Look after your KiwiSaver balance

How to grow your KiwiSaver

Your contributions to KiwiSaver are helping your future self.

When it comes to KiwiSaver, the more you put in, the more you will get out of the scheme. But how much should you contribute?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer. It can help to work backwards from your goals for a first home or retirement, and how soon either of those are for you.

Here are some helpful things to know when you're deciding how much to contribute. 

Your KiwiSaver contributions count

You can contribute 3%, 4%, 6%, 8%, or 10% of your before-tax pay directly to KiwiSaver. We estimate that the difference between contributing 3% versus 10% over a lifetime of working can be $229,000 for those on an average salary, so a huge difference.

Take a moment to plug your details into our KiwiSaver calculator to get an idea if you're on track to achieve your goals.

Underwhelmed a bit? Try adjusting your contribution rate to see how much difference it makes. Finding a contribution rate that gets you to your goals and works with your budget is the key. 

 

Get $521 from the government every year

To get the full ‘member tax credit’ of $521 each year you’ll need to have made an annual contribution of at least $1043 by mid June. 

Sure, it would be great to get the full amount of $521, but just in case you don’t have the whole $1043 in your back pocket to top up, it’s good to know that any dollar you put in will get 50 cents in there with it.

Managing your KiwiSaver contributions

Find out how much you're contributing

Your KiwiSaver provider will send you regular statements and can tell you your overall KiwiSaver account balance, the return on your investment, and details of any contributions paid directly to them. 

In addition, you can keep track of the KiwiSaver contributions that you (and your employer) have paid to Inland Revenue by registering for My KiwiSaver on the Inland Revenue KiwiSaver website.

If your contact details change, let your KiwiSaver provider know. Here is a list of KiwiSaver providers and how to contact them. And heres more from the Financial Markets Authority on how to stay informed about providers.

Change how much you're contributing

You can change your contribution rate by contacting:

  • Your employer if you are employed – notify them in writing of the change, or complete a new KS2 form (which you can get from your employer)
  • Your KiwiSaver provider if youre not employed (for example, self-employed or not working)

The KiwiSaver website has more about changing contribution rates.

Top up your KiwiSaver with voluntary contributions

You can make voluntary contributions (lump sums or regular automatic payments) into your KiwiSaver account at any time, either directly to your KiwiSaver provider or through Inland Revenue.

To get the full ‘member tax credit’ of $521 each year you’ll need to have made an annual contribution of at least $1043 by mid June. 

There’s more about making voluntary contributions on the KiwiSaver website.

If you’re having difficulty contributing

You can apply for a savings suspension if you've been a member for 12 months or more

You can stop contributing to KiwiSaver for between three months to one year. This is called a 'savings suspension’. You can stop a savings suspension at any time and restart KiwiSaver contributions.

Your employer doesn’t have to make their contributions if you take a savings suspension. But, if they choose, they can continue to make employer contributions.

Find more information, including how to apply for a savings suspension, on the KiwiSaver website.

If you have been a KiwiSaver member for less than 12 months, you can apply for an early savings suspension

If you suffer financial hardship before you have been in KiwiSaver for 12 months and have evidence for it, you may be eligible for an early savings suspension. This is usually for three months, although Inland Revenue may agree to a longer period.

Suffering significant financial hardship?

If you suffer significant financial hardship, you may be able to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver savings. Find out more about early withdrawal on the KiwiSaver website.

You can take a temporary savings suspension and still make voluntary contributions when you’re able to.

A savings suspension gives you a break from making regular payments through your salary. But you can still make voluntary contributions or lump sum payments at any time, either directly to Inland Revenue, or directly to your provider.

And if your contributions total $1,043 for the year by mid June, you will still benefit from the maximum annual ‘member tax credit’.

Find out more about growing your KiwiSaver by making voluntary contributions on the IR website.

If you're self-employed or not working, you can take a break from contributing at any time

If youre self-employed or not working you aren’t required to contribute a fixed percentage of our income. So if you need to take a break from contributing it could be as easy as temporarily suspending your direct debit or automatic payment or withholding any lump sum payments. 

If you're contributing more than 3%, you could reduce your contribution rate

Employees currently contributing at a higher rate (eg, 4%) can reduce contributions to the minimum 3% of gross pay. Likewise you can increase your contribution rate if you wish to save more. 

Changing you contribution rate is easy. All you need to do is notify your employer in writing of the change, or complete a new KS2 form (which you can get from your employer).

There’s more about changing contribution rate on the IR website.

Don’t know where to start?

Check out our 6 steps Get Sorted program to get you on track.

Head to the 6 steps