13 Nov 2012

Higher KiwiSaver pay deductions urged

6:49 am on 13 November 2012

ANZ Bank says KiwiSaver contribution rates should be increased by 0.5% per year for the next 10 years to ensure that people have enough money for retirement.

At the moment, people can contribute 2%, 4% or 8% percent of their before-tax pay to the scheme.

ANZ's quarterly Retirement Savings Confidence Barometer survey released on Monday says more than two thirds of those surveyed have not considered the savings target they need to get them to the level of weekly income they want in retirement.

This is despite the fact that only 5% of those surveyed intend to live solely on their New Zealand Superannuation payments.

The bank says the introduction of KiwiSaver and increased discussion of retirement has prompted people to start saving more.

ANZ's managing director of wealth and private banking John Body says there needs to be a greater understanding of what people will get as their end savings after contributing a certain amount.

Increasing the contribution yearly would have a significant impact on what people had saved by the time they reached retirement, he says.

But Mr Body says the economic environment is difficult and households don't have a lot of discretionary income to put towards retirement.

"People have been more aware of savings because of KiwiSaver ... but we have not made the connection between the fact that we are saving and how much money we will need for the retirement that we want," said Mr Body.

"Only a third of people have looked into their savings goals and have a target of what they want to achieve."

About two million New Zealanders have invested $13 billion in KiwiSaver and Mr Body says that the need for people to provide some of their own retirement income had gained a higher profile in the media.

Where people have set savings targets, those with a long-term plan are quite realistic, but some savers have not made a detailed calculation of how much money they are likely to need in retirement.