KiwiSaver is fast becoming one of the most important assets we have for retirement.
It is vital to make the right decisions about how your money is invested, and at BWT Financial, our job is to assist with that process. Before we can make the right choices, we need to understand what our options are. Below, we have included a lot of information on KiwiSaver to start the process.
At BWT Financial, we can give KiwiSaver advice to clients and can help keep you on track through first home withdrawals to a comfortable retirement. We are also able to assist with Aussie Super transfers to KiwiSaver. See HERE for more info.
Please get in touch to arrange a free and no obligation meeting.
What is KiwiSaver?
- Launched in July 2007.
- Main purpose is to help New Zealanders save for their retirement.
- Able to be used by first-home buyers towards their first home.
- Anyone entitled to live in NZ and who does so normally is entitled to join.
- You can choose to contribute 3%, 4%, 6%, 8% or 10% of your gross wage or salary.
- Employers have to contribute 3% too.
How it Works
- If automatically enrolled you can ‘opt out’ (leave KiwiSaver), but only between 2 and 8 weeks of starting the job.
- You can choose to ‘opt in’ (join KiwiSaver) at any time – although once you do, you can’t then opt out.
- As an employee, you can change your contribution rate (3%, 4%, 6%, 8% or 10%) at any time.
- After 12 months in KiwiSaver you can take a break from saving if you wish (called a ‘savings suspension’).
- Once you’ve joined, you can make voluntary contributions (lump sums or regular automatic payments) at any time, either directly to your KiwiSaver provider or through Inland Revenue.
What are Government Contributions (previously Member Tax Credits)?
- What? FREE MONEY! The maximum annual entitlement is $521.43.
- Who’s entitled? Any contributing member aged 18 or over who’s living in NZ. Member tax credits cease when the member reaches the age of eligibility for NZ Super (currently 65). You don’t have to be an employee to get them, everyone is entitled.
- How do I get them? To get the full $521.43, you’ve got to make a minimum KiwiSaver contribution of $1,042.86 per annum. If you contribute less, you’re still entitled to $0.50 for each dollar. Your KiwiSaver provider makes the claim on your behalf at the end of the year, so you can sit back and wait for the free money to get credited to your KiwiSaver!
- When do I get them? The KiwiSaver year runs from 1st July to 30th June. They will be claimed on your behalf, and you will received them in July.
First Home Withdrawal
- Eligible after three years of being a member of KiwiSaver.
- Eligible members can withdraw their KiwiSaver savings including government contributions.
- At least $1,000 must remain in the KiwiSaver account.
- Must intend to live in the property.
- Cannot have received the KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal before.
- You have previously owned a home, but at the time of your application NO LONGER have an interest in a property.
- Realisable assets have to be less than 20% of the house price cap for the area based on caps for existing properties (see below).
First Home Grant
To be eligible for a First Home Grant, you must:
- be over 18
- have earned less than the income caps in the last 12 months
- not currently own any property, this does not include ownership of Māori land
- have been contributing at least the minimum amount to KiwiSaver (or complying fund or exempt employer scheme) for 3 years or more
- purchase a property that is within the regional house price caps
- agree to live in your new house for at least 6 months.
You must also make sure the house or land you want to buy meets the property requirements.
Realisable assets have to be less than 20% of the house price cap for the area for existing properties.
You can apply for pre-approval prior to finding a property. This can help speed up the process and is valid for 180 days once granted.
House Price Caps
- Many investments in NZ (including KiwiSaver) are structured as PIE (Portfolio Investment Entity).
- In a PIE, you pay the same, or less tax than you would in a non-PIE investment.
- The tax rates for PIE, or PIR, are 0%, 10.5%, 17.5% and 28%.
- It’s very important to choose the right PIR as you can’t claim back if you overpay.
KiwiSaver for Kids
If you are considering setting up a KiwiSaver for your children, take a look at our blog for some information about it all.
Find Out More…
Download a copy of this information via the link below. If you have questions about KiwiSaver, or if you would like to review your existing KiwiSaver, then get in touch for a free of charge, and no obligation chat.