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2015 Your KiwiSaver

14 December 2015    Helping adult children with KiwiSaver
Q. My daughter who is 32 years old started KiwiSaver some years ago and has saved around $5000.  Almost two years ago she moved to Europe and hasn't continued with payments into her KiwiSaver account.  She has no immediate plans to come back to NZ at the moment.  Could I start to pay into her account to build up some security for her retirement?  what would be the minimum amount per month?

7 December 2015     KiwiSaver helps with retirement cashflow
I have recently turned 65. I have been in KiwiSaver since 2007.   I am still working and my employer is still making contributions, so I have no intention of cashing in my KiwiSaver.   However, is it possible to take out a lump sum from my KiwiSaver account (say 20%) and leave the rest in the fund?   Alternatively, what about taking out a set amount every month to top up my income - is this also possible?

30 November 2015    KiwiSaver beyond 65 
Q.           What changes happen with your KiwiSaver when you reach 65?  If you continue with contributions is there still an annual Government credit?  I'll be 65 in March next year and intent not to be in paid employment.

16 November 2015    Taking a Super leap across the Tasman
Q.           I worked in Australia in the mid ‘90s before coming to New Zealand. I have been a member of KiwiSaver since it started, and I now want to transfer the small amount of Australian Super I have to my KiwiSaver account. I am filling out the form provided by the fund manager, and it asks me to attach “proof of the date I left Australia e.g. copies of airline tickets, passport or other documentation”. As it is 20 years ago, I don’t have any such proof. I am onto my third passport since I left Australia and I can’t find the old one with the exit stamp in it. What can I do?


9 November 2015    Get legal advice for home ownership
Q.           My boyfriend and I are both 24 and working full-time. We are looking at using our KiwiSaver to buy our first home. Trouble is, I have nearly $15,000 in my account as I joined in 2007 whereas he joined more recently and only has $9,000. We both spent 4 years at University so have not been contributing for long enough to get the HomeStart grant. My question is, should we contribute equal amounts or should I put in more? 

2 November 2015    Hardship withdrawal not for gambling
Q.        A family member is applying for a Significant Financial Hardship withdrawal from her KiwiSaver account.  Because her health has not been good she lost her job and has run up a lot of debts and is getting behind in her rent.  She is hoping to get $3,000 out of her KiwiSaver to clear some of her debts.   My worry is that if she gets the KiwiSaver money she will spend it gambling instead of paying off her debts.  Is there any way that the money can go straight on the debts and not to her bank account? I have tried to help her in the past but she won’t listen to me.

26 October 2015    Keep an eye on KiwiSaver transactions
Q.        I joined KiwiSaver in June 2009, contributing $5 a week as at that time as I was a beneficiary. Over the years my provider has changed twice - once my choice and the second time in 2011 when the company was taken over by Fisher Funds. I approached Fisher Funds recently and requested a statement of my KiwiSaver account. It did not, however, include my contributions to the other providers. What can I do? Should the records have been forwarded each time to the new provider or must I contact the other providers to get a true picture of my KiwiSaver contributions? The situation is compounded by the fact that I have recently been required to contribute to yet another company (separately to my current provider) upon taking up a part time job. This company is not Fisher Funds. So I have effectively contributed to 4 different KiwiSaver providers since 2009! I am in my early 60s and I am not particularly well versed in such matters. Can you explain what has been happening and what I should do?

 

12 October 2015      S is for Saver not House or Debt
Q.        I bought my first home six years ago, and joined KiwiSaver the following year.  My home loan is around $230k.  I also have a big credit card balance from a family wedding.  Can I use my KiwiSaver to pay some of my home loan?  This will reduce my repayments and help me pay off my credit card.

5 October 2015     KiwiSaver covered by Anti Money Laundering rules
Q.           We are a self-employed couple trading through our Family Trust.  We would like to set up a direct debit for $90 per month to our KiwiSaver accounts to get the Government top up each year.  Because it is a Family Trust bank account, we have been told we have to supply supporting paperwork to the fund manager for Anti Money Laundering compliance (the page of the Trust Deed showing our relationship to it).  All the paperwork is with our accountant so this is a hassle right now. Would it be easier just to make an annual payment of $1043 each from our Family Trust bank account using the KSS tax payment option through internet banking?

