Retirement income - Money sources in retirement

These days, we’re living much longer. Seeing that we could be retired for 30 years, we’re going to need some money coming in. Additional retirement income above that needs to come from savings, paid work or business activity, or even our home. From the age of 65 most New Zealand residents receive NZ Super every fortnight.


NZ Super

New Zealand Superannuation (NZ Super) is a pension paid by the government to most New Zealand residents from age 65.

Any eligible New Zealander receives NZ Super regardless of how much they earn through paid work, savings and investments, what other assets they own, or how much taxes they have paid.

Take a look at our guide to NZ Super and the guide to NZ Super current rates 

Other government help

You may qualify for extra help from the government, depending on your individual situation. This could include help with ongoing health and medical costs (Disability Allowance) and housing costs (Accommodation Supplement).

You may also qualify for other assistance – for example, if you face an emergency situation, or if you need help with essential costs.

For more information, call Senior Services on 0800 552 002, contact the local Senior Services centre (usually located within Work and Income) or visit

Living off savings and investments

Many retired New Zealanders rely on income from savings in addition to their NZ Super. This means investing money so that it generates income through interest or dividend payments.

You may also plan to spend some or all of the money you have saved to help fund your retirement years.

Guide to stretching our retirement savings


The more dependent you are on your savings, the more careful your investment approach should be.


Thinking of KiwiSaver?

KiwiSaver is a voluntary savings scheme designed to help New Zealanders save and invest for retirement.

If you're under the age of 65, the extra contributions the government and your employer make to your savings mean that you would need a really good reason to not join KiwiSaver. But now that it's also open to those 65 plus, older New Zealanders are turning to these lower-cost managed funds to invest and draw down their savings.

Guide to KiwiSaver

Working in retirement

No one forces us to stop working when we turn 65. Many people may want to continue working or to do so in a different way – such as with flexible hours, part-time or casual work, consultancy or mentoring.

Income from paid work will not affect your entitlement to NZ Super. However, it may affect your eligibility for income-tested benefits such as the Accommodation Supplement or the Disability Allowance.

Senior Services has more information on 0800 552 002.

Equity release

The most common type of equity release is selling the house and purchasing a cheaper one that is smaller or in a cheaper area. This can free up some money while still providing the benefits of owning a home.

If you own a house or other property, and need to free up some money for long-term living expenses, pay for emergencies or a major expense, you can use a ‘reverse mortgage’. This is where you borrow an amount against your property either in a lump sum or by drawing down on the loan as and when you need the money. In the meantime, the interest payments build up.

When you die or the property is sold, the full loan plus interest has to be repaid – so you will leave behind a smaller legacy.

When considering a reverse mortgage, it’s good to talk about it with family and get independent financial and legal advice. It’s important to understand how the product works and what it might cost (including fees and interest charges). You can take a ‘worst-case scenario’ view when working out the cost projections – and not assume a property will increase in value. Consumer has more information on reverse mortgages, too.

Other ways to generate income from your home

There are other options you can consider to release value from your home:

  • Rent out part of your home
  • Take in a boarder
  • Subdivide your property
  • Sell your home to family or whānau (while retaining the right to live in it)

Don’t know where to start?

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

Head to the 6 steps