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ASB welcomes KiwiSaver changes

Monday 1 July 2019

From today, all New Zealanders will be able to access KiwiSaver regardless of their age with the government’s policy for over 65-year-olds coming into force from 1 July.

The changes will make KiwiSaver available to New Zealanders of all ages, where previously the scheme had only been available to those under 65. The five year lock in period which used to impact people joining over 60 will also no longer apply, meaning all members are eligible to withdraw KiwiSaver once they hit 65.

ASB head of KiwiSaver Aidan Vince says the changes will benefit older Kiwis who had previously missed out.

“It’s fantastic to see KiwiSaver being opened up to more New Zealanders. The decision to join might not have made sense for many when KiwiSaver was younger, but thousands of New Zealanders in this age group have, and continue to, benefit from KiwiSaver,” says Vince.

According to the most recent household labour force survey from Statistics New Zealand, about one in four New Zealanders over 65 are employed, or 170,000 people.

Vince says this fits with research from ASB. In the most recent quarterly KiwiSaver survey, 51% of respondents said they planned to retire between 65 and 69-years-old. A further 18% planned to retire between 70 and 74-years-old and 6% said they planned to retire later than 75-years-old.

Data from Statistics New Zealand shows average life expectancy is increasing, meaning retirement savings need to last longer.

Employers are not obligated to contribute to KiwiSaver for those over 65-years-old, however Vince says this should be encouraged so those over 65 could still get the more traditional savings benefits from being in the scheme.

He says for retired New Zealanders, KiwiSaver presents as a good savings option for those looking to get more from medium to longer term savings.

“Term deposit rates are low and expected to stay low, therefore If you aren't generating the income you want to live off with money in the bank, KiwiSaver is another option, so it’s good to see this available to more people,” says Vince.

“As always though, we encourage people to get guidance and advice or use some of the online tools available to figure out what is the best investment strategy for them to achieve their goals.”

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