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KiwiSaver: three years and counting

09:00 AEST Sun Aug 8 2010
KiwiSaver. Image: Getty
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It's been three years since KiwiSaver was introduced and if you joined from the get-go, you're on your way to having a more comfortable sum saved for retirement.

Employees who have joined KiwiSaver have contributed a portion of their income (two, four or eight percent) to the scheme, and receive a minimum employer contribution of two percent. Extra benefits include annual tax credits and a $1000 kick-start on joining.

So how much would you have saved for retirement if you joined three years ago? Let's assume you earn $45,000/year and contribute $35/fortnight (two percent of your salary). Based on average returns over the past three years, you could have around $8243 in KiwiSaver.

First-time homebuyers may be eligible to make a one-off withdrawal from their KiwiSaver. The government may also provide first-time buyers $1000 for every year they've contributed to KiwiSaver (a minimum of three years and maximum of five), if certain criteria are met. These include things like how much you earn and the value of the home you want to purchase.

So by now you could have $8415 to put towards a deposit. That's the contributions you and your employer have made for the last three years plus the government subsidy of $3000. The tax credits and the $1000 kick-start stay in your KiwiSaver account. If you have a partner on a similar salary, together you could have almost $17,000 to put towards your first home.

If your contributions were higher, by now you could have saved even more. If your employer contribution stayed at two percent but you contributed $69/fortnight (four percent of your salary), your KiwiSaver could have grown to $11,235. And with a $138/fortnight (an eight percent contribution) you could now have $16,709. has a Quick KiwiSaver calculator to work out how much you could have by age 65 if you contribute to KiwiSaver. You'll find other useful information at Sorted to decide whether KiwiSaver is right for you and how much you can afford to contribute.

SortedArticle provided by To find out more, visit the Retirement Commission website — your independent money guide. It's packed with free information, tools and calculators to help you plan for retirement and manage money throughout your life.