KiwiSaver good for retired savers

By Shelley Hanna

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Shelley Hanna.
Shelley Hanna.

I am 61 and my husband is 68. We are retired and living off his single Super, savings and a small rental income. I have been in Fisher Funds KiwiSaver fund (50/50 growth, conservative) since inception. At present I only contribute enough to qualify for the Government mid-year payment. As I approach 65, I plan to transfer lump sums of term deposit savings into Fisher Funds, as they have a managed funds option and are more experienced in investing than I am. Is this a good idea?

It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into your retirement plan. It is smart for anyone under the age of 65 working or not to contribute something into their KiwiSaver, to benefit from the annual Government top up of up to $521. You won't get a similar boost from any other savings plan.

I am sure that lower bank interest rates have had some impact on your retirement savings and you have seen better returns coming from your KiwiSaver fund.

Remember that your KiwiSaver fund is made up of shares and bonds, so the potentially higher returns come with a higher level of risk than a bank term deposit.

KiwiSaver fund managers are aware that clients nearing the age of 65 are facing some big decisions.

As the number of clients in this age bracket grows, some are taking on more staff to provide advice including some Authorised Financial Advisers.

I submitted your question to the team at Fisher Funds Management, and received this reply from head of advice, James Paterson: "Firstly, thanks for your support over the years. It is a great question you've asked and one we actually receive on a regular basis.

At Fisher Funds we offer advice to our clients free of charge and base our recommendation on their unique needs so I encourage you to contact us for assistance - we'd love to help.

"Generally, we recommend that clients remain in KiwiSaver as it is a great investment vehicle that works well during retirement. There is a misconception that turning 65 means we are at the finish line of our KiwiSaver journey. However for many, it's really just the start of a new chapter and certainly not the time to be waving the chequered flag!

Therefore, the role KiwiSaver can play post 65 is an important one.

"Once you've reached your KiwiSaver eligibility date, you can continue to invest in KiwiSaver and it will provide you with greater flexibility.

Like a managed fund, you're able to make withdrawals (partial or regular) and deposit money as required; you will have the same investment options available to you, continue to receive our regular newsletters and statements as well as our support, and be able to access your account information online.

Many of our KiwiSaver clients are continuing to work after 65, and while they are no longer entitled to member tax credits, if they're working and contributing through their salary of wages, we've found that many employers are continuing to contribute voluntarily. That's an extra 3 per cent that shouldn't be overlooked.

"Our recommendation will always be based on your requirements, so if you happen to have particular needs, eg. single asset class exposure, then we'd consider managed funds which can also work well for those in retirement.

Either way, we love being part of the decision making process with our clients, so talking this through with one of our advisers is something we think would be worthwhile."

So that is the help offered by one KiwiSaver provider. There are around 24 KiwiSaver providers, and some provide more advice and support than others.

Members can find out more about the level of service offered by their provider by going to the Fundfinder tool on the Sorted website - service is given a rating alongside returns and fees.

The rating indicates the level of help that they give their members with investment options.

- 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

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