KiwiSaver: General Questions and Answers
If you have a question, contact us and we will endeavour to answer it. Email us here.
Frequently asked questions will be listed below.
What is the minimum payment into the Fidelity KiwiSaver scheme?
The minimum payment for wage and salary employees is 3% of gross wages or salary. (Use this calculator to check the cost to you.)
There is a minimum payment of $50 per month for self or not employed, and $20 per month for children under 18 with Fidelity. While one can qualify for the Government kick-start for joining, you must contribute to get any matching government contributions. (You may choose to take a contributions holiday after the first 12 months. Use this Contributions Holiday Request form.)
I joined a KiwiSaver scheme over 2 months ago. Where is my money?
Your funds are retained by Inland Revenue for the first 3 months, and are only released to your selected provider after the first 3 months for investment. This is an administrative delay built in by the IRD. Most providers should be able to confirm your account balance shortly after the 3 month period. (IRD and Providers have experienced delays due to the larger than expected numbers joining. IRD also pay interest on funds held).
I paid $1043 into my KiwiSaver before the end of the Financial Year, but only got a portion of the Tax Credit?
The Government Tax Credit is paid pro-rata which means if you have been in a KiwiSaver for a portion, say 1 month, you will only get one twelve of the annual Tax Cedit.
I am on a benefit and can only afford a contribution of $200 pa, is it advisable to join KiwiSaver ?
If you can afford the $200 and wish to join - yes. You can take a contributions holiday after the first 12 mths, if you can not afford $200 next year.
The govt will match your contribution with 50c for each $1 or up to $531 pa for year ending 30 June 2012.
Does your scheme allow children to take a contributions holiday after 12 months?
The scheme does allow you to place you or your childrens contributions on holiday after 12 months. You can use this Contributions Holiday Request form.
If we chose to take a contributions holiday what happens to the fees charged by fund providers?
The annual management fees continue to be charged when you or your childrens funds are on a contributions holiday.
I am 64 years of age and will be joining a KiwiSaver scheme this month. When I reach age 65 (July 2009 ) will I still be able to contribute to the fund for the next four years and will I still receive "tax credits" if I do so?
Yes, you will be able to contribute to your KiwiSaver scheme for 5 years and get the "tax credits." You can continue after the 5 years if you wish, but the tax credits will stop.
One of our employees is 65 next month. Do we still have to make our employee contribution to his scheme?
An employer is required to contribute a matching contribution to an employees scheme until age 65 or a minimum of 5 years, whichever is the greater and the government will also continue to make its matching contributions at 50cents per $1 up to $521 pa.
An employee is required to belong to the KiwiSaver scheme for a minimum of 5 years, before he/she can withdraw the funds. He/she can however take a contributions holiday at any time from 12 mths after joining.
Could you explain the term "tax credits"?
"Tax credits" is a term selected by Treasury to describe the governments matching contribution of up to $10 per week to your KiwiSaver scheme. It could be construed to mean the return or credit of taxes you have paid over the years. Tax credits are only given to those over 18 yrs of age.
I am over 65 - can I join?
Sorry no. You could however assist a child or grandchild.
I am currently on ACC - will ACC pay my employers matching contribution?
Sorry no. Your employer will continue on your return to work.
I currently have a State Sector scheme, which the Government contributes to. Can I join as an individual?
Check with your scheme administrator. They will advise if you are also able to join KiwiSaver. Many can join both.
Note: If you pay PAYE tax you must join as an Employee and select either a 2% (3% from 1 April 2013), 4% or 8% contribution.
I am a member of the State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme (SSRSS) and have asked to decide between SSRSS and KiwiSaver. What should I do?
You can join and remain in both schemes, but will only receive an employer subsidy in one scheme. The decision on which is best for you will be determined by how long you before your retirement. If close, then the SSRSS might be the better option. Note your KiwiSaver funds are locked in for a minimum of 5 years. A good site to visit is www.superscheme.govt.nz Here is a comparison of the contributions you can expect in both schemes which should assist in your decision.
