retired couple

Financial fitness check

Plan your retirement

1. Have you checked your NZ Superannuation is going to cover the kind of retirement you want to enjoy?  

Yes. I've worked out exactly how much I'll need from savings and KiwiSaver on top of NZ Super

Well done, you’ve made a start towards your retirement.


Have you budgeted against your current spending to double check how much you'll need?

You could also calculate whether you'll have enough in the case of a change to your circumstances (i.e. supporting a family member, travel, hobbies, new medical costs etc).

If you’re thinking about other financial goals, like buying a home or looking after your children, you could try the other Financial Fitness Checks we have to see if you're heading in the right direction.

Alternatively, a chat to a financial Adviser can help no matter what stage of life you are in and the plans you have for your retirement.

No, not really

Not to worry, for most people it’s not too late – even if you start thinking about it today, it will help you for tomorrow.

Start by working out the difference between what NZ Super will pay you and how much your living costs will be in retirement:

According to a report by Massey University, single people who live in a big city with a no-frills, frugal lifestyle will need about $781 a week if they live in their own home mortgage-free. You’ll need an extra $320 or so on top of NZ Super ($462).

But how much will you spend in retirement?

If you would like your retirement to come with some luxuries, you’ll need more like $1,570 a week, including NZ Super. NZ Super alone probably isn’t going to give you the kind of life you want in retirement. Especially if you want to do things like travel, spoil grandchildren, replace essential home appliances or pay for new medical costs when you stop working.

Let’s find a way to help bridge that gap, by starting the planning today.


The more you put away today, the more you'll have for tomorrow.

You should also plan for a situation without NZ Super. The Government has announced changes to the eligibility age and residence criteria, there's no guarantee they won’t do away with it completely. So, sure - hope for the best. But plan for the worst.

If you’re not already in KiwiSaver, consider joining it today.

2. Have you joined KiwiSaver?

Yes, I'm a member

Well done. KiwiSaver has a number of perks and hopefully you understand what they are and are taking advantage of them.

KiwiSaver is a great way to save for your retirement because when you become eligible to withdraw it gives you a range of options, including the following:

- you can use KiwiSaver to make partial or regular withdrawals and deposits at any time. You can use these withdrawals to support your day to day needs.
- you can withdraw all of your retirement savings in one big lump sum, for example if you want to invest it elsewhere. However, your KiwiSaver funds may need to last for a long time, so consider carefully where you’re going to put them. (Withdrawals will be subject to your KiwiSaver provider's normal processing times and minimum withdrawal requirements)

Some other KiwiSaver factoids for when you get to the eligibility age:
- you can continue making your own contributions;
- if you’re still working, your employer is not compelled to continue their contributions;
- you’re no longer eligible for Government contributions.

As you near retirement it’s a good idea to review the funds you’re invested in through your KiwiSaver provider. Generally, a more conservative fund (which generally invests in less risky assets such as cash and term deposits) might be more suitable than a riskier aggressive fund – even though the potential for growth may be greater with the latter.

As you get older you’ll probably want to minimise the risk of losses to your KiwiSaver savings as your money will not have as long to recover if it takes a hit.

To help you choose the right fund for you, speak with your financial Adviser or try the fund selector quiz.

I'm not in KiwiSaver

That’s okay - KiwiSaver isn’t compulsory, but there are a few reasons to join, including the following:

- your employer is required to make contributions of at least 3% of your salary if you’re a contributing member between the ages of 18 and 65, your employer is not already paying into an elegible registered superannuation scheme on your behalf and provided your employer’s KiwiSaver contribution isn’t already included in your total salary package;
- provided you're between the ages of 18 and 65, every year the Government makes a Government contribution of 50c in every dollar that you contribute for the year up to a max of $521.43 (that's $1,042.86 or just over $20 a week that you need to contribute); and
- if you are eligible, KiwiSaver can be used for buying your first home.


KiwiSaver is a viable retirement savings solution whether you’re working for an employer or self employed.

If you're self-employed and receive payments that you don’t deduct PAYE from, or even if you're in between jobs or a stay at home parent, you can decide how much you contribute to KiwiSaver each year and how and when to make your contributions. This means you’ll get the maximum government contribution if you contribute at least $1024.86 in each year and meet the other criteria above.

Try our calculator that will help you figure out how much you could save if you start now.

We also have lots of information on our website, for example, check to see if you're eligible to join KiwiSaver and have a read some of the ways you can use your KiwiSaver savings.

I'm not sure if I am eligible

You might be eligible to join KiwiSaver if you’re:
- below the qualifying age of New Zealand superannuation (currently age 65 years), however from 1 July 2019 you will be able to join KiwiSaver regardless of your age;
- living or normally living in New Zealand (with some exceptions); and
- a New Zealand citizen, or entitled to live in New Zealand indefinitely.

For information on the exceptions or the rules if you’re working overseas for the NZ Government you can enquire with a KiwiSaver provider who will check your eligibility before signing you up.

If you want to join KiwiSaver you can:
- enrol directly with a KiwiSaver provider; or
- enrol through your employer by asking them for an employee information pack and completing a KiwiSaver deduction form.

Note, if you do not enrol on your own, there is a chance you may be automatically enrolled when you start a new job.

And, if you’re:
- 16 or 17, you’ll need one of your parents or legal guardians to sign the application forms with you.
- under 16, all parents or legal guardians need to give their consent — you can’t enrol by yourself.

3. Have you paid off your home loan?

Yes, I’m completely mortgage free


According to 2015 research from Colmar Brunton, almost a third of people won't have paid off their mortgages by the standard retirement age of 65. So you're ahead of the game. 1

Having a mortgage free home gives you an incredible opportunity to diversify and build an investment strategy that generates income.


A financial Adviser can help you choose the next investments you make, taking into account how accessible they'll be and what risk/return profile you’re after.

No, I still have a home loan

If possible, you really want to go into retirement with your cost of housing covered.

Housing is likely the biggest cost you’ll have especially when interest rates are high, so it would be nice to have this in the bag - it will give you more options later.


In most cases, reducing debt that’s costing you home lending interest rates generally saves you more than earning interest or other returns on your savings.

Our 'Sort my finances' Check has some great tips if you're looking at ways to pay down your mortgage even quicker.

Chat with an Adviser

If you’re ready to get some help for your financial tomorrow, talk to a financial Adviser today. They can help you plan for retirement, choose an investment strategy that’s right for you and help protect you and your family financially.

Try our other financial fitness checks

The generic questions asked in this Financial Fitness Check aim to identify ways that you could improve your finances. The questions don’t take into account your financial knowledge or your actual financial situation.  
The results and suggestions given in the Financial Fitness Check are of a general nature and are not intended to constitute or replace financial or other professional advice.  To the extent that the information constitutes advice, it is class advice only.  You should consider whether the suggestions offered are appropriate for you before acting on them, and we recommend that you speak to a financial Adviser and read any relevant product information carefully.
For personal financial advice, we recommend you contact your Adviser or if you don't have an Adviser, contact us on 0800 267 263 and we can put you in touch with one. A disclosure statement is available from your Adviser, on request and free of charge.
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