Average KiwiSaver balances of over-65s still under $50K

Averages KiwiSaver balances for over 65 year olds are still under $50k. Photo: Getty Images
Averages KiwiSaver balances for over 65 year olds are still under $50k. Photo: Getty Images
The average KiwiSaver balances of over 65-year-olds has risen in the past four years but still remains well short of what experts recommend for a comfortable retirement.

Figures from the ANZ - the country's largest KiwiSaver provider - show balances have risen from an average of $20,000 in 2016 to $48,700 in the year to April 2022.

But that remains far short of Massey University New Zealand Retirement Expenditure Guidelines which recommends a one-person household have a lump sum of $600,000 to live in a metropolitan city and have choices in retirement.

For a comfortable provincial lifestyle the lump sum would be even higher at $688,000.

Even those expecting to live a no-frills lifestyle in the provinces would require a lump sum equivalent to $170,000.

Fiona MacKenzie, ANZ managing director for funds management, said it was encouraging to see balances growing.

"The data can't tell us the whole story, but it is a good way of sparking a conversation and getting people to think about what sort of lifestyle they'd like to have after 65, and whether they are on track financially."

ANZ's research also showed just over a third (34 per cent ) of members who were aged between 66 and 75 and 11 per cent of members over 75 were still making employee contributions to KiwiSaver indicating they could still be working.

Employers don't have to contribute to KiwiSaver once a worker turns 65 but some continue to do so.

MacKenzie said people were living longer and more were working beyond the official retirement age.

"For some this is out of necessity, but for many working into their late sixties and even seventies this is a lifestyle choice.

"Rather than talking about retirement, it might be more appropriate to talk about life after 65."

ANZ also found that 71 per cent of those who turned 65 in the year to April did not take any money out of their KiwiSaver account, while 17 per cent made a partial withdrawal and 12 per cent took out all of their savings.

People over the age of 65 can take their money out of KiwiSaver at any time.

MacKenzie said keeping money in an unlocked KiwiSaver fund gave people a lot of flexibility.

"They can contribute to, or withdraw their funds, at any time."

Mackenzie said it was never too early to start planning for retirement even though it may seem a long time away.

"Right now we know that people are under pressure with increased costs of living.

"Planning for retirement can seem daunting. But there are some really simple things people can do right now which will help set them up for the future.

"You should make sure you are in a fund that suits your age and risk profile and also try to make regular contributions."