If only a collective "fear of missing out" would suddenly spread like a virus when it comes to all of us getting the government contribution of $521 each year in our KiwiSaver accounts. But alas, the numbers show mass apathy, unfortunately. Or perhaps something else is at play that is harder to see.
Doesn't anyone want a big five hundy?
Each year the government matches 50 cents for every dollar we put in to KiwiSaver, giving us a maximum of $521. Some quick maths shows that all we need to do is put in double that amount in order to get everything we're due, or $1,043, which works out to just over $20 a week.
Unfortunately it looks like large swathes of the population don't know this exists.
The numbers are shocking: last year, out of the 2,057,227 KiwiSaver members who were eligible for the government money, only 890,619 (43%) got their full $521.
Yes, there were 593,356 (29%) who did get a part of their government contribution. These folks could have topped up their accounts before 30 June and received their full amount, though.
Disappointingly, there were 573,231 (28%) who didn't collect anything at all! Had they managed to put that $1,043 into their KiwiSaver account before 30 June, by mid-August they would have seen another $521 sitting alongside it.
What all this means is that 1,166,587 of us ended up walking away and leaving money on the table. Not a good look, to be sure.
Now I have my suspicions that, unless the money's coming directly from our salary each time we're paid, it's actually quite difficult to put together that $1,043 in order to get the $521. There are just too many other important things to be spending on, right?
And we know that, even if we do have the money socked away, it's quite difficult to part with it. Even if there's such a big payoff. (We calculated that the government funds are worth close to $36,000 to someone who's in KiwiSaver from age 18.)
Research on what's called "loss aversion" shows that we prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains. As a result, we would probably need to gain more than twice as much, or $2,086, before we'd easily part with that $1,043, actually!
But let's look at it from an investor's point of view: invest $1,043, get $521 on top. A 50% return! Now where on earth could you ever get a return like that for so little risk?
It's enough to strike FOMO in the hearts of everyone.
Yet here we are again this year, with June fast approaching. Is there anything we can do to make sure many more of us get our full amount?