Choosing which fund your KiwiSaver money is in is an important decision, and will affect how your KiwiSaver investment could perform.
The right fund for you will be based on your investment time frame, your risk tolerance, and how comfortable you are with investing. So, when should you change your fund?
When you change KiwiSaver provider
Looking to change KiwiSaver provider? Changing providers can be easily done online, but you can only belong to one provider at a time. Fund types can differ, depending on the KiwiSaver provider.
One provider’s ‘balanced’ fund could be another’s ‘conservative’ fund. They could be made up the same way, just have different names, or they might be made up differently. Some providers have tools that can help you decide, or you can contact the provider for more information. It’s a good idea to review your fund type regularly or when your circumstances change (for example, if you’re considering buying a house).
What are the investment time frames for different funds?
Finding the best fund for your time frame is simple, mainly because many providers offer three fund types to choose from.
Growth – Growth funds aim to provide you with capital growth – really making your money work hard for returns. If you’re in a growth fund, usually with more shares, your money is more likely to move up and down with the highs and lows of the share market. This means you might see dramatic changes in your balance. A growth fund might suit you if you’re investing for 10 years or more.
Balanced – Balanced funds aim for steady capital growth. The investment style is what the name says – a balanced approach. A balanced fund might suit you if you’re investing for more than five years.
Conservative – Conservative funds aim to preserve your money, are less risky than aggressive or growth funds, and you’ll generally see fewer dramatic ups and downs. A conservative fund might suit you if you’re investing for under five years, for example, if you’re close to taking out your KiwiSaver money for your first home, or retirement. While conservative funds are less risky, this means that returns over the long term are likely to be lower than for a balanced or growth fund.
What kind of tools can you use to analyse funds?
There are plenty of tools and calculators from websites like Sorted and other websites to help you understand what fund type could be right for you. At JUNO, we have a fund picker tool, and returns calculator - we’ve also put together a table comparing annual fees, relative returns and rankings for KiwiSaver Growth funds. A financial adviser can also provide helpful information about investment fund types.
When should you change your fund?
If you’re considering changing your fund type, you might want to think about these key points.
Good reasons to swap funds
- If you need your money soon: If you are planning to withdraw funds for your first-home, or are nearing retirement then you may want to move to a lower-risk conservative fund to reduce the amount of ups and downs you’ll see in your KiwiSaver balance.
- If you’re in a default fund: If your KiwiSaver money is in a default fund, you might want to look at the fund and check if it’s right for you.
- If investing makes you nervous: Some funds like growth funds go up and down more than others. If you’re feeling nervous about your balance going down, you might want to check you’re in the right fund for the level of risk you’re comfortable with. Likewise, if you’re comfortable with ups and downs, you may want to take on more risk, in return for potentially higher returns.
There are some times when it might not be a good idea to change your fund. These could include:
- Chasing higher returns: If you’re wanting to switch funds simply to chase higher returns. Always remember that past performance doesn’t guarantee future returns.
- If the markets dip and your balance drops: When the market dips and your balance drops is not usually a good time to change to a more conservative fund. That’s because you’re effectively locking in the losses you’ve made – and you probably won’t benefit from any big growth when the markets pick up again. The exception to this is if the drop in your KiwiSaver balance has really worried you, or made you anxious. Even if a growth fund is, on paper, the right fund for you to be in, the reality of that investment choice might be causing you a lot of stress. You might find you’re not suited to riskier investments.
If you have more time to invest, say 10 years, a higher-risk fund might suit you better as you will potentially get higher returns over the long term. But if you need your money sooner, or aren’t comfortable with investing, a lower-risk fund might suit. Learning about your money personality can help you work out your risk tolerance, and could help you make better investment choices. Learning about your money personality type can help you reach your goals sooner.
Information correct as at 31 August 2021. 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 www.junofunds.co.nz. 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.