KiwiSaver tips for parents
Save with ease and retire in comfort. Joining KiwiSaver is a quick, hassle-free way to start building your retirement nest egg or to start saving for your first home.
If you're employed, you can choose to contribute 3%, 4% or 8% of your gross (before-tax) wage or salary to your KiwiSaver account. Your employer generally has to contribute as well – at least 3% of your gross salary. Employer contributions are taxed before they are credited to your KiwiSaver account.
If you’re self-employed or not employed, you can choose how much and when to contribute to your KiwiSaver account.
Most KiwiSaver schemes have several different investment funds where you can invest your money. A fund may invest in a mix of things, like bank deposits, bonds, shares and property. KiwiSaver schemes and their investment funds are not guaranteed by the Government, so it’s important to choose a fund that’s suited to you.
The following information is intended as a general guideline - please talk to a financial adviser for personal, professional advice tailored for your unique situation.
Q: I’m a new mum-to-be. What happens to my KiwiSaver when I stop work?
A: Your KiwiSaver savings will stay in your account but contributions from your pay and your employer contributions will stop while you are not being paid. You can choose to make one-off or regular contributions to your KiwiSaver account if you can afford to while you’re away from work. While your employer won’t contribute to your account, you may still qualify for the Government Member Tax Credit contribution, which could give your savings a further boost.
Q: Should I enrol my new baby in KiwiSaver?
A: It makes sense to enrol your new baby and your older children too.
Q: What if we find things really tight financially now that we are on only one income?
A: Firstly, if your finances are very tight, it may be time for a budget review, and a call to a financial adviser for assistance would be a great course of action. Secondly, if you or your partner are contributing to a KiwiSaver account, you could reduce your contributions or consider applying for a contributions holiday, if you qualify.
Q: Should I pay off debt or save in KiwiSaver?
A: Paying back debt is always a great idea, but it’s important to develop and maintain a savings habit too. KiwiSaver offers some great incentives including contributions from your employer and the Government Member Tax Credit contribution. If you qualify these can add to your contributions and help your savings grow even while you’re paying off debt.
Saving for your first home
If you’ve been a member of a KiwiSaver scheme for three years and are looking to buy your first home, you may be able to make a one-off withdrawal from your KiwiSaver savings towards the purchase. If you qualify, you’re able to withdraw your and your employer’s contributions, any Member Tax Credits, and any investment gains in your account at the time of the withdrawal. You cannot withdraw any amounts transferred from an Australian superannuation scheme.
In addition to a KiwiSaver home purchase withdrawal, you may also qualify for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant from Housing New Zealand. The KiwiSaver HomeStart grant provides a subsidy of up to $5,000 per person for the purchase of an existing home and up to $10,000 per person for the purchase of a brand new home or land on which a new first home will be built. The grant is administered by Housing New Zealand. For more information, including the qualifying, criteria visit the Housing New Zealand website.
KiwiSaver has been a great success in getting savers on board and accumulating an impressive national nest egg. Do your research, and find out how you can make KiwiSaver work for you.