Many of us have grown up with the stories of Winnie the Pooh. If we didn’t, some of us may have seen the recent movie called ‘Christopher Robin’ which re-introduces Winnie the Pooh to a wider audience.
Many of us would be surprised to know that Winnie the Pooh owned a gun in 100 Acre Wood. We would be puzzled as to why they would own guns in that wood as they don’t hunt, and they don’t have target practice. Yet, in one account of Winnie the Pooh’s exploits, there was a knock on the door of his tree. Winnie answered the door … with a gun in his hands.
When A. A. Milne started writing about Winnie the Pooh in 1926, it was a different time with a different attitude toward guns. Like climate change, guns and munitions have increasingly become something that people are concerned about.
After the attacks on the Al-Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch earlier this year there has been a growing concern about whether New Zealand KiwiSaver providers have invested funds in arms or munitions. There are some providers that have invested in this industry. But the Christian KiwiSaver Scheme is not one of those; it is among a small number of KiwiSaver providers that provide ethical investments and excludes munitions.
In a recent Colmar Brunton survey, over 70 percent of respondents answered that it was important for them that their KiwiSaver money was not invested in weapons. The survey found that a lot of members didn’t know if their funds were invested in munitions at all.
In New Zealand, there are over 2.7 million people signed up with KiwiSaver. The New Zealand Herald quoted a 2018 Consumer survey finding that around seven out of 10 people wanted their money invested ethically. But only around 8,600 people had signed up to specifically targeted ethical investment funds. While some people may hesitate in investing in ethical funds as they may feel these funds give lower returns, some of the best companies in the current market are those that are the most sustainable companies – they look after the environment and their employees. So thinking seems to be changing among investors.
Remember you can log into your account and check which fund your money is invested in. Or, if you prefer, give us a call on (0508) 738 473.
Winnie the Pooh image from www.disneyclips.com
There are so many interpretations of what ethical investing is. Now there’s a new way to check out whether a KiwiSaver scheme, and the investment funds it offers, is ethically invested.
It’s Mindful Money and we support them. We like the transparency around where funds are invested. They categorise the investment funds into sectors that research has shown are the main areas of concern for New Zealanders. They advise “We’ve done the research and selected the KiwiSaver funds that are serious about investing responsibly.” This research included Mindful Money analysing all 260 KiwiSaver funds.
Christian KiwiSaver Scheme’s three investment funds (Income, Balanced and Growth) are among the 23 investment funds that meet Mindful Money’s criteria to be listed on their site. We are also the only KiwiSaver scheme that invests under universally accepted Christian values in addition to applying an ethical investment policy.
Some of you are asking what’s a PIR and what’s the fuss about them? Your PIR is your Prescribed Investor Rate and this is the tax rate that applies to investment earnings in certain types of investments including KiwiSaver. Having the wrong PIR will cost you money.
There are three PIR rates: 10.5%, 17.5% and 28%. As a general rule if your taxable income is above $48,000 then your PIR should be 28%.
It’s important to have the correct PIR. If your PIR is too high then you will be paying more tax than you need to. We understand that Inland Revenue hasn’t been giving refunds in these situations. If your PIR is too low then you could be facing a tax bill.
Has Inland Revenue been in touch with you about your PIR? Earlier this year Inland Revenue identified 450,000 New Zealanders who they determined were on the wrong PIR. Inland Revenue has started contacting those who appeared to have a PIR that was too low and advising how much tax they owe.
Inland Revenue recently replaced their computer system and that means it can now check your PIR against your personal taxable income. Your PIR is based on your income. If your income changes (up or down), this might mean a change in your PIR. Your residency status can also affect your PIR.
A guide to calculating your PIR is available to help you.
You can log into your Christian KiwiSaver Scheme account and check your PIR. If you need to change your PIR then send us an email. If you’re not sure then you can phone us on 0508 738 473.
From 1 July 2019, the age 65 restriction on joining was removed and this group of New Zealanders (and permanent residents) can now join and invest in KiwiSaver.
KiwiSaver is now an investment option for New Zealanders who are 65 or older. So why join KiwiSaver at this stage of life? Well, it provides an opportunity invest into a professionally managed savings product without your money being ‘locked away’ (as is the situation for those aged under 65 except in certain circumstances). The other thing is that life expectancy is increasing meaning your savings need to work harder to last over a longer period.
