Helen Twose 's Opinion

Personal finance and KiwiSaver columnist at the NZ Herald

Helen Twose: Partner entitled to half of Kiwisaver in split

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Q: I have been with my partner for over five years and want to split but have been told by a lawyer that he is entitled to half of my KiwiSaver even though I'm on a contributions holiday. So even though I cannot access it until I'm 65, he can? Is this correct?

A: If you have been in a de facto relationship for more than three years when you separate then your assets become subject to the Property (Relationship) Act and will be taken into account in the event of separation - whether you are on a contributions holiday or not.

If he has his own KiwiSaver account, then your separate balances would effectively be "equalised" so you both end up in the same position.

If this requires the transfer of funds from one KiwiSaver account to another then a copy of the signed Relationship Property Agreement evidencing this arrangement and an undertaking by a solicitor that funds will be deposited in his KiwiSaver account are required.

If he does not have a KiwiSaver account and does not want to set one up then his entitlement would be taken into consideration in the overall settlement calculation.

Carmel Fisher, Fisher Funds managing director


Q: I am contributing to SIL KiwiSaver Scheme through OnePath (a company of ANZ). I am 59 and at this stage intend to work beyond age 65 years.

1. When I reach 65, can I still contribute to my SIL KiwiSaver Scheme and receive the $521 tax credit from the Government?

2. My employer currently contributes 2 per cent to my KiwiSaver. Will my employer still be obliged to contribute when I reach the age of 65 years?

3. I am in a balanced scheme with a $1.1559 return. My husband has a conservative balanced scheme with a return of $1.2072. Would it be beneficial for me to change to the conservative balanced scheme? What do I need to consider before making a decision?

A: The member tax credits continue until you are eligible to make a KiwiSaver retirement withdrawal (ie, reaching the age of 65 and having been a member of KiwiSaver for a minimum of five years).

In your case you could withdraw once you reach 65 and you won't be entitled to additional member tax credits from that date.

However, you are able to carry on contributing into your KiwiSaver account for as long as you wish.

Your employer is not obliged to contribute to KiwiSaver once you are eligible for a KiwiSaver retirement withdrawal.

In your case this will be 65 years of age.

However, employers can chose to continue contributing to your KiwiSaver account after you are eligible for a KiwiSaver retirement withdrawal, at their discretion.

According to our lifetimes approach to investment, a balanced fund is most appropriate for those people with more than 10 years before they retire.

It has an equal portion of growth and fixed interest assets and therefore balances the opportunity for higher returns with the capital preserving qualities of lower risk assets.

The lifetimes approach is designed on the general basis that the longer time-frame investors have before they retire the longer they can tolerate exposure to growth funds with higher expected returns.

The proportion of lower risk assets in the funds increases as people approach retirement. We see this approach as a good rule of thumb and a guide to help people make the most of their savings.

Our lifetimes approach selects the balanced fund between 46-55 years of age and the transition to the conservative balanced fund is at 56 until a member reaches 60 years.

It's important to consider a few things when making your own decision, including what your investment goals are and how long your investment timeframe is.

When taking into account your personal circumstances you need to talk to an authorised financial adviser and they can help you consider what funds are right for you.

David Boyle, ANZ Wealth general manager of funds management.


• Disclaimer: Information provided is stated accurately to the best of the respondent's knowledge at the time of publication. It is general in nature and should not be construed, or relied on, as a recommendation to invest in a particular financial product or class of financial product. Readers should seek independent financial advice specific to their situation before making an investment decision.

To have your KiwiSaver questions answered by the NZ Herald's panel of industry players email Helen Twose, helentwose@gmail.com.

- NZ Herald

Helen Twose

Personal finance and KiwiSaver columnist at the NZ Herald

Helen Twose is a freelance business journalist who writes regularly about KiwiSaver and entrepreneurial companies. She has written for the Business Herald since 2006, covering the telecommunications sector, but has more recently focused on personal finance and profiling successful businesses.

Read more by Helen Twose

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