Sorted header abstract pattern
Sort my 6 Steps Tools Guides Blog Moreabout Sorted
Search Icon search small

back iconBack

Start here

Sort my...
A man and woman are walking together outdoors and looking happy

back iconBack

Start here

6 steps to get your money Sorted
6 steps to get your money Sorted

back iconBack

All tools


back iconBack

View all

back iconBack

View all

back iconBack

More Sorted Info

View all


KiwiSaver for starters

16 October 2018
Reading time: 4 minutes

Posted by Tom Hartmann , 4 Comments

Note: the KiwiSaver default providers listed below have changed — find the new ones here.

For those just getting started with the whole KiwiSaver thing, it can feel a bit odd – where to begin?

Because it’s designed to automatically opt people in when they start a new job (while giving them the choice to opt out), a ton of people have landed in the scheme without really thinking about it. Turns out it’s been a great way to get 2.8 million of us signed up – and saving and investing without even knowing we’re doing it. But this means it’s not necessarily optimised for us to get the best results.

To make the most of it, here are the key things to find out when you are checking in with KiwiSaver for the first time:

Was I opted in?

You may not be sure if you were automatically joined up. It shouldn’t be hard to find out – ask your employer or contact Inland Revenue. (If you weren’t joined up, you can instead look into how KiwiSaver works to see if it’s for you.)

You can find out if you are already in KiwiSaver by signing up to myIR Secure Online Services or calling 0800 KIWISAVER. While you’re on the line, you can also ask them:

Who’s my KiwiSaver provider?

You may know that you’re in KiwiSaver but have no idea which company is managing your money. Again, your employer may know or the helpful folks at Inland Revenue can confirm who you’re currently with (myIR Secure Online Services or 0800 KIWISAVER).

It’s a good idea to know where your money is going. It’s not hard to switch providers, but you need to know who you’re with first so you can check it out.

Which fund am I in?

KiwiSaver providers have lots of funds to choose from. If you were automatically opted in, and your employer doesn’t have a chosen KiwiSaver provider, you probably ended up in what’s called a “default” fund. If you do know your KiwiSaver provider, you’ll find everything about your default fund here:

It’s important to know that default funds are just meant to be temporary holding pens for your money until you choose one for yourself. They’re a conservative option, which may not be the most appropriate for your situation. We all need to make an active choice of which fund to be in. More on that below.

If you’re with a different provider to the default ones listed above, contact the company directly to see which fund you’re in. Then you can gauge whether it’s right for you.

How much are you putting in?

If you’re an employee, your contributions automatically started from your first pay, at 3% of your before-tax pay. Your employer should be contributing 3% as well.

But if you are self-employed, the amount you put in is up to you and needs to be set up directly with your KiwiSaver provider. You may not be putting in anything just yet.

At the very least you want to be putting in $20 a week in order to get the government’s contribution of $521 every year.

Next, dial up your KiwiSaver settings

After you’ve figured out if you’re in KiwiSaver, which company is your KiwiSaver provider, which fund you’re in, and how much you’re contributing – it’s time to dial things up. This can make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars.

Again, because the opt-in mechanism was designed to just get you started, things are not entirely tuned up at the beginning. So you might be playing the keys on a piano, but it might be a bit off key.

The next step is to pick the right fund for you. Then, look into lifting your contributions to get more out of the money you’re investing. And also check that you’re not being taxed too much.

The right fund, the right tax rate, contributing more – that’s how to dial things up. The more going in, the more potential you have to get more out of KiwiSaver – a solid set-up on which to build your future.

Comments (4)


  • Gravatar for Tom from Sorted

    31 August 22
    Tom from Sorted

    Hi Moana, check out our KiwiSaver fund finder to compare your fees with those of other funds – most are much cheaper than yours:

  • Gravatar for Moana

    30 August 22

    How much should you be paying for the annual fees for your KiwiSaver? I paid 7.9% last year. Is that what they all charge? Thanks

  • Gravatar for Rangituaia Walker

    28 November 19
    Rangituaia Walker

    kia ora

    I am looking for the best or recommendations for the best kiwisaver fund for my children who are currently with a Kiwisave scheme that charges fees of $2.00/month. I dont think children who are not earning an income should be charged fees. Would appreciate your feedback

  • Gravatar for weyytdo

    19 October 18


RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments

Kids and money Budgeting Goals Scam alert KiwiSaver Money mindset Managing debt Money tips Investing

Recent Comments

My Money Sorted: Jaelyn
1 Comment

5 steps to get your $521
1 Comment

Who’s teaching your daughter (or niece, or granddaughter) about money?
1 Comment

My Money Sorted: Hilary Barry

How to grow your first million dollars (hint: start early)
1 Comment

My Money Sorted: Ben

sign up bar pattern
sign up bar icon

Want help with your money coming straight to your inbox? Sign up to Sorted.