Tamsyn Parker 's Opinion

Money Editor for NZ Herald

Tamsyn Parker: Second rate citizens again?

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Kiwis are finding it hard to transfer their KiwiSaver savings to Australia.
Kiwis are finding it hard to transfer their KiwiSaver savings to Australia.

It's hard to believe that nearly a year after the New Zealand and Australian governments' signed an agreement to allow people to transfer their superannuation savings between the two countries that very few Australian super funds are accepting KiwiSaver money.

The change came into force on July 1 last year but as Helen Twose's KiwiSaver column points out none of the major banks which have parent companies in Australia are yet in a position to be able to offer New Zealanders the ability to transfer their KiwiSaver money to an approved Australian fund.

However they will all happily assist Kiwis who want to bring their Australian super savings back to New Zealand.

The industry is blaming the delay on having bigger regulatory issues to deal with but how long can this be used as an excuse?

Sure KiwiSaver savings are small fry compared to the amount of money stashed in Australian super accounts but shouldn't it be about providing a service not just how many dollars you have?

The number of Kiwis leaving to go to Australia has fallen to a low in recent years but statistics for the year to April show 11,100 still left to go live across the Ditch.

Not all of these Kiwis will be in KiwiSaver or want to transfer their superannuation savings to Australia but for those who do it looks they will have to search hard to find a fund that will take their money.

Take it or leave it?
Now that KiwiSaver has been running for more than five years people are having to make a choice about what to do with their money once they are eligible to take it out - be that at 65 or older (after being in the scheme for the minimum five years).

Mary Holm's column answers the concerns of three different readers considering what to do with their savings.

My first thought upon reading this was - lucky people - to have a choice on whether to take it out or leave in it.

Many people aren't so fortunate.

The savings in KiwiSaver accounts aren't that big yet but even $4000 or $5000 can make a difference to some people looking to reduce debt as they head into retirement.

As people's nest eggs get bigger it's going to be more and more important for people to weigh up what they do and get some professional advice.

Not all that glitters is gold
The minute I read Diana Clement's piece on foreign exchange risk when it comes to investing I was reminded of the radio adverts you hear about investing in gold.

They go on about how much the price of gold has gone up but forget to mention anything about how the New Zealand dollar has risen against the US dollar eroding much of the gains.

In a small country like New Zealand where much of our money is invested overseas, be it through KiwiSaver, or directly in foreign shares or commodities it pays to take foreign exchange risk into account.

The New Zealand dollar has been very strong against a lot of currencies of late but as other economies begin to recover that may not last.

It shouldn't stop people from investing overseas but it's another factor that needs to be considered.

What do you think?

- NZ Herald

Tamsyn Parker

Money Editor for NZ Herald

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald's Money Editor. A business journalist for ten years, she has worked in the UK and NZ for the New Zealand Herald, the National Business Review and a specialist publication on investment products for financial advisors. She is passionate about helping readers learn more about to make their money work for them.

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