28 September 2015    First Home Withdrawal funds should be lower risk
Q.        Over the past 5 years my wife and I have been building up our KiwiSaver funds to buy our first home. Because we are young we chose a growth fund, and our returns have been very good. But now we are worried about the sharemarket going down and what effect that is having on our KiwiSaver. We have started looking at properties and hope to buy something within the next 3 months. We expect to be able to withdraw $40,000 between us and qualify for $10,000 with the HomeStart grant as well. 
 

21 September 2015     Keep emotions out of investing
Q.         My partner and I are both in our 20’s and have been in KiwiSaver for a few years now.  My balance is close to $10,000 and his is $5,000.  We are both in growth funds but with different fund managers.  I have to log in to their website to check my balance which I do about once a month.  My partner has an app on his phone and sees his balance every day.  When the Chinese market fell last month, he shifted all his money into a cash fund so that he would not lose money.  He then went back into his growth fund about two weeks later.  He says he saved about $200 by doing this.  Is this a good idea?

 Q.         We bought a 1.2 ha section in 2003 with the intention of putting a house on it. In 2004 we had a flood go through the property. The Council then told us we were not allowed to build on the property. We have tried to sell it many times but no one has wanted to buy it and our mortgage on it is a lot more than it’s now worth. We have been in KiwiSaver since the start but we have been told we can’t use our KiwiSaver to purchase a house as we already own property. To make matters worse in June we had our fourth flood go through the property. Any ideas?

7 September 2015    Contributions do not have to be consecutive to qualify for HomeStart
Q.         My parents signed me up to KiwiSaver in 2007 while I was still at school. During my years at uni I contributed from part-time jobs. Since finishing my degree two years ago I have been working full-time and putting in 3%. My boyfriend and I are talking about buying a house one day, but we would like to go overseas for two years at the end of next year. If we contribute for 3 years before we go away, and then another two years when we get back, will we qualify for the full HomeStart grant? An extra $10,000 between us would be a big help. But I have heard that that contributions have to be consecutive, without any interruptions. Is that the case?

31 August 2015       Home buyers need to plan long term
Q.        My wife and I owned a house once but sold it 18 years ago. We have been saving into KiwiSaver and found a house that we want to buy. We thought we would qualify to withdraw our savings plus get the HomeStart grant, which would give us $27,000 all up. Between us we usually earn less than $120,000 p.a. but with overtime we earned $129,000 over the past 12 months. Because the income limit is $120,000 for a couple we were turned down. It feels like we are being penalised for working hard. Why doesn’t Housing New Zealand just look at your regular pay and not overtime when working out what you are eligible for? Now we have to find that $27,000 somewhere else or lose the house.

24 August 2015        Check rules before house hunting
Q.        I have been in KiwiSaver for more than 3 years and I have been saving hard towards my First Home.  However, we have a Family Trust which owns a rental property bought some years ago.  Am I still eligible to make a First Home Withdrawal?

17 August 2015       Choices for KiwiSaver investors
Q.        I am self-employed and haven’t signed up to KiwiSaver. Years ago I invested money in managed funds but they didn’t do well and I have avoided them since - I prefer to keep my money in the bank now. At least I know where my money is invested, compared with managed funds where your money could be going anywhere. Are there any advantages to me joining KiwiSaver? It also annoys me that fund managers charge fees whether they make money or not. Are there any KiwiSaver managers who only charge fees if they make money for their investors?

10 August 2015        Bringing Aussie Super Home
Q.        My brother is back in NZ after spending a number of years in Australia.  We have his Tax File Number TFN for Australia and I am helping him find out what Super he may have in Aussie that can be transferred back to his ANZ OneAnswer KiwiSaver Scheme.  We have tried to register on the 'Find My Super' Australia site but it wants current Australia residence info which we don't have as he is no longer living there.  What is the best way to go about finding any funds for transfer? He had a number of jobs over there so he has no idea of what super he may have and who with. The only reliable thing he has is his TFN number.  

