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KiwiSaver keeps going for many workers at 65
 
Q.           I have been a member of KiwiSaver since 2007 when I was 56.  I have been contributing 4% of my wages and my employer has been matching my contributions.  I will turn 65 at the end of next year.  What happens to my KiwiSaver then? If I keep it going, can I transfer it to my family trust?
 
A.         Many people believe that KiwiSaver finishes when they are 65. This is not the case. The changes that do take place are (a) that you are able to take your money out if you wish (b) your boss is no longer obliged to continue making employer contributions and (c) you are no longer eligible for Member Tax Credits. Those members who continue to work can continue contributing to KiwiSaver. And why not? If you have managed without the money up until now, you may as well keep on saving. In fact, why not increase your contributions? Most New Zealanders become eligible for NZ Super at 65. At current rates of NZ Super this will give you an annual income boost of up to $18,585 net per year. I know people who are saving most if not all of their NZ Super while they continue to work. You can set up a direct debit directly with your fund manager.
 
Can you transfer your KiwiSaver to your family trust? The short answer is no. A KiwiSaver account can only owned by an individual. You can withdraw some or all of the money and transfer those funds to your family trust. 
 
Once you have turned 65, your KiwiSaver turns into an ordinary unlocked savings plan without top ups from your employer or the Government. You can withdraw money from it, add lump sums to it, and even switch to another Scheme altogether. However, if you withdraw all your money your account will be closed and you will not be able to re-open it as you will be over 65.
 
We are living longer these days, so plan for a long retirement. Statistics New Zealand has a useful calculator to work out your life expectancy depending on how old you are now. A male born in 1951 can expect to live to the ripe old age of 84 to 86. To be on the safe side, expect to be around for at least 25 years from the age of 65. 
 
How much will you need to save to live comfortably once you do retire? Many people look forward to giving up work, but when the day comes round they find it hard to adjust to living on a much lower income. NZ Super covers the basics, but there’s not much left over for car upgrades, home maintenance or health costs – let alone holidays. Any extra savings will certainly help. Someone who retires with savings of $100,000 (invested at 3% net per annum) will have an extra $5,740 per year over a 25 year retirement, spending both interest and capital over that time. This is not much more than $100 per week, but $100,000 is a huge sum for many people to save. You can see why many people choose to keep working after 65, putting in a last minute spurt to pad out their nest egg. 
 
 
Shelley Hanna is an Authorised Financial Adviser FSP12241. Her disclosure statement is available on request and free of charge by calling 870 3838. The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to provide personalised advice. Send your KiwiSaver questions to shelley.hanna@peak.net.nz