What to do with your KiwiSaver after you buy your first home

Wow, congratulations on buying your first home with your KiwiSaver money!

It’s a huge achievement and, especially in today’s housing climate, something that not every Kiwi will achieve in their lifetime.

So well done you!

We hope you took advantage of the government’s First Home Grant too, if you were eligible.

It’s likely your KiwiSaver balance is back to zero now, or maybe a much lower amount that before.

So, what should you do now with your account?

Shift your focus

You might be used to seeing a large KiwiSaver balance when you log in to check. It might feel a bit depressing now you’ve taken it all out. But try to stay positive – KiwiSaver is a long-term investment, and now you’re saving for your retirement.

You might have 30+ years ahead of you before you plan to use your KiwiSaver money for retirement, and that’s a long time! If you’re regularly contributing, the money will add up over time.

Review what fund type you’re in

Now that your balance is a lot smaller, or maybe zero, it’s a good time to check you’re in the right fund type for you.

The more time you have to invest, the more sensible it may be to select a higher-risk fund (like a growth fund). These are designed to get you more returns over time, but know the risks with these funds are greater. But if you need your money sooner, you’re better to choose a low-risk fund (like a conservative fund).

The exception to this is if the recent drop in your KiwiSaver balance, caused by the financial markets, has really worried you, or made you anxious, and you’re not comfortable with investing.

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.

Look at your contributions

It might be tempting to take a break from contributing to your KiwiSaver while you focus on your mortgage and other costs associated with your big buy.

But it’s great if you can keep contributing, even if it’s just 3 per cent of your salary. That way, you still get contributions from your employer, and you’ll likely qualify for the annual free government money.

Putting in just a little bit now can add up to a lot in the long term, and could make a real difference to your lifestyle come retirement.

If you’re not sure how to juggle a mortgage and your KiwiSaver contributions, see a financial adviser. 

Published December 2018

Pie Funds Management Limited is the issuer of the JUNO KiwiSaver Scheme. You can read our Product Disclosure Statement here. This article is general in nature only and has not taken into account any particular person’s objectives or circumstances. We recommend you speak with a financial adviser. All content is correct at time of publication date.