Retirement

The age at which you can access your KiwiSaver Account is your "KiwiSaver Retirement Age". Your KiwiSaver Retirement Age is the later of the age you reach the standard eligibility age for New Zealand Superannuation (currently age 65) and 5 years after you first joined a KiwiSaver scheme (if you join after age 60).

When you reach your KiwiSaver Retirement Age you can withdraw all or some of your KiwiSaver Account balance at any time. You can choose to take this as a lump sum. Under SuperLife you can also continue to invest your savings and take some out as an income. 

KiwiSaver does not currently affect your entitlement to New Zealand Superannuation.  

Read more about your options and accessing your KiwiSaver Account at retirement.

 

Special circumstances

As KiwiSaver has been designed to help New Zealanders save for their retirement, you can't be paid a benefit before you reach your KiwiSaver Retirement Age, except in special circumstances.

First home withdrawal

If you have never owned a house you may also be able to use it to help buy your first home. KiwiSaver is a great way to save for your first home and the younger you start saving, the more beneficial KiwiSaver can be.

If you have been a member of KiwiSaver for at least three years and you buy your first home, you can withdraw some of your KiwiSaver Account to help you buy your first home. You do not have to have been saving for the three years; you must just have been a member. You can withdraw everything but $1,000. Also, if you have met the minimum contribution requirements for at least three years, you may qualify for the HomeStart grant of $1,000 for each year of saving (up to a maximum of $5,000) from Housing New Zealand. The $1,000 becomes $2,000 and the $5,000 becomes $10,000 if it is a newly built home. Read about KiwiSaver for first homes.

Death

If you die, your savings will be paid to your estate. Your savings can therefore act as a funeral or tangi benefit.  It is important that you have a Will and you keep it up-to-date.

Other circumstances

Benefits may also be payable prior to your KiwiSaver Retirement Age:

  • If you experience significant financial hardship. This maximum withdrawal excludes the government paid money but includes the investment earnings on it. The government paid money must stay invested for retirement. Learn more.
  • If you permanently emigrate. This withdrawal  excludes the MTCs if you emigrate to a country other than Australia, which are paid back to the government, but includes the investment earnings on them. From 1 July 2013, special rules apply for transfers to Australia. Learn more.
  • If you suffer serious illness. This withdrawal includes your full KiwiSaver Account savings. Learn more.

In most cases, you apply to the Manager or the Trustee if you want to withdraw your savings.  If you experience significant financial hardship or serious illness within the first three months of joining KiwiSaver, you'll need to apply to the IRD. 

If you need to apply in any of these circumstances and your KiwiSaver scheme provider is SuperLife, use the forms here, or contact us.