KiwiSaver is a voluntary savings programme that can assist you in preparing for retirement. Under certain circumstances, you may be allowed to use a portion of your KiwiSaver money to assist with the purchase of your first property.
If you are enrolled in KiwiSaver, you increase your savings by contributing to your KiwiSaver account. If you are a salary or wage earner, your employer will also pay to your KiwiSaver (unless they are currently contributing to another fund for its employees). The government may contribute to your KiwiSaver depending on how much you have contributed.
KiwiSaver will be tied to people’s employment for the vast majority of participants. This means that your company will provide you with information on KiwiSaver, and your contributions will be deducted directly from your salary.
If you elect to participate, contributions are withdrawn from your pay at a rate of 3%, 4%, 6%, 8%, or 10% (you choose the rate) and invested in a KiwiSaver scheme on your behalf.
Whether you are self-employed or unemployed, you negotiate with your KiwiSaver provider on the amount you wish to contribute and pay them directly.
There are typically only two times in life when you will be able to withdraw your KiwiSaver savings
1. For your retirement – when you reach the New Zealand superannuation age (which is currently 65).
2. For your first home – when you make a first home withdrawal.
You may also be able to make an early withdrawal as permitted by the KiwiSaver Act 2006 if you can evidence you meet the eligibility criteria. Other permitted early withdrawals include:
– Permanent Emigration (other than Australia)
– Trans-Tasman Transfer (to a complying Australian Super fund)
– Deceased Estate
– Significant Financial Hardship
– Serious Illness
– Life-shortening congenital conditions.
In order for a permitted withdrawal to be approved, a member who applies is required to provide supporting evidence necessary to establish their right to meet the criteria and make an early withdrawal.