5 steps to get your $521
For every dollar you put into KiwiSaver, the government puts in 50 cents – up to $521 each year. Here’s how not to miss out:
Step 1: See if you’re already getting your government contribution this year.
You’re on track to get your full boost from the government if you’re an employee earning at least $34,762 a year (before tax) and have been contributing at least the minimum 3% into KiwiSaver.
No need to do anything – just watch $521 drop into your account in late July or August. Done!
If this is not you, however, move on to step 2.
Step 2: Check if you’ve contributed at least $1,043.
If you are not an employee or you earn less, you’ll need to check your contributions. In order to get that full boost from the government, you need to have paid in at least $1,043 this year.
How much have you put in? The easiest way to find out is to ask your KiwiSaver provider – here’s a contact list. (If you’re not sure who your provider is, you can call 0800 KIWISAVER to find out.)
Step 3: Figure out how much you’re short.
Your KiwiSaver provider will be able to tell you whether you’ve contributed $1,043 this year. If you haven’t yet, there’s still in time to top up your account by mid-June and get the full $521.
How much do you need to put in to get across the line? Your provider will know.
Step 4: Top-up your KiwiSaver account by mid-June.
During the weeks ahead, before June runs out, make arrangements with your KiwiSaver provider to top up your account. You may want to set up an automatic payment each time you’re paid, or just pop in a lump sum when you’re ready. Aim to have at least $1,043 in by mid-June.
Even if you can’t get the full $1,043 into your KiwiSaver by mid-June, it’s still worth paying in as much as you can – the government will match each dollar with 50 cents. So even putting in $300 nets you $150, for example.
Step 5: Pop in at least $20 a week to get your boost next year.
If you typically contribute less than $1,043 per year – and I'm thinking of all the self-employed, stay-at-home parents, part-time and casual workers out there – here's how to set yourself up to get the government contribution next year.
The KiwiSaver year runs from July to June. To make sure you don’t get caught short next year, set yourself up to contribute at least $20 a week, starting this July.
Again, automatic payments make it easy to set and forget. When next year rolls around, that government money will flow in without you needing to check anything.
Over your entire KiwiSaver experience, the government contribution could be worth as much as $36,000* – a real boost!
*If you put in $1,043 each year from the age of 18 until the age of 65, the government will have given you $24,507. If you get an average return of 5% per annum on this, you’d have more than $36,500 by the time you access it (even after fees, tax and inflation). That's on top of your own contributions, your employer contributions and any other investment returns you've received.