The biggest myths about KiwiSaver, busted.

29 April 2022 / Published in Your Money

Approximately 2.8 million New Zealanders are KiwiSaver members, but many of us are not 100% sure how it actually works. Kiwis range from "I see it disappear from my pay, but I don't know where it goes" to "I check my unit price every day". 

A good understanding of KiwiSaver can help you make better investment decisions. Only knowing the basics is OK too, as long as you get the right advice to put yourself on the right track. But "fake news" about KiwiSaver can be hugely misleading – and there's a lot of less-than-accurate myths out there.

Earlier in the year, we asked our ASB Facebook followers for the biggest KiwiSaver myths they'd heard. They came through with great responses, so we thought we'd share some of the top ones here, to help bust the worst of the KiwiSaver myths that might be stopping some kiwis from making the most of their retirement.

Myth 1: You can't join KiwiSaver until you're 18

Busted. Any New Zealand citizen or resident can join KiwiSaver, including children. There's no minimum age limit, but of course a parent or guardian must help. The child also needs an IRD number, which is available free from Inland Revenue.

We can help your child or dependent join KiwiSaver. You can then add money to their account, which they'll be able to use to help buy their first home. They take control when they turn 18, and if they are in paid employment, they will automatically start receiving the employer contribution. If they're eligible, they can also receive the annual Government contribution. For more information, take a look at our 'Making the most of KiwiSaver' guide.

Myth 2: KiwiSaver is good for employees, but not for the self-employed.

Busted. KiwiSaver is definitely good for full-time employees. But it's also a great investment scheme for the self-employed. 

If you're a contractor or freelancer, or if you run your own business, you can still join KiwiSaver. You can also choose how much and how often you save, with no minimum requirement. If you are eligible, you can also receive up to $521.43 from the Government each year, all you need to do is contribute at least $1,042.86 each year - which is about $20 per week. 

Find out more about saving for your future with KiwiSaver.

Myth 3: You lose thousands of dollars in KiwiSaver fees every year.

Busted. It's true, there are fees for KiwiSaver, which all providers have in some way. These fees cover things from operation management to investing in different asset classes. 

We aim to give you the best possible value for money. One of our philosophies is that low fees are essential for strong returns, so we regularly review our fees to ensure they're amongst the lowest on the market. We've also recently removed our administration fee to help deliver even better value to our customers' KiwiSaver investment.

To learn more about our fees, read our fees blog post.

Myth 4: Isn't the talk about the annual Government contribution just a scam?

Busted. It's definitely not a scam. You're right to be cautious, but this is one time when something that looks "too good to be true" really is true. The New Zealand Government will contribute $0.50 for every $1 you contribute, up to a maximum of $521.43 every year. That's basically free money to boost your KiwiSaver balance. 

Please note, not everyone is eligible for this, to see if your eligible and share the proof, see our annual Government contribution page. It explains all the ins and outs.

Myth 5: If you buy a property with KiwiSaver, your partner can't be on the title.

Busted. No, that's definitely not true. Anyone can share the ownership with you. It doesn't matter if one of you, both of you or none of you have used KiwiSaver to get your deposit together. As long as your name is on the Sale and Purchase Agreement as one of the buyers and you meet the eligibility criteria, you're good to go. We have given many home loans to couples who have both used their KiwiSaver investment for their deposit.

See our KiwiSaver home-buying guide for more information, and call us on 0800 100 600 to talk to one of our home ownership experts.

Myth 6: You can't touch your money until you turn 65.

Busted. The Government set up KiwiSaver to help everyone save for their retirement. So for lots of people, that will be when they turn 65. But you can also use your KiwiSaver savings well before then to buy your first home, which can be a huge help. You may also be able to use your KiwiSaver savings if you find yourself in serious financial hardship. Find out more on our KiwiSaver early withdrawal guide.

Those are the facts - not the alternative facts

Regardless of whether you feel you're a KiwiSaver expert or a novice, finding the right answers to your questions helps get you started toward your savings goal. That question might even be "What is my savings goal?"

Do you think your KiwiSaver balance is too low to get advice or maybe you just don't have the time to speak to someone? That's another myth we want to help you bust. Our recent blog on the power of advice looked into how much more money the right advice can mean for you in the long-term. Even if you have just started saving or been saving for years, speak to one of our KiwiSaver experts who will take you through our advice tool which will help you understand whether you are in the right fund to maximise your savings for your first home or retirement, even better, the conversation should only take 10-15 minutes!

Our expert team at ASB can help you choose your best options and give you the real facts about your KiwiSaver savings. 

Give them a call on 0800 272 738. They're available from 8am to 6:30pm during the week, or 8:30am to 5pm on Saturdays. 

Do you have any KiwiSaver myths you'd like us to look into? Get advice from our team of experts , or drop us a line on our Facebook page.

Interests in the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme (Scheme) are issued by ASB Group Investments Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of ASB Bank Limited (ASB). ASB provides Scheme administration and distribution services. No person guarantees interests in the Scheme. Interests in the Scheme are not deposits or other liabilities of ASB. They are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of income and principal invested. Fees may change. For more information see the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme Product Disclosure Statement available from this website and the register of offers of financial products at www.disclose-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz (search for ASB KiwiSaver Scheme).


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