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Your KiwiSaver Q & A 2013

10 December 2013     Hurdles to clear before signing up kids in scheme
 How do I go about signing up my children to KiwiSaver, and can their grandparents put money into their accounts?

3 December 2013    New tool for KiwiSaver investors
Q.  I have been pleased by how fast my KiwiSaver is growing - it is now over $30,000.  I have been in a conservative default fund since it started.  How do I find out if it's a good scheme?  I don't want to spend too much time thinking about my KiwiSaver.  I would prefer to check it once a year and get a happy surprise.

26 November 2013   First home withdrawal a one-off opportunity
Q.   My partner and I are looking at buying our first home.  The question is, will we be better off apply to withdraw about $22,000 from our KiwiSaver accounts or leaving the money there for the long term?  They say that the longer you save, the better.  We can scrape enough together for a deposit without using KiwiSaver, but of course we will have a bigger mortgage.  We are both in our late 20's.

18 November 2013 I don't know which fund I'm in or what I have saved
Q.      When I started my current job three years ago, I was opted into KiwiSaver.  Becuase I still have a student loan I was going to opt out but never got round to it.  I see from my wage slip my KiwiSaver contributions are being paid each week but I don't think I have had anything in the mail (or email) about KiwiSaver.  How do I find out what fund I am in and how much money I have saved?

12 November 2013   Is your fund a kitten or a lion?
Q.           Both my husband and I joined KiwiSaver back in 2007 when it started. Because we always had trouble saving we thought KiwiSaver would be a big help to us. I have stayed in the default AMP fund while my husband decided to switch into a growth fund, I think the one run by Carmel Fisher.   The other day I compared our fund balances and was surprised to see that he has over $20,000 in his fund, while I have about $16,500 - even though I earn slightly more than he does. Should I change to a higher risk fund? We are both in our 40’s so have many years of saving ahead of us.
5 November 2013    Wage cut may be worth opting in
Q.        I have an interesting issue with an employer.  The contract he offered me stipulates that if I opt-out of KiwiSaver, fine, but if I opt-in, my pay is instantly reduced by the amount he'd have to contribute, so I've been opting out; however, I've been working there 6 months and by his own admission I've singlehandedly built the business up from losses to a state of profit. I've had one pay rise and am on more than the minimum hourly wage.  I don't want to bring this issue up and risk retaliation, or miss the next pay rise. Opting into KiwiSaver will give me Gov't tax credits, and could help my wife and I get a housing subsidy. Can Inland Revenue intervene in this situation?

29 October 2013  Is own-home aim a goer at age 66?
Q.          My wife and I have been in KiwiSaver for 5 years with about $5k between us. We also have $2k in savings. I am 66 and my wife is 55. Four years ago we lost everything in the crash, including 2 houses. We are now in a Housing NZ house, but would dearly love to own our own house again.  We are looking to buy a cheap flat currently on the market at $139k. Earlier this year Kiwibank turned us down on same flat. Since then I have picked up extra work and currently earn $492 gross plus our super at over $500 pw. Is there any way that we could tap into the home loan scheme to purchase - or do I withdraw what I have contributed to KiwiSaver and put it down to a bad experience and not try?

Q.          My wife and I plan to buy a house using KiwiSaver before the end of the year. We have worked out that by December we will be eligible to withdraw around $35,000 between us. We are both invested in a growth fund and it has done really well over the past 3 years averaging nearly 10% per annum. But the situation in the States is worrying me and if it continues our KiwiSaver balance could go down. How do we switch to a lower risk fund and is this a good idea? 

8 October 2013     Is it worth joining scheme at 58?
Q.        We are now permanent residents so could start KiwiSaver - but is it worth me starting?  I am self employed and shall be 58 in December.  How long do you have to save for and would I get any worthwhile return?

Q.        I read your recent column about using KiwiSaver to buy a home. My wife and I would like to apply for the First Home Deposit Subsidy, as we have been contributing to KiwiSaver since 2007. I have read that the income limit has been increased to $120,000 for a couple, so I am hoping that we will qualify. Does it include overtime? Our gross income is around $110,000 but there are times when I get overtime, and that could push us over the limit. How is eligibility assessed?

23 September 2013       KiwiSaver's lift on home front
Q.         My wife and I have been living in our rather small home for 5 years.  The property is in my name.  We are looking at buying something bigger.  If we bought another property jointly, could my wife access her KiwiSaver funds, as she has not owned a house before?

17 September 2013          Both parents's signatures essential unless sole guardian
Q.          I am a solo working parent with 2 children aged 6 and 8.  I have seen the benefits of KiwiSaver for myself, and decided to sign up my children.  But when I talked to my bank they said I needed their father’s signature as well.  Now that’s a problem.  He is somewhere in Australia and I don’t know how to contact him.  Is there any way round this?


10 September 2013         Offshore grandchild misses out on KiwiSaver
Q.          We opened KiwiSaver accounts for our first three grandchildren when they were born. We would like to do the same for grandchild No 4 who was born in New Zealand last year but now resides with his parents in Australia.  Can we open an account for him now while he is in Australia or when next back on holiday in NZ - or when the family returns to reside in NZ?

Q.           I read your article in the HB Today business section of 13 August with interest. Like the reader who asked that question I too am self-employed. I rejected KiwiSaver for the same reason (paying off mortgage first) but haven't taken into account Member Tax Credits because I have no idea what it is. Could you please explain what it is?   Is it new since the inception of Kiwisaver? 

27 August 2013               Grandparent gives a leg up
Q.           As a grandparent I would like to see my grandkids buy their own home one day.  With recent government changes regarding deposit rates etc is starting KiwiSaver for my grandkids (aged 11 and 13) a good idea?  And after a minimum of say 5 years how much subsidy would be available to top up their KiwiSaver savings for the deposit on a house?

Super transfers super-slow from Australia
20 August 2013

No big KiwiSaver rake off
6 August 2013

KiwiSaver and capital guarantee?
30 July 2013

Diversify to avoid fund losses
23 July 2013

No Government boost for overseas savers
9 July 2013

Will admin fees whittle away KiwiSaver?
2 July 2013

KiwiSaver and our changing dollar
25 June 2013

Accessing Govm't Tax Credits
18 June 2013

11 June 2013
4 June 2013

KiwiSaver starts with first job
28 May 2013

Funds to be paid back after elibility error
21 May 2012

Absent KiwiSavers can't gain MTC
14 May 2013

Bank dangles the 'no fees carrot for KiwiSaver
7 May 2013

A dabble or a plunge into Mighty River?
30 April 2013

2 April 2013

Put cash into student loan or KiwiSaver?
26 March 2013

What if my Scheme winds up?
19 March 2013

Boss won't pay KiwiSaver
12 March 2013

Bank staff too eager to talk about KiwiSaver
5 March 2013

Is it time to review your KiwiSaver?
26 February 2013

KiwiSaver still worth joining at 61
20 February 2013