All about KiwiSaver – and who it’s for
KiwiSaver is a voluntary, long-term savings scheme that helps you save for your retirement.
If you are employed, regular contributions come straight out of your pay and your employer also contributes 3% of your gross salary or wages (i.e. before tax), to help your savings grow.
You might be eligible for a government contribution of just over $520 per year. This is also known as a member tax credit.
All of these contributions are invested into the fund or funds of your choice and these are managed by professional investment managers.
Are you eligible for KiwiSaver?
You can join a KiwiSaver scheme so long as you are:
- a New Zealand citizen, or entitled to live in New Zealand indefinitely; and
- living permanently in New Zealand.
You cannot join if you are on a working, temporary, visitor or student visa.
You can choose your KiwiSaver provider
It is your choice. You can select your provider.
There are a range of KiwiSaver schemes to choose from. Aon KiwiSaver Scheme has been acquired by Fisher Funds, and from 20 April 2022 new members are no longer able to join the Scheme. For more information on the changes to the Scheme, or about Fisher Funds, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your employer may already have a preferred KiwiSaver scheme provider. You can go with that preferred provider or choose your own.
If neither you nor your employer selects a scheme, the Inland Revenue will allocate a scheme provider for you.
The myth that KiwiSaver is guaranteed by the government is not true. Your money will go up or down as the returns on the fund or funds you have chosen may be positive or negative.
Contribute the amount that works for you
When you join a KiwiSaver scheme, as an employee you can elect to contribute 3%, 4%, 6%, 8% or 10% of your gross salary or wages (i.e. before tax) and the amount will be deducted from your pay. If you don’t let your employer know how much you want deducted, the rate will automatically be 3%.
Your employer needs to make a contribution of at least 3% of your gross pay. They may choose to pay more.
The contributions are paid to Inland Revenue and then transferred to your KiwiSaver scheme provider. When you first become a KiwiSaver member this transfer won’t happen until after you have been a member for two months.
You can change your mind
If you are automatically enrolled when you start a new job, you can choose to opt out between week 2 and 8. To do this, send a New employee opt out request form (KS10) to Inland Revenue. Your employer will continue to make contribution deductions until they receive your notification of your opt out request from Inland Revenue . Inland Revenue will refund your contributions already deducted if you opt out.
Circumstances change? You can suspend contributions
It may be that changes in your life mean you need to suspend contributions for a while. KiwiSaver allows you to suspend your contributions for a minimum of three months and up to one year. You can apply for a savings suspension if you have been a member of KiwiSaver for at least 12 months.
Self-employed or not working?
You can still join a KiwiSaver scheme. In these cases, you’ll need to agree with your KiwiSaver scheme provider how much to contribute and make your payments directly to them.
Payments will be a dollar amount rather than a percentage. Currently, there is no minimum annual contribution for members of the Aon KiwiSaver Scheme.
Remember, if you contribute at least $1,042.86 each year, you may be eligible for a government contribution.
You can contact our helpdesk on 0800 266 463 to discuss your contribution options in more detail.
When you can get your KiwiSaver money
KiwiSaver is all about saving for your retirement, so generally, your savings are locked in until you’re 65 or older.
You may, however, be able to make an early withdrawal of some or all of your money under certain circumstances, including if you’re:
- buying your first home;
- moving overseas permanently (excluding Australia);
- suffering significant financial hardship;
- seriously ill, or
- suffering from a life-shortening congenital condition.
You can find out more about withdrawals here.
We answer some questions about joining KiwiSaver
Can I join if I already have a retirement savings scheme?
Yes you can. With both schemes working together, you’ll build towards your ideal retirement that much faster.
How old do I need to be before I can join?
You can join KiwiSaver at any age. However, the government contributions won’t be paid into your account until you reach the age of 18 and make contributions.
If you’re under 16 years of age, you’ll need the consent of both of your parents or guardians to join. If you’re aged 16 to 17, one of your parents or guardians will need to co-sign your application form with you.
Can children join?
When can’t I join KiwiSaver?
You can’t join KiwiSaver if you:
- have a temporary, visitor, work or student visa;
- live overseas (unless you are a government employee employed on New Zealand terms and conditions); or
- are serving in a jurisdiction where offers of KiwiSaver membership are unlawful.