3 August 2015    Falling deposit rates hurt retired investors
Q.             My wife and I worked hard for many years to accumulate a nest egg (this was before the days of KiwiSaver).  When we first retired we were earning around 8% p.a. which supplemented our NZ Super, but now that interest rates are in the toilet our incomes are dwindling.  We have cash in bank term deposits, plus we have a rental property.  We’re not into the share market as we think that’s too risky for us, and we’re thinking of selling our rental as our returns on it are even lower than our bank deposits.  We were stung with the Hanover Finance debacle, so we’re very gun shy.  Can you tell us where to look for some better options?

27 July 2015    Casual workers saving for retirement nest egg
Q.           I haven’t had much luck finding a full time job but I have several employers who give me casual work. I have never joined KiwiSaver because of my work situation, but I would like to get something started as I’m not getting any younger. Can someone like me join KiwiSaver?

21 July 2015   Joining KiwiSaver outside the job
Q.        My employer is not really a KiwiSaver advocate and he salarises all benefits so my take-home pay is more because I am not in KiwiSaver. The tax credits available from the government look attractive so could I start a KiwiSaver account without getting a contribution from my employer? I have heard of the term contribution holiday in respect of KiwiSaver. Could I utilise this so the IRD does not pressure my employer? I enjoy my job and I do not want to upset my employer.

14 July 2015    Investment statement answers questions
Q.           What is MTC that you referred to in your recent HB Today column?  There are a few things about KiwiSaver that I don’t understand.  I joined a few years ago, when I was over the age of 60.   In May I turned 65 and I applied to withdraw my funds.   I went to ASB and was given the forms, jumped through all the hoops required and submitted my withdrawal request.   Then I waited…   and waited… checking my bank balance regularly for the appearance of my money.   When a couple of weeks had gone by I sent them an email asking about progress with my withdrawal.   I received a reply – ‘Your account records show that your withdrawal form was received however the Team advise that you are not eligible for the withdrawal until 15 October 2016.’   I phoned to ask why and was told it was because I joined after the age of 60.   At no stage was I told that I wouldn’t be able to get my funds when I turned 65.  How can they withhold that money from me?  It is in an account in my name, it is my money. I think it is terribly unfair that I can't have the money.

7 July 2015     KiwiSaver at 18 and 65
Q.           I turn 65 in early October. Do I have to cash in my KiwiSaver at that date? I won’t be working and I know there is no Government top up once I have turned 65. Also all this carry on about losing the $1000 kickstart from the Government, they say it will discourage new KiwiSaver entrants. But isn’t it compulsory if over 18 years anyway when they start a job? They are hooked in automatically, and don’t need $1000 incentive to join, as they are in it whether they like it or not.

30 June 2015    KiwiSaver not the only option for savers
Q.           My husband and I have fairly traditional roles in our family – he works full time in a demanding job while I work part-time as a teacher aide and look after our children. We are both contributing 3% to KiwiSaver but because he earns so much more than me his balance is over $50,000 while mine is just over $10,000. He has suggested that we put some of his income into my KiwiSaver. Is this a good idea?

23 June 2015   Where's my KiwiSaver?
Q.           Could you please tell me how to find my KiwiSaver? I want to know how much I’ve got in there.

16 June 2015    Government top up ends on 65th birthday
Q.        I am going to turn 65 in March 2016. If I do not withdraw my KiwiSaver funds in March but wait to July 2016 and contribute $1043 between 1 July 2015 and my 65th birthday will I be entitled to the full government tax credit of $521?

9 June 2015        Options for increasing KiwiSaver contribution
Q.           My wife and I have both been in KiwiSaver for 6 years. We have been contributing the minimum and there have been times when I have thought about taking a contributions holiday because our money never seemed to go far enough. But now our children are off our hands and for the first time in a long while we have money to spare. We would like to increase our level of contributions – how do we go about doing that? 

