KiwiSaver is not a savings account
KiwiSaver might sound like a savings account. But it’s quite different. Your money doesn’t just sit in the bank and earn interest.
When you invest in a KiwiSaver fund your money is invested in a range of assets, such as shares, bonds and listed property. The return you get depends on how those investments perform
Not all funds are the same
There are a variety of KiwiSaver funds, with a different mix of assets. These include shares, listed property, fixed interest and cash. Each type of fund has a different level of risk and return.
Conservative funds mainly invest in fixed interest investments such as bonds and cash; whereas growth funds have a larger exposure to shares. Balanced funds are a mix of both approaches.
Investments tend to go up in value in the long term, but over shorter periods of time the value of your investments can go up and down.
Growth funds are likely to be more volatile than conservative or balanced funds. However, they’re also expected to achieve higher returns over the longer term.
When you can withdraw your money
KiwiSaver is intended to be a long-term investment to help you save for your retirement. That's why generally, your money is locked away until you're 65.
However you may be able to withdraw funds before then. If you’ve had a KiwiSaver account for three years you can withdraw money to help you buy your first home.
You may also be able to access your money early if you move overseas permanently, or are experiencing significant financial hardship, or have a serious illness.
Choose the right fund
It’s important to choose a fund that matches your investment goals and your appetite for risk.
If you’re nearing retirement, or are hoping to withdraw money soon to buy your first home, then you might feel more comfortable in a conservative or balanced fund.
If you are decades from retirement then a growth fund might be the best choice. Everybody’s situation is different. We have a risk profile questionnaire that might help you to decide which fund you would like to invest in.
A helping hand from the Government and employers
If you’re aged between 18 and 65 and mainly live in New Zealand, the Government will contribute 50 cents for every $1 you contribute. Its contribution is capped at $521.43 per year.
If you’re employed, aged between 18 and 65, and contributing from your salary, your employer generally has to contribute at least 3% of your before-tax pay.
It’s your money
Your KiwiSaver money is managed by a provider, like ANZ. But the money is yours. It can’t be taken by your provider, or by the Government.
To protect your money all KiwiSaver funds are held in trust. The NZ Guardian Trust is the trustee for ANZ-managed KiwiSaver schemes.