KiwiSaver: How to find out if you’re in a default fund

Are you one of the 431,000 Kiwis who have their KiwiSaver money in a default fund?

If you’re new to KiwiSaver, or maybe don’t know much about it, you might be feeling confused.

What’s a fund? Let alone a default fund? And is it bad to be in one?

When you sign up

When you first join KiwiSaver – and for some of you, that might have been 10 or more years ago – you usually get automatically allocated to one of a group of government-appointed default providers.

That means your money is put into a default fund.

How do I know if I’m in a default fund?

You may be in a default fund if:

  • You enrolled in KiwiSaver years ago and aren’t really sure what’s happened since
  • You know you’re enrolled with one of the nine KiwiSaver default providers, but you’re not sure which fund

  • How do I confirm where my money is?

    Think back. Have you had email or post communication with a provider about your KiwiSaver money? Maybe you’ve got an annual statement from your provider (you typically get them in April or May of each year). Once you’ve found your provider, call them to ask if you’re in a default fund.

    If you don’t know who your provider is, call 0800 KIWISAVER. Have your IRD number handy.

    Are default funds bad?

    Default funds are not necessarily bad, but it’s important to find out if you’re in one or not, as it might not be the best investment choice for your personal situation.

    Default funds tend to invest conservatively, meaning they are lower-risk, but in return, usually make lower returns. If you’re in KiwiSaver for the long term, you might be able to take on more risk, and therefore get higher returns.

    I’m in a default fund, now what?

    If you’ve found out your money is in a default fund, now’s a great time to decide if the fund is right for you. For many of you, particularly if you’re younger and won’t be taking out your money any time soon, a default fund might not be suitable, and you might be missing out on money.

    Over the long term, being in the wrong fund can mean you miss out of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Choosing your fund is an important decision and will affect how much you save.

    What types of funds are there?

    Funds can vary, but usually there are three main types:

    Conservative – Conservative funds aim to preserve your money, are less risky than aggressive or growth funds, and you’ll generally see less dramatic ups and downs.

    Balanced – Balanced funds aim for steady capital growth. They’re good if you have a medium to long time to invest.

    Growth – Growth funds aim to provide you with capital growth – really making your money work hard for returns. If you’re in a higher-risk growth fund, usually with more shares, your money is more likely to move up and down with the highs and lows of the share market, meaning you might see dramatic changes in your balance.

    Your KiwiSaver provider or a financial adviser can help work out which fund is best for you.

    Story by Claire Connell, JUNO

    Published 15 May 2019

    Pie Funds Management Limited is the issuer of the JUNO KiwiSaver Scheme. You can read our Product Disclosure Statement here. This article is general in nature only and has not taken into account any particular person’s objectives or circumstances. We recommend you speak with a financial adviser. All content is correct at time of publication date.