Everything you need to know, including changes you might have missed!

Are you a Kiwi? Are you a saver? Technically, you only have to answer ‘yes’ to the first question because even if you like to spend your entire paycheque on shoes and kiwi-watching tours (you know who you are,) we all need to save for our retirement no matter how far away it might be. And that’s where KiwiSaver comes in!

Here’s everything you need to know about the retirement scheme for Kiwis far and wide.

How does it work?

In basic terms, your KiwiSaver savings are made up of three things:

  • your contributions
  • Government contributions
  • your employer’s contributions.
Image result for kiwisaver
Handy image from kiwisaver.govt.nz. We don’t know why R2D2 is representing the Government, or why the employer is a faceless bloke.

Your grand total can go up and down if you have any investment returns, depending on how well your investments are behaving that day.

Then, of course, you have to consider tax which is deducted from your contributions, plus any fees or any major withdrawals you’ve made.

And VOILA! You have your KiwiSaver savings! The best bit is that it’s all done for you and deducted straight out of your paycheque, so you don’t even miss it!

Your contributions and My KiwiSaver

Although all your involuntary contributions are taken without you noticing, that doesn’t mean to say you can’t see what’s happening behind the scenes! Introducing you to My KiwiSaver, your digital portal that allows you to track all contributions from your lovely self, your employer and the Government. You can also update contact deets, opt out or take savings suspensions (more on that later!)

Simply login to myIR to get started!

If your situation changes and your contributions take a hit
A wise man once said, ‘life’s a rollercoaster, man’ (true story.) KiwiSaver understands that personal and work situations can change drastically and in such cases you can take contribution breaks or opt out altogether.

Changes in personal situation
These can include:

  • turning 18 (happy birthday!)
  • permanently emigrating
  • returning to New Zealand (welcome back!)
  • your financial situation, including bankruptcy.

Changes in work situation
These can include:

  • stopping work
  • starting a new job
  • going self employed
  • working a whole heap of jobbies

Whatever your new situation, you can work out your new rate of contributions with your KiwiSaver provide. They’re there to make your life a whole lot easier!

Opting out
KiwiSaver ain’t for everyone and that’s why some people (maybe you) might want to get the hell outta there! However, this isn’t always an option and it’s only in certain circumstances that you can opt out.

Everyone has the option to opt out when they are automatically enrolled and those who are under 19 years old. If you chose to join KiwiSaver then, as the saying goes, you’ve made your bed and now you must lie in it; basically, you can’t opt out. But they’re a friendly lot at KiwiSaver and aren’t in the business of punishing people, so you can take a contribution break should your situation warrant it.

You have between 2 and 8 weeks after you’ve started your new job to opt out of the scheme. Opting out later than that is impossible, unless your employer or Inland Revenue have mucked up and didn’t give you all the relevant info. Plus, life can sometimes get in the way of an opt-out form and in exceptional circumstances, you can opt out late.

Before you go…

Whatever questions you have regarding your KiwiSaver, ALWAYS talk to your KiwiSaver provider, not Inland Revenue! There, we’ve said it!