KiwiSaver is for all New Zealanders under age 65.  It helps you build up more retirement savings than you might otherwise achieve. However, most children will not join until they are 18 and start to qualify for the government paid member tax credits.

While retirement for a child is a long way off, KiwiSaver also helps them save to buy their first house, learn about investments and to establish a savings habit.  

 

How much must a child save?

For most children, the answer is nothing, but it depends on whether they have a job and are an employee.

If they are not an employee, they do not have to save anything. However, they can save if they want to (e.g. $10 a month). Others can also save for them e.g. grandparents. 

 

If they are employed (e.g. they have an after-school, weekend or holiday job), they have to save 3% of their before-tax pay i.e. $3 for every $100 gross they earn.  They have to do this for the first year they are in KiwiSaver.  After 1 year, they can choose to stop saving at any time by going on a contributions holiday.  To go on a contributions holiday, they must complete an IRD KS6 form and send it to the IRD.

If they are employed and they are saving the 3% then, when they turn 18, their employer must also save 3% for them.  

 

Buying the first home

KiwiSaver is a good way to save for a deposit to help buy your first home.  If you have been in KiwiSaver for 3 or more years, you can withdraw all of your KiwiSaver Account balance except $1,000, to help buy your first home.  Getting the 3 year minimum membership period over, when you are young, and starting a savings habit is therefore a good idea.

 

How is the money invested?

All of SuperLife's investment options are available for the investment of a child's KiwiSaver Account. There is a range of options from cash to shares. The SuperLife investment guide and SuperLife investment options will help you decide.

 

What about “member tax credits” (MTCs)?

Member tax credits are “free money” from the government. However, they do not apply to children until they turn 18.

For those 18 or older, the government pays a member tax credit to their KiwiSaver Account each year. The tax credit is $1 for each $2 of savings made that year, to a maximum MTC of $521.43 a year. As soon as you turn 18, you should look to contribute the equivalent of at least $87 a month, to maximise the government tax credit you receive. To find out more go to 'KiwiSaver - understanding member tax credits'. We will tell you more just before you are 18.

 

First home HomeStart grant

The HomeStart grant is separate to your KiwiSaver savings.  It is paid by the government and is subject to eligibility criteria.  The grant is equal to $1,000 for each year you have qualifying savings.  If the first home is a newly built house, the $1,000 for each year increases to $2,000.  The maximum grant is $5,000 ($10,000 if it is a newly built home) payable after 5 years’ savings ($10,000 or $20,000 for a couple where both qualify).

 

Where do I get more information?

More information is available on www.SuperLife.co.nz/KiwiSaver.html If you need investment advice, you should consult an appropriately experienced Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA).

 

How do I join my child?

Read the product disclosure statement available on the website www.SuperLife.co.nz/KiwiSaver.html and complete the membership form attached.

 

The legal stuff

This is not a product disclosure statement for the purpose of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013. A product disclosure statement is available from SuperLife free of charge.

Before making a decision to join a KiwiSaver scheme, you should consider whether you need to seek financial advice. If you wish to have personalised financial advice, you should talk to an appropriately experienced Authorised Financial Adviser.