How your KiwiSaver money grows.
Contributions plus compounding returns means your KiwiSaver balance can increase significantly over time.
Growing your KiwiSaver balance.
Your KiwiSaver balance can grow in four ways:
- Your contributions
- Any employer contributions
- Any government contributions
- Returns from your investment
All the contributions and returns are invested in a diversified fund that buys a mix of assets including shares and bonds. Those assets tend, over time, to rise in value. This growth in the value of the assets is what creates the investment returns – the money your money makes for you. The longer your money is invested, the more it is likely to grow.
The power of compounding returns
KiwiSaver harnesses the power of compounding returns: your returns are reinvested, then you earn returns on your new higher total. So the money you earn starts to earn more money.
Compounding returns add up significantly over time, so your earliest KiwiSaver contributions will grow the most. In this sense, the more you contribute and the earlier you start, the more your balance will increase.
Try our Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme Calculator to estimate how much difference it might make if you increase your contributions now.
Employer contributions start at 3%
If you're a KiwiSaver member and an eligible employee, your employer must contribute a minimum of 3% of your pretax earnings when you're aged between 18 and 65. Some employers choose to pay more than 3%.
Employer contributions make a big difference to your total KiwiSaver balance over the years, even if you don't earn a lot of money.
When you start a new job, you should ask whether employer contributions are included in your total salary package – they are required to pay the 3% in addition to your wages or salary, but they can take it out of your pay if it's been negotiated with you up front.
If you are not working or you've opted out of KiwiSaver, you won't receive employer contributions.
The government contribution
Every year the government will put up to $521.43 into your KiwiSaver account.
Getting the maximum contribution requires you to put in at least $1,042.86 of your own money during the year. This contribution really adds up over a lifetime. By the way of illustration, if the Government's $521.43 was invested each year from age 20, earning a 4.5% annual return, it would generate $30,000 at age 65 (Of that total, over $20,000 would be investment returns)1.
Stay the course
Regardless of what the market is doing, it pays to resist the temptation to switch funds as your balance fluctuates. KiwiSaver is designed as a long-term investment and time will generally take care of short-term ups and downs.
It's important to understand how long it will be before you want to use your money and choose a fund that works best for that timeframe and your attitude to risk.
Maximising your balance growth
The more you contribute and the earlier you start, the faster your balance is likely to grow. If you want to know more about how you could increase your balance based on your own situation, use our KiwiSaver Calculator to work it out.
Join or transfer to the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme.
Calculate potential savings
Use our calculator to help you calculate your possible future balance.
Which fund is right for you?
Use our tool to check you are in the fund that suits you best.
Things you should know.
1 This is an example only based on assumptions. The figures are based on Growth Fund assumed return of 4.5% per year after fees and tax. The example assumes continuous eligibility for Government contributions (calculated at 50 cents for every $1 each member contributes, up to a maximum of $521.43 per year). The example also assumes no withdrawals are made and no savings suspensions are taken. The end figures shown are expressed in real terms as a current dollar amount (inflation adjusted). These figures are rounded to the nearest $1,000. The results do not reflect actual returns and are not predictions of future returns (which are subject to investment and other risks, including loss of income and principal invested). No amount of return is promised or guaranteed. Returns can be positive or negative, and will vary over different periods depending on the investment performance of your chosen fund or funds. Conditions apply to the KiwiSaver savings benefits and they may change in the future. Generally, up-to-date details are available at ird.govt.nz/kiwisaver.
BT Funds Management (NZ) Limited is the scheme provider and Westpac New Zealand Limited is the distributor, of the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme (Scheme).
The information above is subject to changes to government policy and law, and changes to the Scheme from time to time.
Investments made in the Scheme do not represent bank deposits or other liabilities of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141, Westpac New Zealand Limited or other members of the Westpac Group of companies. They are subject to investment and other risks, including possible delays in payment of withdrawal amounts in some circumstances, and loss of investment value, including principal invested. None of BT Funds Management (NZ) Limited (as manager), any member of the Westpac Group of companies, The New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Limited (as supervisor), or any director or nominee of any of those entities, or any other person guarantees the Scheme's performance, returns or repayment of capital.
For a copy of the Product Disclosure Statement or more information about the Scheme, contact any Westpac branch or call 0508 972 254 or from overseas +64 9 375 9978 (international toll charges apply). You can also download the Product Disclosure Statement.