You might not plan to use the money you have invested in KiwiSaver for many years – or even decades. But that doesn’t mean you can forget about it.
As with most investments, it’s important to check in on your KiwiSaver account regularly to ensure that it is still set up to deliver optimal results for you.
Here are a few things to put on your checklist, to turbocharge your savings.
Check the type of fund you’re in
This is first on the list because it can make a big difference to the amount of money you can accumulate over the time you are invested in KiwiSaver.
In very broad terms, usually the longer you have until you need the money you’re investing, the higher the risk you may be able to take with it.
Higher risk KiwiSaver funds, such as growth and aggressive funds, tend to outperform (have higher returns) lower risk funds over the long run, although they may be a lot more volatile over the short term.
It’s important to review your KiwiSaver strategy regularly to make sure that your risk profile aligns with the fund you’re in, at every stage of your life.
Providers aren’t all the same, and it makes sense to check that you’re with one that is a good fit for you.
Some have active investment strategies, in which they choose the investments they think will deliver better outcomes for investors, while others have a passive strategy, in which they track an index, usually at a lower cost (fund manager fee) than the fees that active managers may charge.
Some focus on the advice they can offer while others have specialty funds that give you access to particular asset classes.
LifeDirect offers a comparison tool in partnership with KiwiSaver provider koura*, which allows you to see how the returns you’re getting and the fees you’re currently paying compare to the rest of the market. Of course, fees can change and past returns are no guarantee of future performance, but the comparison can be helpful when deciding what’s right for you.
Your own investment interests
Your KiwiSaver probably forms a significant part of your overall wealth, so it makes sense to ensure that it’s aligned with your own goals and interests.
Many providers have responsible investment strategies that mean they don’t put money into certain industries or sectors. Some engage as shareholders to drive change. Most offer information about these philosophies on their websites but you can also check your fund information for a breakdown of where your money is invested, if you have concerns.
LifeDirect’s KiwiSaver compare tool also enables you to identify different types of funds that might align with other investment interests you may have such as Bitcoin, New Zealand property or clean energy solutions.
The amount you’re contributing
If you’re an employee and you haven’t made an active choice when joining KiwiSaver, you’re probably contributing the minimum contribution rate of 3% of your salary to KiwiSaver, usually matched by an employer’s 3%.
Whether that is enough for the sort of retirement you want will probably depend a lot on your circumstances.
Research from Massey University has shown that even a very basic lifestyle usually costs more than NZ Super will provide – and someone living a “no-frills” lifestyle in a two-person house in a city would need to have saved $117,500 each to fund the difference.
Check out Sorted’s KiwiSaver calculator to view what you’re on track to have saved by retirement and work out whether you think that will be sufficient.
Time for a check-up?
Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.
* Disclaimer; The KiwiSaver comparison tool only compares the koura KiwiSaver scheme against your current fund and the market average. This tool does not offer a comprehensive market overview or compare multiple providers.