My KiwiSaver is with ANZ. Upon turning 61 I received a letter from them stating my funds have now been transferred from a conservative/balanced fund to a conservative fund. Is that going to benefit me in any way or should I change back?

You sound surprised by the action taken by your KiwiSaver fund manager. However, this is something you will have chosen when you joined the ANZ KiwiSaver Scheme.

Members are asked to select either the Lifetimes or Self Select option when they join the ANZ Scheme.

Did you get advice when you joined the ANZ Scheme? You may have completed a risk profile questionnaire and had a discussion with a suitably qualified person about your investment timeframe and the suitability of the scheme to you. If you don't remember, then take this opportunity to review your KiwiSaver investment.

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You can read up on the ANZ Lifetimes option on page 12 of the current investment statement. Investors who choose this option will have their savings progressively switched to a lower risk fund from the age of 46 onwards, as they near retirement.

Investors start in the Balanced Growth option, move to Balanced at age 46, Conservative/Balanced at age 56, Conservative at age 61 and finally Cash at the age of 65.

At each stage, the percentage of shares is decreased in favour of lower risk investments such as bonds, fixed interest and/or cash.

Several other schemes also offer this automatic re-weighting to investors, but some will stop at a Conservative setting rather than continuing on to Cash, as is the case here.

The ANZ option will suit someone who plans to cash up their KiwiSaver when they turn 65. Is this the case for you? If not, you should investigate the alternatives either now or at age 65.

With bank deposit rates currently very low, more investors are keeping their KiwiSaver accounts going beyond the age of 65. KiwiSaver is a well-regulated, cost effective investment vehicle.

You get regular reporting, easy access to information on your savings, and a wide range of funds to choose from. Investors can even switch to a different provider after the age of 65, if the scheme and fund they are in no longer meets their needs.

At age 65, many of us can expect to be around for another twenty years or more, so our KiwiSaver can slot into the longer term part of our investment strategy, with bank deposits meeting our needs at the shorter term end.

Through KiwiSaver we can easily access well researched New Zealand and international shares in a Balanced or even Growth portfolio.

Such an investment will have more ups and downs than a Cash or Conservative fund, but it should deliver a better return over the longer term.

The FundFinder website (funded by the Government) provides information on 181 different KiwiSaver funds. You can use its tools to see the range of returns that you can expect.

I asked ANZ to comment on your situation. A spokesperson replied, "We recommend that your reader speaks to our team of AFAs for some free financial advice - or takes this opportunity to seek some independent financial advice to help determine which fund is best for them."

- Shelley Hanna is an authorised financial adviser FSP12241. Her free disclosure statement is available on request by calling 06 870 3838 or go to www.peak.net.nz. The information in this article is general and is not personalised. Send your KiwiSaver questions to shelley.hanna@peak.net.nz