Nearly half government contribution to KiwiSaver unclaimed
steps to an extra $500
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KiwiSaver members have six weeks to make sure they qualify to receive the government’s annual contribution of $521.
As long as they’ve contributed at least $1043 in the year to June 30 they’ll receive the full amount from the government. The $521 will appear in their KiwiSaver account in July or August.
Tom Hartmann, Managing Editor of personal financial website sorted.org.nz, says that over a KiwiSaver member’s working life the government contribution could be worth as much as $36,000.
“That’s a real boost to your retirement savings. It’s not often the government wants to give us money to encourage us to save – let’s make sure we qualify for it.”
Last year $785 million, or 47% of the money the government allocated for its contribution to KiwiSaver members went unclaimed – a reflection of the number of members not contributing to their account or not putting in enough each year to receive the full $521.
Here’s a five-step checklist to make sure you don’t miss out:
1. See if you automatically qualify: If you’re an employee earning at least $34,762 a year (before tax) and contribute the minimum 3% into KiwiSaver, you don’t need to do anything. Your contributions will have passed the $1043 mark and the government’s $521 will simply drop into your KiwiSaver account in late July or August.
2. Check if you’ve contributed at least $1043: If you’re a contractor, freelancer, work part-time or earn less than $34,762, you’ll need to check how much you’ve contributed to your KiwiSaver account in the past year. 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, call 0800 KIWISAVER.
3. If you’re short, figure out by how much: There’s still time to top-up your account to $1043 to receive the full $521. Your provider can help you figure out how much extra you need to put in to get across the line.
4. Top-up your KiwiSaver account by mid-June: June 30 is the official deadline, but providers prefer members to have the minimum $1043 in their accounts by mid-June so they can process your government contribution efficiently. Make arrangements with your provider to top-up your account, either by automatic payments or a lump sum. Even if you can’t top up to $1043, it’s worth putting in as much as you can as the government will match each dollar with 50c. So even if you finish June with $300, for example, that will still net you an extra $150.
5. Pop in at least $20 a week to get
your boost next year: The KiwiSaver year runs from
July to June. To make sure you don’t get caught short next
year, set up an automatic payment of at least $20 a week,
starting this July. When next year rolls around, the full
government contribution will drop into your account without
you needing to check anything.
For more information see sorted.org.nz