KiwiSaver is, at its heart, a scheme intended to help you save for one of the most important stages of your life: retirement. However, you don't have to wait until you're 65 to access the money that you have so diligently been squirrelling away – here are three scenarios where you can get at your capital before retirement.

KiwiSaver isn't just a retirement fund.KiwiSaver isn't just a retirement fund.

1) Buying your first home

Other than moving out of work, moving out of home could be considered one of the most major financial decisions of your life. That's exactly why the New Zealand government allows for the withdrawal of your KiwiSaver funds for the purchase of your first home.

However, there are some important things to remember. If you received the $1,000 government kickstart, you can't draw that to pay for your home, nor can you use it to purchase a residential investment property. If you moved here from Australia, you also can't use your transferred funds. You still get your contributions, your employer's contributions, tax credits and investment returns though. If you've been diligent in your saving, that should be plenty of cash for a deposit. 

2) Serious illness or financial hardship

Pulling cash out of your KiwiSaver should be an absolute last resort.

Life is full of accidents, and sometimes even the best laid financial planning can be struck by unexpected expenses. You can withdraw your KiwiSaver (with evidence) in order to pay for serious medical treatments, mortgage repayments, unable to meet living expenses and the like.

You have to remember that this is your retirement fund that you are drawing from, however, and pulling cash out of your KiwiSaver should be an absolute last resort.

3) Moving overseas

We may be showing our bias here, but we reckon that New Zealand is a great place to live. In fact, New Zealand Statistics shows that in January alone, incoming migrants outnumbered outgoing Kiwis by over 6,000. Clearly, something about NZ is calling to people all over the world!

However, we also know that many Kiwis, particularly younger people, move overseas for at least a little while to get a taste of the wider world. Thankfully, you can take your KiwiSaver with you, though if you're heading to Australia you can only transfer it to a compliant Aussie super scheme.

For more information on your KiwiSaver and how to grow it, get into contact with a financial adviser at Goodlife Financial Advice today!

Here's to your financial independence!

Daniel Carney
Authorised Financial Adviser / Investment Property Expert

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