How Much Should You Put Into KiwiSaver?
3,4 or 8% – how much to put into KiwiSaver?
When you land a new gig, one of the first things you’ll be given is a rather bland KiwiSaver form. At the bottom of the page, it asks you to draw a line through 3%, 4% or 8%. For a lot of us, it’s only when we’re changing jobs that we even bother to think about KiwiSaver.
Who’s my provider?
How much do I already have?
Wouldn’t I rather have that money in my account each month?
Getting a new job is a great excuse to look at your KiwiSaver – after all, it’s what will keep you going in retirement. You don’t need to worry about the details – that’s what your fund manager is there for. But it’s worth looking at the basics so you’re getting the most out of KiwiSaver.
There’s no right or wrong answer to how much you should contribute – it’s more about your personal situation. It’s completely up to you, but consider some of the following things:
- When you need to access your funds. You can access it once your turn 65 or use towards your first home, with a few caveats.
- Whether you have a rainy day fund and whether you can afford to put more away into KiwiSaver.
- Whether you have the discipline to save your money if it’s accessible.
- The fees you’re paying because having someone look after your KiwiSaver fund and invest it on your behalf isn’t free. KiwiSaver providers charge a percentage of your fund (usually 0.5% – 3%). Whatever returns your fund achieves, make sure you look to factor in the provider’s fee.
- Whether you think you could invest the money better yourself.
- Your attitude to risk and volatility. Defensive funds focus on ‘safe’ assets like bank deposits, whereas growth and aggressive funds will invest more into shares and property.
NOW THAT YOU’VE THOUGHT ABOUT THESE THINGS, LET’S LOOK AT THE DIFFERENT AMOUNTS YOU COULD CONTRIBUTE:
The lowest amount you can regularly contribute. By putting in 3%, your employer will contribute too. If you contribute more than $1,043 in the year, you’ll get the $541 member tax credit from the government too. Even if you put in less than $1,043, the government will still add in 50 cents for each dollar, up to $541 each year.
The highest amount you can contribute (other than one-off contributions). It’s a no-brainer, but the more you contribute now, the more you’ll have in KiwiSaver for when you turn 65 or buy your first home.
A compromise, albeit closer to 3% than 8%.
KiwiSaver isn’t compulsory; you can opt out soon after joining. But you’ll miss out on contributions from your employer and the government.
MORE THAN 8%
You can add as many one-off top ups as you want on top of your percentage contributions. If you’re saving a lot and don’t want to invest it yourself, you could consider this. However, it’ll be locked up until you buy your first home or you turn 65.
Whether you wait until you move into your next role to update your KiwiSaver details, you’ll thank yourself for at least thinking about it now. Speaking of KiwiSaver, Consult Recruitment is expanding into the world of financial services!