FREE KIWISAVER RECOMMENDATIONS

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 $4 million of their KiwiSaver savings. We are based in Auckland, but serve and provide financial advice to clients all over New Zealand.

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 National Capital?

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 to contribute 3%, 4%, 6%, 8% or 10% from your gross (before tax) income. 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.

What is the best KiwiSaver scheme for children under 18?

Given that under 18’s won't get the government's Member Tax Credits each year, and are likely to be contributing less as they are not working, then fees are often quite the main focus.

For personalised KiwiSaver advice, complete the KiwiSaver HealthCheck. It takes a few minutes for someone under 18.

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. More importantly, you should consider net returns after fees rather than simply 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. 

What happens if my KiwiSaver provider goes bankrupt?

In the unlikely event that your KiwiSaver provider goes bankrupt, your KiwiSaver funds will be safe. This is because your KiwiSaver money is held in a trust, which means it cannot be used by your KiwiSaver provider to cover their debts.  In other words, your KiwiSaver provider simply manages your money and does not own your assets.

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. 

My KiwiSaver balance has dropped, where has my money gone?

Due to market volatility, your KiwiSaver investment fluctuates just like the stock market. When your balance drops, you still own the same amount of shares, they are just worth less at that particular moment in time. 

As KiwiSaver is a long-term investment, it is normal to experience the ups and downs of the market cycles in the short-term. Historically, markets do recover over time and increase in value. Structuring and sticking to a sound financial plan based on your current financial situation, not that of the market, is the key to navigating market volatility.

When can you withdraw KiwiSaver?

There are several other conditions where you can withdraw your KiwiSaver. These include:

  • At retirement (when you turn 65)
  • Buying your first home
  • For extreme significant financial hardship
  • For health reasons
  • If you move overseas permanently
  • Several other extreme circumstances.

Please note that withdrawing your KiwiSaver early for exceptional circumstances can have some pretty serious repercussions. You are not only taking out the face value of the withdrawal, you are also losing all the future potential gains from that amount too. 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.

How is my KiwiSaver account taxed?

You only pay tax on the investment returns your KiwiSaver makes for you, not your principal amount. In most cases, your scheme will collect your share of the payable tax and pay the IRD on your behalf based on the prescribed investor rate (PIR) you provide them. You can read more about this here.

Your current PIR depends on how much you earned in the previous two tax years, if you’re not sure on what your PIR is, you can take National Capital’s simple PIR calculator to find out.

Can I start by making voluntary contributions only? Even if I am employed?

You can make voluntary contributions only if you are on a savings suspension (formerly known as “contributions holiday”).

How does a savings suspension work?

A savings suspension (contributions holiday) refers to the decision to take a break from contributing to KiwiSaver. Here are some of the details:

  • All KiwiSaver members who have made a contribution and have been a member for 12 months or more can have a savings suspension. You don't need to provide a reason.
  • You can take a savings suspension of between 3 months and 1 year.
  • There's no limit to the number of times you can take a savings suspension.
  • While you're on a savings suspension, your employer is not required to make compulsory employer contributions and you can still make voluntary contributions

To apply for a savings suspension, you can;

  1. Apply online through My KiwiSaver.
  2. Complete a savings suspension request (KS6) and post it to Inland Revenue.
  3. Call Inland Revenue on 0800 549 472 (00800 KIWISAVER).
How do I know if my KiwiSaver account is investing ethically?

The level of sustainability and societal impact of an investment can be measured using the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics. Many KiwiSaver plans include an ESG section in their website or product disclosure statement. 

When researching KiwiSaver funds, it is important to do more than simply look for the word ethical in the website or fund name. National Capital looks into what organisations and industries a KiwiSaver fund invests in and what the process and policies are for the fund’s selection process. 

Click here to read an example of how National Capital researches the ethical aspects of KiwiSaver funds.

I’m switching KiwiSaver providers, how long will my money be out of the market/not be invested?

The process of transferring your KiwiSaver funds to another KiwiSaver provider usually takes around 10 business days. In this process, your funds should not be out of the market for more than 3 business days, this can sometimes take longer if there are delays in the processing from the IRD or your current provider.

I have been living overseas and am a non-tax resident of NZ, would making any contributions to my KiwiSaver fund put my non-tax residency status at risk?

No, merely continuing to make investments from overseas into a KiwiSaver account would not be enough to make you a tax resident (assuming you do not have a permanent place of abode in New Zealand).

Non-tax residents are only taxed on their New Zealand sourced income. To be a non-tax resident of New Zealand, a person must be absent from New Zealand for at least 325 days in any rolling 12-month period and also not have a permanent house or home in New Zealand.

What do I do with my KiwiSaver account once I turn 65?

Everyone’s retirement situation is different, many Kiwis continue to work past the age of 65. Once you turn 65, you have access to your KiwiSaver savings but you don’t have to withdraw them all at once. You can make partial withdrawals, set up regular withdrawals, and even continue contributing to your KiwiSaver account. 

If you’ve decided to withdraw your KiwiSaver savings, you will need to contact your KiwiSaver provider and complete their withdrawal form.

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 $4 million of their KiwiSaver savings. We are based in Auckland, but serve and provide financial advice to clients all over New Zealand.

First Home Buyer Questions

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

The "best KiwiSaver fund" for first home buyers will depend on how much you have in your KiwiSaver and when you want to withdraw it. There is no one perfect solution for all.

Complete our online KiwiSaver HealthCheck so we can analyse your situation and create some personalised KiwiSaver advice.

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.

KiwiSaver First Home Withdrawal

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 are 18 years or over.
  • 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 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 can withdraw as much as you like, but you will need to leave at least $1,000 in your KiwiSaver account afterwards.

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.

Can I use KiwiSaver to buy land?

Yes, you can use your KiwiSaver account to purchase a section/land without a house. There is no timeframe for when a house must be built.

Can I use KiwiSaver to build a home on land I inherit?

Assuming you already own the land (or have an “estate in land”), then you will not be able to withdraw money from your KiwiSaver to build on it under the KiwiSaver Act. There may be an exception if the land is Maori land, and if you have not owned any property previously.

Can I use KiwiSaver to buy a house to be put on family land?

You will not be eligible to use the First Home Grant to buy a house to place on land that you do not own. You can instead buy the family land (with some help from the grant) and then withdraw money from your KiwiSaver account to buy the house to be put on your purchased land.

I used my KiwiSaver to buy my house a year ago and am now wanting to sell it, are there any hidden fees?

No, if you have lived in your house for more than six months, there should not be any hidden fees in relation to your KiwiSaver withdrawal (or First Home Grant, if you used that).

I am looking to make an offer on a first home, it is already tenanted on a fixed-term tenancy, due to expire in 6 months. Does this still classify as a first home if I intend to move in right after the tenancy finishes?

In this case, the trustee (KiwiSaver) has the right to decide whether your intention of living in your ‘first home’ is legitimate. For these case by case scenarios, it may be best to speak to your broker.

Check out this case study, where KiwiSaver required the first home buyer to sign a more detailed statutory agreement and released the member’s funds.

KiwiSaver First Home Grant

Am I eligible for KiwiSaver’s First Home Grant?

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

  • You are 18 years or over.
  • You’ve been regularly contributing to your KiwiSaver for 3+ 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.)
  • In the past 12 months, your income before tax is less than $85,000 as a single buyer or less than $130,000 if you are not a single buyer.
  • 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 amount that is at least 5% 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).

For more detailed information, please check the information from Kainga Ora

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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