Relevant financial information on retirement in New Zealand
New Zealand Superannuation
New Zealand Superannuation, NZ Super, is the government pension paid to Kiwis over the age of 65. Any eligible New Zealander receives NZ Super regardless of how much they earn through paid work, savings and investments, what other assets they own or what taxes they have paid.
To be eligible for NZ Super, you need to be aged 65 or over and be a legal resident of New Zealand. You also need to have lived in New Zealand for 10 years since age 20, with five of those years since you turned 50. Time spent overseas in certain countries and for certain reasons may be counted.
The level of NZ Super payments is set by the government each year. The rates are reviewed and adjusted to take into account any increases in the cost of living and average wages. NZ Super is paid fortnightly.
The after-tax NZ Super rate for couples (who both qualify) is based on 66% of the ‘average ordinary time wage’ after tax. For single people, the after-tax NZ Super rate is around 40% of that average wage.
There is no ‘retirement age’ in New Zealand.
NZ Super is paid from age 65, but you don’t have to stop working to get it. These days, more and more people are working beyond 65 either full-time or part-time.
If you get a pension from an overseas government, your NZ Super payments may be reduced by the amount you receive from overseas.
Depending on your personal situation you might qualify for extra help from the Government on top of NZ Super. This could include help with ongoing health and medical costs (Disability Allowance) and housing costs (Accommodation Supplement).
You may also qualify for other assistance – for example, if you face an emergency situation, or if you need help with essential costs.
A Community Services Card can help you with the cost of healthcare. If you qualify, you’ll pay less on some health services and prescriptions.
KiwiSaver is a voluntary work-based savings scheme set up by the government to encourage New Zealanders to save for their retirement.
If you're employed, you can choose to contribute 3%, 4% or 8% of your gross (before-tax) wage or salary to your KiwiSaver account. Your employer has to contribute as well – at least 3% of your gross salary.
If you’re using KiwiSaver to save for your retirement, you can’t touch your money until the age you get New Zealand Superannuation (NZ Super) which is currently 65. If you’re between 60 and 64 years old when you join, you can’t touch your money for 5 years.
How much capital you will need for your retirement?
This will obviously depend on the lifestyle you would like to have during your retirement years. For a general idea of how much money you should have available, this Retirement Planner is a good tool.
Are you a UK citizen?
You might be able to transfer your UK pension to New Zealand.
Ask our Retirement Migration Expert
If you want to find out more about your options for retiring in New Zealand, contact Dr. Carsten HallwassContact Dr. Carsten Hallwass