KiwiSaver: Can kids get free government money?

KiwiSaver for kids - it can be a great idea to sign your child up to a KiwiSaver provider if you’d like to help them have a better future, and you can afford it.

One of the big benefits of KiwiSaver is your employer, and the government, both put money into your account, if you’re contributing regularly.

If you earn at least NZ$34,762 (before tax) and you contribute the minimum of 3 per cent of your salary into KiwiSaver, you’ll automatically qualify for the government money. This is, of course, once you’re 18 years old.

Unfortunately, KiwiSaver members who are under 18 don’t get the free government money, no matter how much money is in their account.

That’s the government’s rule.

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KiwiSaver for children - what are the benefits?

1. Kids get a head start on saving and investing
Kids in KiwiSaver will see their balance grow through compounding returns over the long term. KiwiSaver is a simple way for them to learn about how saving can pay off, and learn the basics of investing.

2. It’s free to set up
There is no charge to set up a KiwiSaver account for your kid. Involve them each step of the way to sign up, and then check in with their account a couple of times a year.

3. The longer you’re invested the better
Time is your best friend when it comes to investment. Investing is for the long term, so the longer you’re invested, the better your outcomes could be. Setting up a kid in KiwiSaver early can have a huge impact on compounding returns for their future.

4. Help them get a head start on first home saving
KiwiSaver is a great tool for kids to use to save for their first home deposit further down the track. Many Kiwis use some or all of their KiwiSaver investment to help get them into their first home, if that’s one of their goals. 

5. They will be set up for government and employer money from 18
Once your kid turns 18, having a KiwiSaver account set up already makes it easier to start benefiting from the likes of the government and employer contributions. Plus, some amazing companies do give employer contributions for teens to help them along.

6. It can be a great place for contributions
If your kid receives birthday money from relatives, their KiwiSaver account can be a great place for some of this. Contributing to your kid’s account as much as you’re able to will help them get a headstart.

7. Fees can be lower for kids KiwiSaver accounts
Some providers, like JUNO, offer low or no fees for kids on their KiwiSaver accounts. This can really help their investments grow. 

8. Your kids can’t get the government money, but you might be able to
For every dollar you contribute from July one year to June the next, the government will pay you 50 cents into your KiwiSaver account, up to a total of $521.43.

If you aren’t earning enough, or contributing enough to qualify for the free money, you can top up your account yourself. Just call your KiwiSaver provider.

And if you can’t contribute the required $1,043 into your account, you’ll still get a proportion of the government money. If you put in half, you’ll get half of the government contribution.

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KiwiSaver for under 18s: things to consider before signing your kids up 

1. Can I afford it?
KiwiSaver accounts are free to set up for kids under 18 but the real benefit comes from contributing to it. Have a plan for how your kid could grow their account - perhaps small monthly contributions from yourself or relatives, or birthday money.

2. Does KiwiSaver suit your situation?
Your child will only be able to use their KiwiSaver balance for retirement or a first-home deposit. It cannot be used for things like kids education, gap years or other travel, or starting a business.

3. Will we need to access the money later?
KiwiSaver balances are locked in and can only be used for retirement or a first-home deposit (you may be able to access if you’re in serious financial trouble, or very unwell). Before contributing to your kids account, make sure you’re aware you can’t withdraw it and that having it invested in KiwiSaver is right for you.

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What fund type is good for children?

If you’re thinking about setting up a KiwiSaver account for your child, choosing the right fund type is important.

Your fund type - like growth, balanced or conservative - determines the way your money is invested and the risk level associated with it. The right fund type for you is based on how long you’ll be investing for, your personal risk level, and how comfortable you are with investing and seeing ups and downs in your balance.

If you’re not sure on what fund type is best, we have a handy Fund Picker tool that might help. You can also call our team who can help.

We also have lots of educational content around investing in general - take the Money Personalities quiz. Are you a Spender? A Saver? Or something else. Take our fun quiz to find out which one of 5 personality types you are. Unlock your money personality to reach your goals sooner.


In summary...

Opening a KiwiSaver account for kids,  then contributing to their accounts, can be a great way to help them for the future. KiwiSaver accounts for kids help them benefit from a long-term investment horizon, compounding returns, and learning about how saving and investment works. KiwiSaver can also be a helpful tool to help them into their first home later in life.

Setting up a kids KiwiSaver account is free, and some providers like JUNO charge low or no fees for kids. Once they reach 18, your kid may qualify for the government or employer contribution, which can help them grow their KiwiSaver balance even further. 

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Information correct as at 31 August 2021. Pie Funds Management Limited is the issuer and manager of the JUNO KiwiSaver Scheme. Click here for our Product Disclosure Statement. Any advice is given by Pie Funds Management Limited, and is general only. It relates only to the specific financial products mentioned and does not account for personal circumstances or financial goals. Please see a financial adviser for tailored advice. You may have to pay product or other fees if you act on any advice. As manager of the Scheme we receive monthly fees that are determined by your balance and whether you are 13 years or over. We will benefit financially if you invest in our products. We manage any conflicts of interest via an internal compliance framework designed to ensure we meet our duties to you. For information about the advice we can provide, our duties and complaint process and how disputes can be resolved, visit www.junokiwisaver.co.nz. All content is correct at time of publication date, unless otherwise indicated. Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Returns can be negative as well as positive and returns over different periods may vary. Please let us know if you would like a hard copy of this disclosure information.