2 June 2015      Getting free advice from your KiwiSaver provider
Q.           I have been in ANZ KiwiSaver since I was 65. I am now going onto 71 and I have $12,000 in my account.  I would like to know whether I should draw it out and invest in a term deposit with the bank or should I still keep my ANZ Kiwi Saver account going?  I have a part-time job for 12 hrs a week.  I have tried to ask my bank ANZ what is the best to do but they have been no help at all. I rang the banks 0800 number but all I got was: “I will send you a form”.  Banks are very good at selling products, but when you need to know something it is a closed shop.  I just need some advice.

26 May 2015     Axed kickstart disappoints parents
Q.        I was planning to sign my children up to KiwiSaver but the Government has announced that it is cancelling the $1000 kick-start. Is there any point in signing up my children now? They are aged 3 and 5.


19 May 2015    Topping up KiwiSaver before 30 June
Q.           Because I have taken time off work to look after my two small children, I haven’t made any contributions to my KiwiSaver over the past 12 months. My husband said the other day that we should put enough money into my account to get the Government top up. How much should I put in and can I do it online? My children keep me busy and it’s hard to find the time to do this.

12 May 2015    Protect funds from probate costs
Q.           I have always liked to keep things simple. My wife and I own everything jointly, so that if something should happen to one of us the other will not have to go through any expensive legal process to ‘inherit’ their half share. Everything that is except KiwiSaver, which we own individually and our balances are now over $30,000 each. I have heard that if your balance is over $15,000 it has to go to Probate. Is there any way round this? We are both in our early 60’s and still working.

5 May 2015   Going overseas, what are my options?
Q.           I have been paying 8% into my KiwiSaver since I started full time work 3 years ago and my balance is now over $17,000. My plan was to contribute for 5 years then withdraw the money to buy my first home. However, things have changed in my job mainly because of a new boss and I can’t see myself working there for two more years. I am now thinking of heading off to the UK on a working visa. What is going to happen to my KiwiSaver while I’m away? I also owe nearly $15,000 on my student loan –should I have paid this off instead of putting so much into KiwiSaver? 

28 April 2015      Can KiwiSaver help to buy a farm?
Q.           My wife and I have been saving to buy a farm. We have never owned our own home as accommodation has been provided with all the jobs I have had. I have heard about the changes to the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant, and we are wondering if this would help us to buy a farm? We have both been in KiwiSaver since 2008. 

21 April 2015      KiwiSaver and creditors
Q.           Can you settle an argument I have been having with my boyfriend? He is self-employed and has been saving into KiwiSaver since it started, and his balance is now over $40,000. His plan is to use the money to buy a first home one day. His business does all right but often he has a lot of money owed to him and if there was a downturn things could turn to custard. He thinks if he went bankrupt his creditors would get the money in his KiwiSaver but I don’t think they would. Who is right? 

14 April 2015   Track contributions to qualify for HomeStart
Q.           My boyfriend and I were interested to read about the changes to KiwiSaver for First Home buyers. Would we qualify for the HomeStart grant? We have been KiwiSaver members since we were 16, but have only been contributing through our wages since we graduated and started working full time 12 months ago. We are now 22 and 23. 

1 April 2015   Hubby gone, next to nothing saved - too late to join at 58?
Q.           I am 58 years old and recently separated. I have never been much of a saver and I left all the financial decisions to my ex husband as he seemed to know what he was doing. Too late I realised that several bad business decisions on his part have left me with very little. I work full time in an office and have moved in with my sister. I didn’t join KiwiSaver as my ex husband didn’t believe in it. Is it too late to join? I am in good health and plan to keep working till I am at least 65.

24 March 2015  Jugging two jobs and KiwiSaver
Q.           I have been working part-time for the past few years.  I opted out of KiwiSaver when I started my first part-time job.  I am now starting a second part-time job.  Can I join KiwiSaver for this job, and remain opted out for my first job?

