We often hear investing and saving referred to as a journey, and with KiwiSaver, it couldn’t be truer. Throughout our lives, we go through periods of financial freedom and other times where we feel the pinch as priorities and circumstances shift.
As we travel along that journey and reach major life milestones it’s important to reassess our approach to investing and financial decisions to ensure we’re making our KiwiSaver investment work for us in the best way possible.
With the summer break upon us and most of us with a bit more time on our hands, here are some of the things to think about when you reach those major moments in your life.
Congratulations are in order if you’ve managed to buy your first house. If you’ve drawn from your KiwiSaver investment to do this, your new balance may come as shock. The good news is you can now focus on building up your KiwiSaver savings for retirement.
Now the house deposit is paid, it’s important to reassess your investment strategy to make sure your KiwiSaver account is set up for your retirement goals.
Two key questions to ask yourself or your KiwiSaver provider:
Firstly, how far away is retirement?
This is a key factor to consider when selecting your KiwiSaver fund. Growth funds may be better suited to people with longer investment timeframes, conservative funds may be better suited for those with shorter timeframes. Talk to your provider about your investment timeframe and your comfort with risk to help determine which fund may be best for you
Secondly, what do you want your retirement to look like?
Will you be happy at home in the garden, or are you wanting to spend your freedom years travelling the world and spoiling the grandchildren? Changing your contribution rate could make all the difference. Even increasing your contribution rate from 3% to 4% now could help boost your savings for retirement.
A pay rise is great recognition of your hard work and provides you with more choices. While it is a time to celebrate and potentially buy a well-deserved treat, it is also a good time to consider increasing your contribution rate. Increasing your contribution from 3% to 4%, 6%, 8% or 10% could make a huge difference to your retirement savings.
If you’re in the position to give your kids a kick start with their own KiwiSaver investment it can have significant benefits, even if it is a regular contribution of a small amount over the years. This will not only help give them a material head start but is also an opportunity to start conversations about investing and increase their financial literacy which they can take into their adult lives.
When retirement comes around we want to be comfortable and ready to enjoy this time and there are plenty of ways to get the most out of your hard-earned savings
If you are approaching retirement, it’s a good time to work out what your general living expenses are. New Zealand superannuation will cover part of your living expenses but no more than the basics. Some of your expenses will likely need to be covered from investments, such as KiwiSaver.
While it might be tempting to take your full KiwiSaver balance out straight away and spend it all at once, KiwiSaver doesn’t have to end at 65.
Instead, you can set up regular withdrawals to supplement any other income sources or consolidate other savings into your KiwiSaver account. You may even want to continue making voluntary or lump sum contributions and benefit from potential higher returns than having your money simply sitting in the bank.
With the current low-interest rate environment and Kiwis living longer than ever, it’s vital to ensure your savings keep ahead of inflation and your spending power is not eroded. KiwiSaver is a great way to help do this and keep your money keep working for you even when you’re not.
So next time your saving and investment journey turns a corner with a major life milestone there is no need to panic. Instead, stay calm, get good advice, keep in mind the considerations above, and you’ll be a long way towards ensuring you’re making your money work for you in the best way possible.
Fisher Funds KiwiSaver Scheme
Build a better future with Fisher Funds. Over the last 20 years, we have helped over 250,000 Kiwis on their investment journey. We share our knowledge with our clients to help them make better financial decisions.