I only work part time. Do I have to join?
No - KiwiSaver is an optional scheme. You can opt-in as an employee. If you are a new casual or temporary or agricultural worker - check this diagram for eligibity. if a new employee you may be joined automatically and need to decide whether to stay in or opt-out. (Use this Request if you wish to opt-out.)
We are Kiwis living overseas. Can we join?
No, you must be living in and be a resident of New Zealand. (An exception is State Servants working overseas). See this diagram for eligibity.
What if I have existing savings?
It would be timely to review your current savings. You have a number of options which include:
•Continue to build your retirement nest-egg and keep contributing to your retirement plan.
•Continue with your current retirement plan but place contributions on hold. (Check with your adviser or provider the impact of suspending contributions before action).
•Join a KiwiSaver scheme for its benefits and maintain both.
•Join a KiwiSaver scheme for its benefits and transfer the balance of your savings into it.
You could use this retirement calculator to check that you are saving enough for your retirement goals.
How can I get my hands on the $1,000 Government start-up contribution?
If you are an employee, either commit to paying 2% of gross salary, pay it for at least 12 months and then wait to reach eligibility age for NZ Super (age 65) or 5 years (whichever is later) or die. Or if not working join a KiwiSaver scheme directly as an individual and collect on retirement.
What are the disadvantages of KiwiSaver?
It is Locked-in until you reach retirement age and if you are employed and want to collect your employers contributions a minimum payment of not less than 2% of gross wages or salary is required. Check what this will cost you here.
What are the advantages of KiwiSaver?
Government start-up contributions of $1,000, plus matching up to $10 per week plus low fees and pay-source deduction of contributions, employers contributions and first home loan subsidy of up to $5,000 (criteria applies).
What do I do with the company super scheme set up for my employees?
The chances are that you designed the scheme to help your employees with a company contribution and you have incorporated flexibility. You will probably reach the conclusion that KiwiSaver is too rigid for you and your employees.
As a senior employee of my company, should I make a recommendation regarding the existing company scheme? What are the options for the company?
Option 1: Convert the scheme to a KiwiSaver scheme, which is likely to require Trust Deed amendments and 100% member agreement. Probably not a good option.
Option 2: Add a KiwiSaver section to your scheme. Adds complexity of running 2 schemes under one Trust Deed and separate accounting still required. Messy and difficult.
Option 3: Make a separate KiwiSaver scheme available to new employees. Simplest and cleanest option. They can opt out and you can still offer them your scheme.
Option 4: Your employees can opt to contract directly with a KiwiSaver provider.
Option 5: Apply for an exemption from the requirement to enrol new employees. This would probably call for a Trust Deed change.
Summary: Many employers go for the KISS option 3.
As a member of an existing company super scheme, what are my options?
See above. You could stop paying into your existing scheme and would need to check the consequences which are probably negative in terms of benefits.
You could opt into a KiwiSaver scheme either direct or via your employer, but would have to pay the 2% contributions rate on top of existing contributions.
As a self employed person can I contribute to KiwiSaver?
Yes, directly at a rate agreed with a KiwiSaver provider. You will join as an individual.
Can my non-wage-earning spouse contribute to KiwiSaver?
Yes, directly at a rate agreed with a KiwiSaver provider as an Individual.
Can my children join KiwiSaver?
Yes, and they must have an IRD number. (The process for getting it is described here). They will get the $1000 kickstart. Join children as an Individual.
I am in an existing informal arrangement where my employer contributes to a retirement plan for me on an individual basis. What should I do?
Talk to your employer and ensure that he/she continues to contribute for you. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of KiwiSaver as shown above. Work with your employer to either maintain the status quo or come up with a KiwiSaver option that suits you both.
What is a KiwiSaver Default Scheme?
The Government has authorised 6 Default KiwiSaver schemes which provide a fall-back facility for employees of employers who do not wish to select a KiwiSaver scheme for their employees. They are listed here.