Saving with KiwiSaver
KiwiSaver is a voluntary savings scheme with additional rewards from the Government. Once you have joined, your savings will generally not be available to you until at least age 65. You may be able to access some or all of your savings before age 65 in limited circumstances, including access for a first home purchase or if you have a serious illness. If you are employed, contributing from pay and are eligible, there are also compulsory employer contributions.
If you’re working, contributions are automatically deducted from your pay at the rate of 3%, 4% or 8% (you choose the rate) and sent to Inland Revenue (which then sends them to your KiwiSaver scheme provider). Also, your employer contributes a minimum of 3% of your pay while you contribute and are eligible (tax is taken from this payment). There is good information on your employer’s contribution obligations on the KiwiSaver website.
If you’re self-employed or not working, you can agree with your KiwiSaver scheme provider how much you want to contribute and make payments directly (the Christian KiwiSaver Scheme accepts automatic payments or direct debit or one-off lump sum payments).
If you plan to make contributions as part of first home purchase savings you will need to be a member of KiwiSaver for a minimum of three years before you can withdraw funds to purchase a first home.
Every year, from age 18 to 65 and while you mainly live in New Zealand, you can receive money from the Government into your account.
To receive the Government’s contributions all you have to do is contribute to KiwiSaver while eligible. The Government pays 50c for every $1 you pay in, but there is a limit. To get the maximum of $521.43 a year (which equates to $10 a week) from the Government, you need to pay at least $1,042.86 each year. This equates to $20 a week. The Government assesses your eligibility for its contributions as at 30 June each year. It looks only at your contributions during the preceding 12 months and does not include employer contributions or investment returns. If you join KiwiSaver part-way through a year, you’ll receive the Government’s contributions based on the number of days in that year that you’ve been an eligible member.
You can make additional contributions by voluntary payments. Members do this for a number of reasons including making top-up contributions before 30 June each year to get the maximum annual Government contribution for that year.
What happens if you have more than one job?
If you are auto-enrolled in KiwiSaver then contributions need only be made from the pay you receive from the employer through which you were auto-enrolled (in which case, if eligible, you will also only receive employer contributions from that employer). However, you can opt-in to KiwiSaver with respect to your other jobs as well – in that case, contributions will also be payable by both you and your employer from those other jobs.
If you opt-in to KiwiSaver and have more than one job when you join then you must select at least one job to count for KiwiSaver, and this means contributions must be made from the pay you receive from that job. However, you can also include any of your other jobs as well – in that case, contributions will also be payable by both you, and if you are eligible, your employer from those other jobs.
If you are a member of KiwiSaver and then take on a new job or an extra job after joining then these will count for KiwiSaver, so contributions will also be payable by both you and your employer from those other jobs.
To join it does not matter whether you are working or not. Children can also join. There are three ways to join KiwiSaver:
- When you start a new job, your employer will automatically enrol you (unless you indicate that you do not want to join – this is called an opt-out).
- By telling your employer you want to start making KiwiSaver payments (this is called an opt-in).
- By contacting a KiwiSaver scheme and filling out an application form.
Eligibility to join KiwiSaver
To join KiwiSaver, you must be living or normally living in New Zealand (with some exceptions) and be a New Zealand citizen or have an entitlement to live here permanently. You must also be aged below 65 (although there is no age limit for transferring between KiwiSaver schemes).
Choosing a scheme
You can join a KiwiSaver scheme of your choice. If you are automatically enrolled or opt in and don’t make a choice, you will be allocated to the scheme your employer has chosen for its employees (if any) or Inland Revenue will allocate you to a default scheme. If you want to join the Christian KiwiSaver Scheme you can apply directly to us or see if your employer has listed us as their chosen scheme.
Changing your scheme
You can choose to change to another KiwiSaver scheme at any time for any reason. You just need to complete the application form for the new scheme and the rest will be taken care of for you. You can only be in one KiwiSaver scheme at a time.