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Tracking down your KiwiSaver
 
Q.           When I started my current job three years ago, I was opted into KiwiSaver. Because I still have a student loan I was going to opt out, but I never got round to it. I see from my wage slip that my KiwiSaver contributions are being paid each week, but I don’t think I have had anything in the mail (or any email) about KiwiSaver. How do I find out what fund I am in and how much money I have saved?
 
A.            You are in an interesting situation. The Government requires all KiwiSaver providers to communicate regularly with investors, so either you have not been opening your mail or the fund manager does not have your correct address.
 
I can tell you that you will be in one of 5 (formerly 6) default Schemes. These are run by AMP, ASB, Mercer, OnePath or Tower. All KiwiSaver investors who do not choose which Scheme they want to be in (“active choice”) are randomly allocated to one of these providers by Inland Revenue. Because you are working, all your contributions flow from your employer to Inland Revenue and then onto your provider (or fund manager).
 
To find out which Scheme you are in, you need to contact Inland Revenue. The best way to do this, is to register online either through the IRD website at www.ird.govt.nz or their KiwiSaver website www.kiwisaver.govt.nz.
 
Once you have set up your user name and password, you can use the portal on either of these websites to access your KiwiSaver information. You can view all the money that has gone into your KiwiSaver via Inland Revenue including the $1000 “kickstart”, your annual Member Tax Credits and all employee and employer contributions. You can also view your contact details including your postal address and your email address. Most importantly, it will give you the name of your fund manager, their phone number and a link to their website.
 
Your next step is to pick up the phone and ring the fund manager. If they are able to verify your identity over the phone you may be able to find out the current balance of your KiwiSaver, or they will ask you to confirm your address and other contact details in writing first. Once this process has been completed, you should be able to login to their website and view your current balance on line. Most fund managers offer investors this option. 
 
Once you have tracked down your KiwiSaver provider, I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised by how much you have saved over the past 3 years. Depending on how much you earn, you could have well over $6,000 in your KiwiSaver account by now. If you joined in November 2010 and contributed at least $700 over the 8 months to 30 June 2011, you would have received $700 in MTC for that period. Since then MTC has been cut in half, so the maximum is now $521 over 12 months. Potentially you may have received $2742 from the Government to date, including the $1000 ‘kickstart’. 
 
Would you have been better off by repaying your student loan? While your student loan may feel like a millstone around your neck, as long as you live in New Zealand you are not accruing interest. In comparison, every dollar that you contribute to KiwiSaver (up to $1042 per year) is topped up by the Government by 50c. Right now, contributing to KiwiSaver puts your surplus income to better use than paying off your student loan faster. It looks like the ‘do nothing’ option has worked for you.