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Your KiwiSaver contribution rate's probably too low

Newshub logoNewshub 11/02/2019 Zane Small
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The amount of money you're contributing to KiwiSaver probably isn't enough to make an impact on your future, an expert says. 

The scheme is under the spotlight again as it's set to undergo changes this year under a bill that would see more contribution rates and people over 65 able to join. 

Money expert David Boyle said the changes would be "little wins", telling The AM Show on Tuesday it's important that people fully understand how they're investing.  

"The biggest impact of your return is where your money's invested," he said.

People that aren't signed up to the scheme are "crazy", Mr Boyle said, adding that those people are not thinking about their long-term future. 

He said the main thing that KiwiSaver users need to be thinking about is "not what they're doing today, but what they need to have tomorrow".

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"Most New Zealanders are [contributing] 3 percent, but 3 percent is not going to get you there in a long-term sense, so look at other investment options."

When a person joins KiwiSaver and does not choose an investment fund to join, they automatically get allocated to one of the nine options, and Mr Boyle said people need to be more aware of which option they're in. 

Changes proposed under the Taxation (Annual Rates, Business Taxation, KiwiSaver, and Remedial Matters) Bill include allowing people over the age of 65 to join the scheme, and changing the "contribution holiday" to "savings suspension".

"The name contribution holiday, it's a little bit of an oxymoron," Mr Boyle said. 

The current contribution holiday extends for five years, and the proposed change could see it brought down to one year, with people receiving a reminder when they're not contributing.  

The other proposed change is adding contribution rates of 6 percent and 10 percent to the existing 3, 4 and 8 percent rates, to give people more choices over their contributions. 

Mr Boyle said people should be able to choose what they contribute: "Getting those little wins across is a good start, but there's a lot more to be done."

A select committee report on the submissions to the bill is set for January before it heads to Parliament for a second reading. 

If the changes are to go ahead, the contribution rate changes and savings suspension name change are set to come in from April, with the over 65 change expected in July.

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