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KiwiSaver logo

1. What is KiwiSaver?
2. KiwiSaver for Kids
3. KiwiSaver for You
4. Enrolling in KiwiSaver by “DEFAULT” – why not?
5. I am already enrolled – can I change schemes?
6. First Home Buyers assistance
7. When do I get my money back ?

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1. What is KiwiSaver?

Most people acknowledge we aren’t saving enough for our retirement.

KiwiSaver is a Govt initiative to assist people to save for their retirement in an easy and simple manner.

There are several incentives to encourage you to enrol because it’s well known that saving money for the long term is good for you and good for the country!

Once enrolled you are required to pay into your KiwiSaver account for a minimum of 12 months. If you get into financial hardship after this period you can apply for a ‘savings suspension’ of up to 12 months. This can be extended on application.


2. KiwiSaver for Kids…



3. KiwiSaver for You…

Quite simply the BEST way to save for your retirement.

Choose a contribution level of 3%, 4%, 6%, 8% or 10% of your gross salary and watch your savings grow via easy pay deductions and Govt and employer top-ups!.

Your employer will match you Dollar for Dollar at the 3% contribution rate and the Government will contribute 50 cents for each $1, (up to $1,042) you contribute into your KiwiSaver account too!!
The Govt contribution is a maximum of $521pa

Each year your contribution will nearly double in value.
( depending on your income and investment earnings)

Eg; a person on $50,000 salary contributing 3%;

1st Year: 2nd Year:
Your 3% contributions $1,500 $1,500
Govt. contribution $521 $521
Employer Contribution $1,500* $1,500*
TOTAL** $3,296 $3,296

* Employer contributions now have a ‘Superannuation Contributions tax’ applied (ESCT) Your exact rate depends on your total salary. Most people will fall into 2 of the 4 tiers; people earning under $57,600 pa will pay 17.5% and people earning over $57,600 pa will pay 30%. But if you earn over $84,000 pa the ESCT rate is 33%.
** the total shown is indicative only and ignores any fees, interest and the ESCT

If you’re self employed you can contribute at a fixed monthly or fortnightly amount of your choice ($50pm minimums generally apply)

If you’re unemployed you can enrol too and still receive the Govt contributions.


4. Enrolling in KiwiSaver by ‘DEFAULT

– If you enrol by the ‘Default‘ method you’ll be randomly allocated to one of the ‘Default‘ schemes and put into a ‘Default’ investment strategy which is a conservative investment strategy. A conservative strategy may not be in your best interests.

– Also, if you enrol by ‘Default‘, who will you talk to about your scheme when you want to change things?

Talk to Mike, an Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA) and KiwiSaver expert, and let him help you decide which scheme and investment strategy is best for you. Then you’ll have someone to ask for advice and information when you need it.


5. I am already enrolled – can I change schemes?

Good on you for enrolling, yes, you can change and it’s easy to do.

The Govt made KiwiSaver fully portable to ensure people weren’t trapped in a scheme for life.

There is no fee or penalties to change. Only one form is required and it only takes 10 -15 mins to complete.


6. First Home Buyers Assistance

If you qualify as a ‘first home buyer’ you can apply to the Govt via Kainga Ora for the ‘First Home Grant’.
If you’re buying an existing house the grant is;
$3,000 after contributing for 3 years in KiwiSaver,
$4,000 after contributing for 4 years
and a max $5,000 after contributing for 5 years to put towards a house deposit.

Here’s the link to Kainga Ora: 

If you’re buying/building a brand new home the grant is;
$6,000 after contributing for 3 years in KiwiSaver,
$8,000 after contributing for 4 years
and a max $10,000 after contributing for 5 years to put towards a house deposit.

You may also withdraw everything (including the employer and annual Govt top-ups) in your KiwiSaver account except for the initial $1,000 enrolment bonus. ($1,000 bonus was only for people enrolled before May 2015)

Even people who aren’t first home buyers but are deemed to be in the same financial position as a first home buyer (possibly because of divorce or business failure) may qualify.


TRUE STORY: when KiwiSaver first started, I enrolled an 18 yr old apprentice painter in KiwiSaver. He chose to contribute 8% of his wages to save for his house deposit. Only 5 years later in 2012 he asked me how much he could withdraw to put down on a deposit, I was very pleased to tell him he had $27,000 to help him buy a house.
In 2013 he purchased his own home at the age of 24.


7. When do I get my money back?

Generally, you’ll get the money back when you reach “the age of entitlement for a Govt pension”. (currently age 65)

However, you can apply for the money to be released….

If you are a first home buyer (see above)
If you emigrate
If you die (your estate gets the money of course)
If you are permanently disabled form the work force
If you suffer a serious medical event
If you are in serious financial hardship


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This website is operated by Acorn and is not endorsed by, or affiliated with, the New Zealand Govt or Inland Revenue.

To view the official New Zealand Govt KiwiSaver website, please click here.

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