KiwiSaver dip: Have I lost money? Should I change funds?

Financial markets have kicked off the year fairly volatile, and you’ve likely seen your KiwiSaver investment, plus other investments, drop in value. But what does this mean? Have you actually lost money? Should you change funds? Where has the money gone?

You hold units in a fund
When you invest money in a fund, this money is used to buy units in the fund.  For example, an investor at JUNO might hold 5,000 units. The value of these units will rise and fall, but the number of units the investor holds will stay the same. The number of units the investor holds increases when they invest more money, and will decrease when they withdraw the investment.

It’s like property values
Think of your shares like a house you might own. The house value might rise and fall over time, depending on the property market and other factors like supply and demand. But the value of the house only really matters if you plan on selling it. You have not lost any real money on your house until then, and the same applies to your investments.

Crystalising your losses
One way you lose money in a market dip is if you sell when your investments are at lower value. Selling your investments could mean withdrawing your money, switching providers or switching funds (for example, changing from a growth to a balanced fund)

You might be tempted to switch funds during a market downturn, but if you switch you could lock in your losses, meaning you will miss any bounce back in future returns on your investment. So it’s best to stay the course, and try to not check your investment too much during this time if it makes you feel anxious.

KiwiSaver is a long-term investment, and many will be invested for 10 years or more. This gives you time to weather market ups and downs. In the short term, your investment might fall, but over the long term it should increase. Ups and downs are a normal part of investing, and growth or aggressive funds experience the highest volatility, in return for potentially higher returns over the long term.

But I’ve realised I’m in the wrong fund
The best fund for you will be based on your investment timeframe, and your risk tolerance (how comfortable you are with volatility and seeing ups and downs).  You might only realise your tolerance for investment ups and downs when you experience it yourself. 

You can use our Fund Picker Tool to help.

If you’ve realised you might be in the wrong fund, you have a couple of options. You can try to get used to the market ups and downs, and try to become more comfortable with it. This might involve reading more about volatility, or contacting your KiwiSaver provider for reassurance. 

Or, you might want to change funds to a more conservative fund. Rather than change immediately, during this market dip, you might want to hold off until the markets pick up again. Or, you can change now - whatever suits your situation best.

And if you’re feeling unsure, please contact your KiwiSaver provider. They are there to help you and can provide valuable information about your investment. 

In summary… 

  • You lock in the value of your investment when you sell (for example, withdraw your money or change funds)
  • Until then, you haven’t lost any real money
  • Market ups and downs are a normal part of investing
  • Growth or aggressive funds experience the most market volatility
  • Over the long term, your investment should increase, but during the short term there will be ups and downs

Information correct as at February 2022. Pie Funds Management Limited is the issuer and manager of the JUNO KiwiSaver Scheme. Click here for our Product Disclosure Statement. Any advice is given by Pie Funds Management Limited, and is general only. It relates only to the specific financial products mentioned and does not account for personal circumstances or financial goals. Please see a financial adviser for tailored advice. You may have to pay product or other fees if you act on any advice. As manager of the Scheme we receive monthly fees that are determined by your balance and whether you are 13 years or over. We will benefit financially if you invest in our products. We manage any conflicts of interest via an internal compliance framework designed to ensure we meet our duties to you. For information about the advice we can provide, our duties and complaint process and how disputes can be resolved, visit All content is correct at time of publication date, unless otherwise indicated. Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Returns can be negative as well as positive and returns over different periods may vary. Please let us know if you would like a hard copy of this disclosure information.