KiwiSaver in a nutshell

KiwiSaver is a voluntary, work-based savings initiative to help you with your long-term saving for retirement. It's designed to be hassle-free so it's easy to maintain a regular savings pattern.

There are a range of membership benefits to encourage you to get saving. They include a $1,000 kick-start, regular contributions from your employer and an annual member tax credit paid by the Government. Some people may also be eligible for help with the deposit on their first home.

KiwiSaver schemes are managed by private sector companies called KiwiSaver providers. You can choose which KiwiSaver provider to invest your money with.

KiwiSaver is not guaranteed by the Government. This means you make your investment choices in a KiwiSaver scheme at your own risk.

How you make contributions

For many people, KiwiSaver will be work-based. This means you'll receive information about KiwiSaver from your employer, and your KiwiSaver contributions will come straight out of your pay.

If you choose to join, contributions are deducted from your pay at the rate of either 3%, 4% or 8% (you choose the rate) and invested for you in a KiwiSaver scheme.

If you're self-employed or not working, you agree with your KiwiSaver provider how much you want to contribute, and make payments directly to them.

When you can get your money

Your KiwiSaver savings will generally be locked in until:

  • you're eligible for NZ Super (currently 65), or
  • you've been a member for at least 5 years (if you joined over the age of 60).

You may be able to make an early withdrawal of part (or all) of your savings if you're:

  • buying your first home
  • moving overseas permanently
  • suffering significant financial hardship
  • seriously ill.

What you will get when you retire

NZ Super provides for a basic standard of living in retirement, but it may not be enough for the kind of retirement you want. Having a KiwiSaver account doesn't affect your eligibility for NZ Super or reduce the amount of NZ Super you would be eligible for.

KiwiSaver savings will complement NZ Super to provide you with a better standard of living for your retirement.

To find out how much you're likely to need in retirement, visit the Sorted website or seek advice from a financial advisor.