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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 are asking us 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 is affecting 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 currently 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 other than on the phone?"

A. Call centres are extremely busy currently, but 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. The hardship withdrawal form says that I need a JP (Justice of the Peace) to sign but I can't see a JP because of COVID-19 pandemic, what can I do?"

A. Kiwi Wealth are currently looking into what arrangements can be made as we expect access to JPs to be extremely limited over the next few weeks. In the interim, you should submit the application with all supporting documentation so they can get the review process underway for you ASAP.

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. How do I find out my KiwiSaver balance?"

A. Your Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme account balance is available to view online using Kiwibank Internet Banking or via logging in to Kiwi Wealth at my.kiwiwealth.co.nz.

Kiwi Wealth update the balance of their members’ KiwiSaver accounts every week and again at the end of each month. Weekly balances are updated every Tuesday afternoon. Monthly balances are updated within ten working days of the end of the month. The pricing you see on a Tuesday afternoon is effective for the Friday just been. If the valuation has been calculated at the end of month, then pricing is effective the last day of the month just passed.

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. If I was diagnosed with a terminal illness, can I use my KiwiSaver to cover medical and funeral costs?"

A. Yes, you can. There’s a serious illness provision in the KiwiSaver rules that allows you to withdraw in certain circumstances. Serious illness means an injury, illness or disability that results in you being totally and permanently unable to engage in work for which you're suited by reason of experience, education or training, or any combination of those things; or that poses a serious and imminent risk of death.

To apply for a serious illness withdrawal, please contact the Kiwi Wealth team by email at questions@kiwiwealth.co.nz and they’ll be happy to provide you with assistance.

Q. Can I use my KiwiSaver to cover materials and building costs for building my own home?"

A. It depends on your circumstances. If you don’t already own a home or land, you may be able to withdraw funds from your KiwiSaver account to help you build a home, but be aware there are very strict rules around first home withdrawals.

Please contact the Kiwi Wealth team at questions@kiwiwealth.co.nz and they’ll be able to provide you with assistance and advice based on your specific circumstances.

Q. How many working days does it take to transfer the value of my KiwiSaver funds into my Kiwibank account?"

A. It depends on what type of withdrawal you're making but generally it can take between 10 – 15 working days to process from when we receive your application.

Q. I'd like to switch my KiwiSaver from another bank to Kiwibank. How do I go about this?"

A. If you're a Kiwibank customer, you can join the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme through your internet banking and clicking on the apply and open button.

If you're not a Kiwibank customer, you can join through the Kiwi Wealth website. You'll need to have your IRD number, your prescribed investor rate (PIR) and either a valid New Zealand driver's licence or New Zealand passport handy to complete the transfer.

Q. How can I transfer from one KiwiSaver scheme to another?"

A. You can transfer KiwiSaver scheme providers by completing an application with the provider you wish to transfer to. You'll need to have your IRD number, your prescribed investor rate (PIR) and either a valid New Zealand driver's licence or New Zealand passport handy to complete the transfer. This process takes up to 10 working days to complete.

Q. I accidentally transferred money into my KiwiSaver account, can I get this back?"

A. Funds transferred into a KiwiSaver scheme are generally locked in until retirement. If you contact Kiwi Wealth directly at questions@kiwiwealth.co.nz, they may be able to help you.

Q. When do employer contributions show up in my KiwiSaver account?"

A. There’s a bit of a delay between your contributions being deducted by your employer and passed to the Inland Revenue. Then when the Inland Revenue receives the money there's a small period before they pass it on to your provider (but you’ll still earn interest over this time).

As a rough guide, the startup contribution may take up to three months before it’s passed from the Inland Revenue, and regular contributions from your employer may take up to one month before being passed on to the provider. The best way to keep up to date is by registering on the MyKiwiSaver website, you’ll then be able to view any employee/employer contributions which are yet to be forwarded to your provider and applied to your member account.

Q. What's the relationship between Kiwibank and Kiwi Wealth's KiwiSaver scheme?"

A. Kiwi Wealth Limited is the Issuer and Manager of the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme and is a related company of Kiwibank Limited. Kiwi Wealth and Kiwibank are owned by the same companies so are sister companies. Kiwibank is a distributor (sells on behalf of Kiwi Wealth) of the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme. In New Zealand, there are over 30 different KiwiSaver scheme providers.

Q. How do I transfer money from my New Zealand Superannuation to my bank account online?"

A. If you mean how do you transfer the money from your Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme account, once you're eligible to withdraw (currently 65 unless you meet the criteria for an early withdrawal for illness, hardship or a first home), you'll need to complete a withdrawal form and attach all the required documentation. This should then be sent to Kiwi Wealth who will process the withdrawal for you and transfer the funds into your bank account. This process can take up to 15 working days. For a withdrawal form, please contact Kiwi Wealth at questions@kiwiwealth.co.nz.

Q. Am I able to use my KiwiSaver to pay off my student loan?"

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. Unfortunately, paying off your student loan doesn't fall into any of these categories.

Q. My Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver account balance is not showing on the Kiwibank mobile app. How do I add it so I can see it?"

A. If you have a Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme account, which isn't showing in your Kiwibank internet banking or app, we'll simply need to link your KiwiSaver account. To do this, please contact Kiwi Wealth at questions@kiwiwealth.co.nz and they’ll arrange it for you.

Q. Can I use KiwiSaver to build a tiny home on gifted land?"

A. No, as there are very strict rules around withdrawing your funds for a first home withdrawal. Please contact the Kiwi Wealth team at questions@kiwiwealth.co.nz, they’ll be able to provide you with assistance specific to your circumstances.

Q. What happens to a KiwiSaver account balance when a contributor dies?"

A. If you pass away while you're a member of a KiwiSaver scheme, upon application to that scheme, your full account balance will be paid to your estate.

You can’t nominate beneficiaries to receive your funds directly from your KiwiSaver account; your provider must always pay it to your estate.

If you want particular people to receive the proceeds of your KiwiSaver account, you should (if you haven't already) make a will and specify who you want to receive those proceeds. Your executors will then distribute the funds as specified in the will after the executors have received the funds from your KiwiSaver provider. Note: if your account is less than $15,000, your provider can make the payment to an authorised person (for example a surviving spouse) without requiring probate or letters of administration.

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.


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