If KiwiSaver downed an energy drink, here's how much higher it could jump: $462,000.

That's how much difference it could make to someone over their KiwiSaver experience if they adjust their settings to get the most out of it. Specifically, three power-ups.

$462,000! That's one heck of a lot of money. (And yes, it's been adjusted for inflation.) The reason why it's so surprising is that we all tend to undervalue how much time is on our side, and how much we can grow financially in the years to come.

Take someone who has an average salary of $60,000 over their entire career of 47 years, from age 18 to 65. Leaving it as is, rolling sleepily along, they'd end up with close to $215,000 in their KiwiSaver. They'd put in $58,000, their employer $47,000, government $10,000, and they'd earn close to $100,000 from that money being invested by their fund manager.

But let's see how much better those results could be.

Power-up #1: Lift your KiwiSaver contribution rate.

Increasing how much you put into KiwiSaver from 3 per cent to 8 per cent could give you $197,000 more. Many of us can manage this extra amount from each pay and not miss it, but who wouldn't miss that better result at the end? 

How to do this: contact your employer to raise your rate.

Power-up #2: Pick the right KiwiSaver fund for you.

Switching from a conservative to a growth fund could give you $133,000 more. Yet so many of us have not actively chosen which fund to be in.  

How to do this: use the Sorted KiwiSaver fund finder.

Power-up #3: Make sure your tax rate is correct.

You may be being taxed more than required. Correcting your prescribed investor rate (PIR) from 28 per cent to 17.5 per cent could give you $26,000 more.

How to do this: check your PIR with your KiwiSaver provider.

So those are the top three ways to power up your KiwiSaver. But here's the thing: when combined, they compound up even higher over time. Because more money is flowing in due to increased contributions and lower taxes, it then has the potential to grow even more because it's invested in growth assets like shares and commercial property.

By age 65, our $60,000-a-year average employee's results could climb to $677,000 instead of that $215,000. (That's the $462,000 difference I mentioned.) They'd have put in $153,000, their employer $48,000, the government $10,000, and could have $466,000 in returns from their money being invested.

Since there will be hundreds of thousands of people who have not taken advantage of these three power-ups, we all need to spread the word: get the most out of KiwiSaver. Give yours some wings.

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