BOOKCASE: The Complete KiwiSaver: Everything you need to know

• Mary Holm
• Random House NZ
• $29.99

Only half of the people who joined KiwiSaver in its first year chose which provider and which fund they wished to use, the rest ended up in their employer’s chosen scheme or in default fund.
This doesn’t please Mary Holm and is key reason the well-known personal finance author and commentator has written new book on KiwiSaver.
She wants higher proportion of Kiwi savers to make an active decision on which type of fund and which provider they send their money to as, she says, “the chances of the one you land up in being the best one for you are tiny”.
To this end, The Complete KiwiSaver: Everything You Need To Know is presented in four sections: recap how the scheme works, how to get the best from KiwiSaver (ie, flexible contributions, investing ethically), how to invest (ie, which type of fund will work for you),
and results from 100-question survey of all 33 KiwiSaver providers.
This was the section I found most useful – sure there’s lot of information there but by then, the book has guided you through numerous choices and decisions and it’s good to have the impartial information on what’s available. It takes lot of work out of making some decisions.
Mary Holm doesn’t make any recommendations – she’s not allowed to and, anyway, everyone has different requirements – but she gives you the information and the knowledge to make decision.
Her only direction is that we should all sign up and that we can all afford it.
Useful information includes:
• if you don’t normally file tax return, joining KiwiSaver won’t change that;
• when you die – before or after retirement age – your KiwiSaver money is paid to your estate; and,
• for each month you delay joining the scheme you miss out on $87 of government money plus any employer contributions.
Over the long term, delaying for even couple of years before you join means you miss out on heaps in retirement, Holm says, around $100,000 for some young people.
As government changes to the scheme kick in, it’s invaluable to have up-to-date information.
If only Holm could tell us whether the Government will continue its contributions. • Ellen Read

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