Q.           I have recently retired at the age of 65.  I have built up a reasonable KiwiSaver balance and am looking to move some of my term deposits into my fund as well.  My question is, my tax rate for KiwiSaver (Prescribed Investor Rate or PIR) has been 28% but now that I am retired and living off NZ Super and income from my investments I think it should be 17.5%.  In a recent column you said that an investor’s PIR is based on the last two years’ income.  How long do I have to wait before I can drop down to a lower tax rate? 

10 March 2015 - Employees need to check wage slips
Q.        My son left school at 17 and has been working for his current employer for the past 4 months. When he started he ticked the box that he was in KiwiSaver, but they did not make any deductions from his wages. Oh well, we thought they would start when he turned 18. He turned 18 a few weeks ago, but when he showed me his payslips there were still no deductions. What should we do? Doesn’t IRD notify them that they should be making deductions?

3 March 2015 - Getting the correct PIE tax rate
Q.        My parents signed me up to the Fisher Funds KiwiSaver Scheme in 2007 when I was 16. Even though I was a student for most of the past 8 years, contributions from my part-time and holiday jobs along with Government top-ups and investment returns (I am in the growth fund) have all helped grow my balance to over $7,000. I am now working full time and my question is, what tax rate should I be on?  On my statements it says 10.5% but I think I should be on a higher rate. If its wrong, how do I change it?

24 February 2015     Options limited for KiwiSaver DIY
Q.        I came across an article you wrote in 2012 in answer to a reader’s question, "Are there any KiwiSaver schemes that invest in gold?" In your answer you explained that it would not be prudent to invest solely in any one asset class but you did not specifically name any KiwiSaver funds that invest in gold.  Where you able to find any KiwiSaver funds that allow for purchase of bullion or allow investors to purchase something like the Sprott ETF, Europacific Gold Fund, or a royalty company such as Franco Nevada?
Q.        I joined the Milford KiwiSaver Active Growth Fund 5 years ago knowing that it was a higher risk fund but because I already had investments in property along with term deposits it filled a gap in my portfolio. I have been very pleased with the returns I have been getting, up to 25% per annum. Then last week I read in the newspaper that the company is being investigated for ‘alleged market manipulation’. What does this mean for my KiwiSaver investment?

10 February 2015   New fund based on religious beliefs
Q.       I am in the Mercer Conservative (default) fund with $23,400 in my account. I am pleased to see my savings growing, but I don’t know where my money is invested and that worries me. How do I find out more? For example, I would not like to be invested in companies involved in gambling or weapons manufacture.

3 February 2015   Save now to help your retirement
Q. I am now 60 and have just over $45,000 in my KiwiSaver account. Apart from a mortgage-free house and $20,000 in bonus bonds, that is all the savings I have. If I keep working and contributing at my current rate of 3% to age 65 how much will I have in KiwiSaver, and how much help will it be to me? I live alone and earn $62,000 per annum.
 
27 January 2015   Are default members missing out?
Q.        I have been in the AMP KiwiSaver Default fund since 2007. Last year my balance reached $50,000 so I decided to find out if the default fund was the right fund for me. I went through the risk profile questions on their website, which told me that I should be in a growth fund. I shifted my KiwiSaver across to the AMP Growth fund in May last year and I have been amazed how quickly the balance has increased since I did. My question is, how much have I missed out by being in a conservative fund all these years, and why didn’t AMP encourage me to review my fund?

20 January 2015    No joint ownership for KiwiSaver
Q.        My husband and I have both retired recently at the age of 65. We have built up just over $100,000 between us in KiwiSaver, partly through work and also by cashing up other investments that weren’t doing as well. We now plan to withdraw a regular amount from our KiwiSaver accounts to help with our weekly living expenses. This would be easier if we could combine our two KiwiSaver accounts into one. Is this possible?

13 January 2015     First Home purchasers getting more help from KiwiSaver
Q.        I am a single woman in my 30’s saving to buy my first home in two years’ time. Should I be saving into my KiwiSaver account or into a bank account? Does it make any difference? I am self-employed and already contribute $100 a month into my KiwiSaver account.

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