Christian KiwiSaver Scheme offers members a choice of three investment funds – Growth, Balanced and Income. The Income Fund has the lowest level of risk attached to it.
Christian KiwiSaver Scheme offers its members a KiwiSaver scheme that is invested under universally accepted Christian values. Long before it became trendy we were investing our funds in an ethical and responsible way. As Christians we like to make investment choices that resonate with what we believe.
While Christian KiwiSaver Scheme does not offer its members a “pension” we can pay your savings to you as a regular income each month or quarter. The frequency is your choice. You can also withdrawal large amounts (or your whole balance) at any time. We do not currently charge a transaction fee for regular payments or other payments.
Every year the Government makes contributions to the accounts of eligible KiwiSaver members, up to $521.43 each. These contributions are usually credited to members’ accounts in early July. In 2018 the Government paid $753 million in contributions to KiwiSaver members. Did you get your share of that? Make sure you receive your $521.43 this year by contributing enough before 30 June 2019.
How much can I get?
The Government pays 50c for every $1 you pay in, but there is a limit. The Government’s money is credited to your KiwiSaver account. To get the maximum amount of $521.43 from the Government, you need to pay at least $1,042.86 each year. This equates to $20 a week. Here are some examples of how this works:
If you are an employee and earn $34,762 p.a. or more, and contribute the minimum 3% of your pay to KiwiSaver then you’ll qualify for the maximum without having to do anything else.
If you want to receive the maximum amount for the year ending 30 June 2019 year then you can make a top-up contribution if you wish to do so. But this needs to be done before the end of June 2019.
Who can get this free Government money?
The Government will make an annual payment into your KiwiSaver account as long as you:
- have made personal contributions to your KiwiSaver account during the year;
- are aged between 18 and 65*; and
- were resident mainly in New Zealand.
*Eligibility for the Government’s money can extend beyond 65 if you have not been in KiwiSaver for 5 years; in which case it ceases after 5 years membership.
You can make personal contributions to your KiwiSaver account by deductions from your pay, or regular payments, or lump sum payments.
Not sure about your personal situation
You are welcome to contact us to check on your situation, or you can log on to your member section of the Christian KiwiSaver Scheme website to access your personal information.
There is a lot of jargon around these days that it is hard to keep up with. What does responsible investing mean? Is it just another piece of jargon that is boring or difficult to understand and bears no relation to our day-to-day life?
On a simple level, responsible investing could be like shopping for eggs in the supermarket. When you find the eggs on the supermarket shelves, you are confronted by a range of different choices – bio organic eggs, paddock eggs, free-range, caged, cage-free, barn raised, and the list goes on. There is such a wide variety of eggs you could select, with a range of prices to match your choice. So how do you choose? Would you buy solely on the price going for the cheapest eggs no matter what? Or would you prefer organic eggs or maybe you are concerned for the chickens’ welfare and would not select eggs from caged chickens?
So on a personal level in this scenario, with the eggs, you could be considered to be behaving like a responsible investor. You are deciding which would be the best eggs for you on which to use your money.
On a broader level, responsible investing is like that example of deciding which eggs you will buy. When you (or your KiwiSaver provider on your behalf) are investing responsibly you are considering investments which reflect your values and possibly reflecting how a company is managing its responsibilities, say to the environment or its community.
Another name you may have heard is ethical investing. It is a term that has been discussed a lot recently and is an alternative name for responsible investing. Simply when investing, like buying those eggs from a supermarket, responsible or ethical investing is looking at not only the financial return (or the price) of the investment but whether that investment aligns with your personal (Christian) values.
You may recall either working for or hearing about, companies that were out to maximise their profit no matter the cost. However, over recent years, there has been a change to balance the interests of shareholders with other stakeholders (e.g. the environment).
One example of this we will all have noticed recently is the big change to our supermarket shopping with plastic bags no longer being available to store our purchases. There had been a community concern for the effect of plastic bags on our environment, with the sheer numbers in our landfills or in our oceans for example. So because of the community concern with their use, supermarkets no longer use plastic bags.
Just as the community has become more concerned with issues, like plastic supermarket bags, there has also been a concern about where KiwiSaver funds are invested. At Christian KiwiSaver Scheme we endeavour to avoid investments in such products as tobacco, guns and other arms manufacturing, gambling, and adult entertainment as they are out of line with Christian values. How companies behave with regards to the environment, their employees and others, how they govern themselves, and how they reward their management are things we also think about when making investment decisions.