first-home withdrawal or first home grant as ‘previous homeowner’ if:

  • You meet the general criteria for the KiwiSaver’s first home withdrawal or First Home Grant
  • Your realisable assets total is less than 20% of the house price cap (for existing/older properties) in the area you are buying in.
    (Asset caps per region are shown below)
Region Asset cap per region

Auckland, Queenstown Lakes District

$120,000

Hamilton City, Tauranga City, Western Bay of Plenty District, Kapiti Coast District, Porirua City, Upper Hutt City, Hutt City, Wellington City, Nelson City, Tasman District, Waimakariri District, Christchurch City, Selwyn District 

$100,000
Rest of New Zealand $80,000

What are considered realisable assets?

  • Your savings in the bank.
  • Shares, stocks, and bonds.
  • Building society shares.
  • Money paid to/held by real estate agents, solicitors, or developers.
  • Other vehicles not being used as your usual method of transportation.
  • Other individual assets valued at $5,000 or more.

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