See what COVID-19 related questions customers asked us about KiwiSaver.

Q. Can I withdraw my KiwiSaver money?"

A. The law governing KiwiSaver doesn’t generally allow withdrawals until you turn 65. In some specific circumstances, because of financial hardship or for a first home purchase, early withdrawals can be made.

You should think carefully about your investment goals and timeframes as withdrawing all your KiwiSaver funds now locks in any losses. Historically, investors who've been able to avoid selling during drops have been rewarded by the market over the long haul.

Check whether you’re eligible to make an early withdrawal

If you're a member of the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme and wish to get in touch with Kiwi Wealth to discuss your options, you can contact them via email at questions@kiwiwealth.co.nz or on the Live Chat function on kiwiwealth.co.nz.

Q. I was planning on using my KiwiSaver funds to buy a first home. I don’t have enough now for a deposit, what are my options?"

A. If you still plan to buy a home within the next 12 months, it may be worth considering your risk appetite. Moving your funds to a lower risk fund (like cash) may be an option to reduce any further significant loss.

Kiwi Wealth's Future You tool, available to every member of the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme, can help you assess your personal situation and risk appetite.

KiwiSaver Q&A session

Kiwibank’s Simon Hofmann (Chief Marketing Officer) & Kiwi Wealth's Melissa Vasta (Acting GM, Retail and Product) answer the questions customers asked about KiwiSaver during COVID-19.

Please note that this live Q&A session, streamed via Facebook, has now finished.

Q. Should I be changing the type of fund my KiwiSaver account is invested in?"

A. We can't provide specific advice on your circumstances but, as a general rule, your investment timeframe is the most important consideration with fund selection i.e. when you think you’re likely to retire.

For example, people with a 20-year retirement horizon and who aren’t planning on making a first home withdrawal should still be in a growth-oriented fund, and don’t need to do anything. Over the long term, KiwiSaver account balances should increase again when then the market recovers. Switching funds temporarily, say from Growth to Conservative, will lock in any loss and is risky. When the market recovers, buying back into growth assets (like shares) will be more expensive, meaning you may likely have fewer growth assets in your portfolio than prior to the crisis.

Changing funds can have a big impact on your future retirement income. You can assess for yourself what changes to fund type and contribution level will have by logging on to Kiwi Wealth's award-winning Future You tool.

Q. Where has my KiwiSaver money gone?"

A. The outbreak of coronavirus has affected share markets and economies around the world. For some KiwiSaver members, balances may have dropped. You still hold the same investments (like shares for example), but they may have less value. We recommend reading this blog as it explains how dips in the market are reoccurring but recover over time. For a more in-depth look at the performance of your KiwiSaver account, you can log into the Kiwi Wealth portal.

Market volatility is normal throughout the lifetime of an investment like a KiwiSaver account. But they do recover over time and increase in value. That’s been the experience with every market crash in the last 100 years. No money has been taken out of your KiwiSaver account by the Government.

Q. How can I talk to Kiwi Wealth about my KiwiSaver account other than on the phone?"

A. There are other ways you can contact Kiwi Wealth. Kiwi Wealth are happy to discuss your investment via email, questions@kiwiwealth.co.nz or on the Live Chat function on kiwiwealth.co.nz.

Q. Should I decrease the amount I contribute to my KiwiSaver account or stop contributions altogether?"

A. Depending on your day-to-day financial circumstances and the uncertainty around how long a recession may be, it may be prudent to wind back your contributions. Kiwi Wealth's suggestion is that this should only be done if you really need the extra money now to help with day to day expenses. Do bear in mind, that contributing less now may mean your employer also contributes less to your account and you may miss out on the government contribution to your account too. Less contributions now will mean less retirement income in the future.

To decrease your contributions, you'll need to get in touch with your employer. If you’ve been in KiwiSaver for 12 months, you can suspend contributions to your KiwiSaver account for between three months and one year. Information on how to pause your contributions can be found on kiwisaver.govt.nz.

Q. To stop the losses, why don’t you move my KiwiSaver investment out of shares and put the money in the bank?"

A. While it’s hard to see the value of your KiwiSaver account fall, periods of negative returns and volatility are what we expect from shares and it is the price we pay for higher long-term returns.

When share markets are volatile, Kiwi Wealth don't sell the shares in their KiwiSaver funds and move the proceeds into cash with the bank, as that would realise the loss on the shares. It'll also mean their members will not benefit from the recovery in share markets that they expect will come in time.

Q. Am I able to opt out of KiwiSaver due to COVID-19, and how do I do it?"

A. If you're a new employee who has been automatically enrolled into KiwiSaver, you can apply to opt out after 13 days but before 8 weeks, from the day you start your job. You can only opt out when a new employer has enrolled you into a KiwiSaver scheme. If you're not already enrolled, a new employer is obliged to enrol you when you start working for them. You're not able to opt out if you joined KiwiSaver through a previous employer, chose to opt in to KiwiSaver through your existing employer, or joined KiwiSaver by signing up directly with a Scheme provider.

If you're enquiring about withdrawing funds from your Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme account, please contact the Kiwi Wealth team at questions@kiwiwealth.co.nz and they'll be able to talk you through the options for completing the paperwork during the pandemic.

Q. Can I use the balance of my KiwiSaver account to help pay my mortgage?"

A. Unfortunately under the KiwiSaver Act, KiwiSaver funds can’t be put towards your mortgage. The few circumstances where members are able to withdraw from their KiwiSaver investments are listed below:

  • You've reached eligibility (age 65)
  • Purchase of a first home
  • Significant financial hardship
  • Serious illness
  • Permanent emigration
  • Death.

If you're struggling to repay your mortgage, see our COVID-19 home loan relief options.

Q. Can I use my KiwiSaver funds to pay off my credit card?"

A.The law governing KiwiSaver doesn’t generally allow withdrawals until you turn 65. In some specific circumstances, because of financial hardship or for a first home purchase, early withdrawals can be made. Generally, solely paying off your credit card is unlikely to meet the requirements.

Q. What are the final compliance checks for withdrawing my KiwiSaver?"

A. To make a withdrawal from your KiwiSaver account, providers require the following:

  • Fully completed withdrawal form for the type of withdrawal you're making.
  • Statutory declaration witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or a solicitor. This must be certified with their official stamp and dated.
  • Identification and proof of address must be provided. This must be certified by a Justice of the Peace or a solicitor, certified with their official stamp and dated.
  • Pre-printed/bank stamped deposit slip or bank statement confirming the account the funds are to be paid into.
  • We must receive all certified documents within 90 days of certification. We don't accept statutory declarations that were signed more than six months prior to receipt.

Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme

Read about how the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme can help you reach your big goals in life, whether that’s buying your first home or saving for a comfortable retirement.

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