Do you have a plan in place as to where your retirement income is going to come from? Can you rely on the Government to provide this for us? If not, then are you relying on an inheritance from your parents? Do you have property other than the house you live in or assets of value? If not then how are you going to live?
I’m meeting so many people who have nothing in place, it's ..either something they are not thinking about at all or they mean to start something up but haven't got around to it yet. But as prices for basic things like food, petrol and power, keep rising and government superannuation decreases it makes me wonder what is the lifestyle of most New Zealanders going to be looking like in 15-20 years time?
Through my days working at the bank I had many clients on the bank's Money Coaching Programme who were finding that living on the government superannuation, of approx $520 per week for a couple or approximately $320 if you were single was hard. Things were very tight and there was no discretionary money for spending. I would have to say you would be foolish not to have a plan in place.
How a KiwiSaver account can help
At the very least you can’t go wrong to just open up a KiwiSaver account. Be it with your work if you are employed or through your bank or privately. KiwiSaver was set up by the government to help you save for your retirement; it has some good incentives in it that makes KiwiSaver a great retirement savings vehicle. Example: you have nothing to lose but immediately $1000.00 to gain when you join. If you start contributing $20 a week into it you qualify for the government annual tax credit of approx $500 per year. This is very good and easy money Most people would not miss $20 from their income once a week.
If you work for a emplyer you can opt to contribute 3%, 4% or 8%, plus your employer must contribute towards it which is awesome. Extra money for you while doing nothing! I recommend you contribute at least slightly more if you know you will have no other means income when you reach retirement although diversifying is good if you can. Your current age needs to be considered in all this, the experts say 10% or 20% if you are 40 years old or older but speak to a financial adviser about this and decide what’s best for you and if you want to invest into a High Risk, Medium or Low Risk fund.
Another good thing about KiwiSaver is that it can adapt to your changing circumstances so if life throws you a curve ball you can take a Contribution Holiday whereby you put your payments on hold for a time which is great to have this option available, not to mention once you have been in the scheme for 5 years you may be eligible to receive an additional extra subsidy of $5000.00 per person to put towards your first home.
I am surprised just how many people either still don’t know anything still about KiwiSaver or are not in a KiwiSaver scheme at work, which often means they are not, let alone those who are but do not know which company their Kiwisaver is with. You get to choose which Company Scheme you wish to invest with for KiwiSaver, be it Fisher Funds, AMP, Milford or Lifestages, plus many more. Many people still believe it’s the Government that has their money, which is why I hear they don’t want to join. This is not true.
If you are one of the many people who have not thought about their retirement years and have nothing in place I strongly urge you to put something in place now. Also if you know any family members or friends who are in this situation, bring it up in conversation, for knowledge is a powerful thing and in this circumstance, ignorance is not bliss.
Start now! That small amount each week will soon grow to be a significant amount, a real investment in your future.