Proposed KiwiSaver changes welcomed by some self-employed New Zealanders

The changes to the KiwiSaver scheme, proposed by the Retirement Commissioner, have been welcomed by self-employed New Zealanders and financial groups.

Retirement Commissioner Jane Wrightson released a series of proposed changes on Thursday, which included changing the default contribution rate to four percent rather than three and an increase in the amount the government contributed to people who didn’t benefit from employer matching, like people who were self-employed.

Self-employed Aucklander Nikayla Daley said for sale traders, bumping up the government contribution would help a lot.

“I think it’s an amazing idea,” Daley said.

Chief executive of accounting firm HNRY, which works for sole traders, James Fuller, said from research the firm had commissioned, they knew around half of self-employed people were uncertain around their retirement fund.

“Because of the recent cost of living issues we’ve also seen self-employed people choosing not to contribute any funds towards their KiwiSaver in recent years, so extra funding would be welcomed.

“The main challenge is educating people and I think a lift in government funding would encourage more people”.

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KiwiSaver fund Simplicity’s co-founder Sam Stubbs also welcomed the proposed changes, but believed it should go a step further and make having a KiwiSaver compulsory.

“The people who don’t have a KiwiSaver fund are the ones who are most likely to need it the most.

“I think we need to make it something everyone must have and look to Australia’s superannuation scheme, which is at 12 per cent, and work towards that goal.”

If New Zealanders wanted a comfortable retirement, Stubbs said they needed to keep increasing the percentage.

“The best time for these KiwiSaver changes was ten years ago – the second best time is right now”.

A good way to look at KiwiSaver, Stubbs said, was that it was “free money from the government”.

Simplicity managing director Sam Stubbs

Australia were “leading the way” when it came to superannuation, Public Trust’s general manager of corporate trustee services, David Callanan said.

“I’ve lived and worked here and in Australia and they have a good model over there I think we should look at.”

Working at the Public Trust, Callanan said he often saw how important it was for people to plan for the future.

“I encourage everyone to think about their future – I know it is hard, but it’s really important. People need to reflect on their goals and long-term plan.

“KiwiSaver is a smart way to save for that future and it makes good financial sense”.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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