Cooking the Books: How ignoring KiwiSaver will leave you in the lurch

Author
Frances Cook,
Section
On Demand,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 6 September 2017, 5:36PM

Each week the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking The Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's what needs to change so that KiwiSaver works for those who need it the most. Hosted by Frances Cook.

The idea of struggling through your twilight years in poverty is a scary prospect, as it should be. You work hard all your life, and you're absolutely entitled to kick back and enjoy the rewards before kicking the bucket.

The problem is that to get the reward, you need to be planning from the moment you enter the workforce.

A pension is not enough to live on by itself. If you're single, you get around $20,000 a year. If you're a couple, you get around $30,000 a year between both of you.

It's especially bad if you haven't been able to buy a house and pay off the mortgage. You could easily blow your entire pension just keeping a roof over your head.

Enter KiwiSaver, where you automatically save a bit of your pay every week, saving up a nice little nest egg for retirement. Problem solved!

Except, it's not.

ANZ's released research showing the people who need the most help at retirement, aren't using KiwiSaver.

Eighty percent of those lucky guys earning more than 100-000 a year use KiwiSaver, but that drops to 53 percent when you get to people earning less than 50-thousand.

So what's going on, and how do we fix it?

I talked to ANZ's General Manager Wealth Products Ana-Marie Lockyer for the latest episode of the Cooking the Books podcast.

She pointed out many of the benefits of KiwiSaver rely on you contributing every year, including the three percent employer contribution, and the yearly $521 tax credit.

Loyckyer said that by the time you reach retirement, only 30 percent of your KiwiSaver will be your own money. The rest is your employer's contribution, the yearly government tax credit, and returns on your investment.

She suggested fixes including making KiwiSaver compulsory but with the option of lower rates, such as one percent of your salary, to make it more affordable. Lockyer also suggested cutting the time people can take a "holiday" from their KiwiSaver, and for providers to be more active in helping KiwiSavers manage their savings.

For the full interview, listen to the podcast.

If you want to ask me something about this podcast, or you have a question you want answered in a future episode, come and find me online. I'm on Facebook at Frances Cook Journalist https://www.facebook.com/FrancesCookJournalist/, and twitter at Frances Cook https://twitter.com/FrancesCook. Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast on the Apple podcasts app or I Heart Radio, to make sure you never miss a trick for your money.

 

ON AIR: Sportstalk

7PM - 8PM