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KiwiSaver projections

Page last updated: 4 Feb 2020

How much money might I have at retirement?

Understanding how your KiwiSaver savings projection is calculated.

From April 2020, your personal annual KiwiSaver statement will show you what your KiwiSaver savings may be worth at age 65. The figures are not a guarantee, but instead are an estimated projection to help you make important decisions about your fund choice and how much you are contributing. The estimates will be updated each year.

What your statement shows

What you are on track to receive at age 65

$[lump sum amount] as a lump sum,

which would be about

$[weekly amount] a week until age 90.

Your lump sum shows how much your balance is likely to be when you reach age 65 – giving you an idea how much your current investment could grow.

Your weekly amount shows you how much you could receive weekly from your KiwiSaver account if you leave your money invested and make regular withdrawals from age 65 until your balance reaches zero at age 90. Most providers allow you to make regular withdrawals, meaning the money you leave invested will continue to earn returns.

The amounts are adjusted for inflation so you can see what they are worth in today’s money. The figures exclude NZ Superannuation and any other retirement savings you may have.

It’s important to know these figures are an estimate only and aren’t guaranteed by your provider or the Government.

The projections are calculated in a standard way

The projections are estimates based on your balance as at 31 March, and the amounts you and your employer have contributed as regular contributions during the year.

Your provider uses these amounts and the assumptions and returns outlined below to calculate your estimated balance at age 65. Balances are rounded to the nearest $1,000.

The weekly amount is rounded to the nearest $10. If your balance is low and you are close to age 65, rounding might mean your weekly amount shows as zero dollars.

Your provider will re-run the projections each year as at 31 March, so the estimates you see on your statement may change over time depending on your updated balance, contributions, and any other changes such as fund type or changes to the assumptions set by Government.

Projections are based on assumptions set by the Government

The assumptions your KiwiSaver provider uses to calculate the projections are set by the Government and will be reviewed from time to time. These assumptions are:

  • Your pay will increase by 3.5% each year and your contributions will increase in line with your pay (including voluntary contributions you may make in addition to contributions automatically deducted from your pay). For example, a $200 per month contribution today will be a $207 per month contribution next year, a $214 per month contribution the year after and so on.
  • If you make regular voluntary contributions (for example a regular direct debit) you will continue making these each year until you reach 65.
  • If you make any one-off payments during the year, you’ll continue to do this every year until you reach 65 (these will be capped at $1,500 in total per year – this ensures any large one-off payments you’ve made that might not be repeated don’t overstate your projection).
  • You take no savings suspensions – where you stop contributions for a period of time.  
  • No amounts are withdrawn for first home purchase or financial hardship, or (for estimating the weekly amount) as a lump sum after you reach age 65.
  • The Government contribution you earned in the past year (the current statement period) will continue to be paid each year until you reach age 65. For example, if you qualified for the full Government contribution of $521, the estimate will include this for every year. If you only qualified for a portion of the contribution, that same portion will be applied every year.
  • You stay in the same fund or fund mix until you are 65.
  • The rate of return is based on your fund type, as shown in the table below. The rates of return are:
    • After tax of 28%. This is the highest and most common tax rate for KiwiSaver members.
    • After fees. The fees used are an average for your fund type and don’t reflect the actual fees you paid
  • After 65, your balance will earn a 2.5% rate of return each year (after fees and tax).
  • The projections are adjusted for inflation, to enable you to assess the buying power of your money at the time you would receive it. The inflation assumption is currently 2% per annum.
  • For the weekly amount, you will make regular withdrawals over 25 years (ie until age 90) until your balance reaches zero.

Return after fees and tax have been deducted

Type of fund*
 

Mix*
% in growth assets

Assumed rate of return
(after fees and tax)

Defensive

0 – 9.9%

1.5%

Conservative

10 – 34.9%

2.5%

Balanced

35 – 62.9%

3.5%

Growth

63 – 89.9%

4.5%

Aggressive

90 – 100%

5.5%

Life cycle option – under 50 year-olds

3.5%

Life cycle option – over 50 year-olds

2.5%

* Most funds are a mix of income assets (cash and bonds) and growth assets (shares, property and other). Your fund might have a different name or be a single sector fund, or you might be in multiple funds. In these cases your provider must use the rate of return that represents the mix of growth and income assets you have. For example, if you are in an ‘International Equities’ fund that has over 90% of investments in international equities (shares), your provider would use the 5.5% return assumption. Your statement will show the rate of return your provider has applied.

Online KiwiSaver calculators should give you a similar projection

Many KiwiSaver providers offer projection calculators. From April 2020 these should use the same underlying return, tax and inflation assumptions as your statement but may enable you to add in more precise calculation details – such as your income at a precise point in time, or an adjustment if you plan to make a first home withdrawal. You can also play around to see the difference contributing more or changing your fund choice will make to your projected retirement income.

Because of the ability to make adjustments and include more precise details, the projected balance from a calculator may differ to that on your annual member statement.

Some providers offer their members additional retirement savings calculators that may, for example, let you add in other sources of retirement income such as New Zealand Superannuation or income from other investments. These may have different assumptions which must be clearly disclosed. Have a look at these so you can understand why there may be differences to what you see on your statement.

You may also benefit from discussing your personal situation and retirement goals with a financial adviser.

Why you might not have a projection

You won’t get a projection on your statement if:

  • You weren’t with your provider for the whole year (1 April to 31 March)
  • You’re under 18 at 31 March
  • You’re over 65 at 31 March

You can do a projection yourself at any time using Sorted’s KiwiSaver savings calculator.

Questions to ask yourself after reading your statement

Can you contribute more?

Increasing your contributions can make a big difference to your results.

Use Sorted’s KiwiSaver savings calculator to see the difference increasing contributions might make for you.

Are you in the right fund?

Will your money grow as much as you need? If you don’t need your money for many years, a growth fund is usually a better long term option.

To check whether another fund might suit you better, use the KiwiSaver fund finder tool on the Sorted website.