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Q:How do I join?

Joining Simplicity takes less than two minutes. You will need your IRD number and photo ID like a passport and driver's license. To join go back to the homepage and follow the prompts or go there directly by clicking here.  If you are new to KiwiSaver, you can join using our form as well.

If you joined KiwiSaver through your employer there is a mandatory three-month stand-down period. This is to give you time to opt out if you want to. Your contributions will accrue with the IRD during this time and if you don't opt-out they'll be transferred to your provider after three months for investment.

If the above scenario applies to you and you can't log in to your member account with Simplicity, it's likely because your account is inactive. If you can make a voluntary payment to activate your account. It can be as small as $1. Otherwise, when we receive your funds you'll receive email instructions on how to log in and set a password. 

Q:How can I get my IRD number?

Check your payslip, or phone IRD at 0800 775 247 and ask “What’s my IRD number”. You can also register for IRD’s online services and obtain your number that way. IRD’s KiwiSaver section is loaded with useful information, tools, forms and guides and once you've registered you can also see a breakdown of your KiwiSaver fees and balance too.

 

Q:How much do I pay?

If you are employed, your employer is required to contribute 3% of your gross annual salary.

You contribute a minimum of 3%. Rates can be higher by negotiation with your employer.

You can chose to contribute more than 3% and the current options are 4%, 6%, 8% or 10% of your wages.

Once you are a member of Simplicity you will have access to our web app which shows how your balance will change according to the different funds on offer and also the contribution rates which is a valuable exercise for retirement planning. 

Q:What fund should I choose?

Investment returns can vary significantly between conservative, balanced and growth funds. Which fund you choose should be in consideration of your age, appetite for risk, your time horizon for the investment and your purpose. 

For example, if you are in KiwiSaver mainly as a saving vehicle for a first time home, with a plan of withdrawing in under three years, you will likely desire the least volatile fund (that’s our conservative fund) so you can preserve your capital. We recommend that you consult an authorised financial advisor if you feel you are unable to make an informed decision that you feel confident about. A balanced fund provides an equal mix of equities and fixed interest investments. While a growth fund has a higher balance of equities compared to fixed interest. Our conservative fund has least exposure to the sharemarket.

To find out what kind of investor you are and other great information that would be helpful for making a choice, why not check out Sorted.org's investment section here or it's KiwiSaver/retirement section here. 

Q:Do I receive Government credits when I reach 65?

Eligibility to receive the Government Contribution ceases at of age 65 or five years after joining the scheme, whichever is later. For example, if someone joins at age 62, they will be eligible to receive the Government Contribution until they are 67.

Upon reaching your age of eligibility, the amount of Government Contribution you are eligible for in that year will be pro-rated. If for example, you reached the age of eligibility halfway through the KiwiSaver year, you would only be eligible to receive half of the Government Contribution.

To receive the maximum entitlement of $521 you'll need to have made personal contributions of $1043 for the KiwiSaver year starting July 1st and ending June 30th, have been in KiwiSaver for a full 12 months and be living in New Zealand. 

Please note that any government contributions received for periods you were living overseas will be paid back to Inland Revenue at the time of withdrawal or closure of your KiwiSaver account.

 

Q:Who is allowed to join KiwiSaver?

KiwiSaver is for anyone between ages 0 to 65. You need to be 18 years or older to qualify for the member tax credits and also to have contributed a minimum of $1,042.86 to receive the full potential credit of $521. This needs to be complete prior to July 1st each year. You must also be a permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand to take advantage of KiwiSaver.

Q:How can I get my money out of KiwiSaver?

KiwiSaver was established as a longterm retirement savings vehicle, as such it is a locked-in facility to prevent savers from raiding their funds. Nonetheless, there are four conditions whereby funds can be accessed before age 65. This includes buying your first home, leaving the country permanently, suffering serious illness and financial hardship. These conditions are detailed in full on the Government's KiwiSaver website here. If you are applying for any of these, you will need to send us a request and we will supply you with a form to get the process started. 

Q:How can I check my balance?

Once you are a member of KiwiSaver you will have instant online access to your balance. You can also check your balance via the IRD's KiwiSaver website if you have registered for online services. 

Through our web app you can also change funds, you can increase or reduce your contributions,  you can check your returns, fees and tax rate. 

Q:How do I withdraw my KiwiSaver money to buy a house?

If you are planning to use your funds for the purchase of a first-time home, Simplicity is an excellent vehicle for saving because of low fees will help increase your savings.

Provided you’ve been in KiwiSaver for a minimum of three years, you are eligible for withdraw some of your funds.  You can withdraw everything that you’ve contributed, your employer has contributed as well as Government contributions and investment returns however you are required to leave a minimum of $1,000 in the account.

Once you have made an offer on a house, you should notify us as soon as possible. We will send you a form to complete to get the process started. Funds are released to your solicitor when the sale of the house goes unconditional so make sure you understand the timing when funds are required either for the deposit or settlement. Please have all the completed paperwork back to us at info@simplicity.kiwi at least 10 working days before the funds are required. This gives us time to ensure all the paperwork is in order and for our team to process the application.

We highly recommend you look at the conditions of first time home withdrawals on the Government KiwiSaver website so you know what to expect and also so you can understand how KiwiSaver may be used in conjunction with the Home Start grant. 

Q:What is the HomeStart grant and how does it work?

If you qualify for a first time home withdrawal in KiwiSaver you may also be eligible as well for The HomeStart grant worth $1,000 for each year of contribution to the scheme up to a maximum of five:

  • 3 years = $3,000 (minimum)

  • 4 years = $4,000

  • 5 years = $5,000 (maximum)

 

Please note that to qualify for the Home Start grant the minimum amount required to be paid into KiwiSaver has increased to $21.24 a week (3 per cent of $17.70 minimum wage times 40 hours) or $1104.48 a year.

This is more than the $1042 required for the tax credit so if you're on minimum wage working 40 hours a week and planning to buy a first time home using KiwiSaver you'll need to pay at least $21.24 for the purposes of receiving the Home Start grant. 

If you are purchasing a new home, a property bought off the plans or land to build a new home on, the HomeStart grant is $2,000 for each year of contribution to the scheme with a minimum and maximum.

If you are purchasing land to build a new home on, there is a maximum amount the combined land and new home can cost.

  • 3 years = $6,000 (minimum)

  • 4 years = $8,000

  • 5 years = $10,000 (maximum)

There are some eligibility requirements so please contact Housing New Zealand to get the facts straight before you make an offer if it’s contingent on these extra funds. Call  0800 801 601


Please note that KiwiSaver disbursements are typically made at the time a home purchase closes therefore the money is not usually available up front for a deposit if you are required to make one. This is something to discuss with your realtor, broker and or bank and solicitor if you are having to borrow on that money up front.

Q:How do I apply for a financial hardship claim?

Please send us a request under the hardship claim. Be aware that you will need to provide evidence that you are suffering financially to qualify for this facility. Among the criteria to qualify, you will have to prove that you are:

  • Unable to meet minimum living expenses

  • Unable to meet mortgage repayments on the home you live in

  • Modifying your home to meet special needs related to a disability by yourself or a dependant.

  • Costs related to payment for medical treatment required by you or a dependent family member.

  • Suffering a serious illness.
  • Funeral costs if a dependent family member dies. 

To read more on Hardship, please refer to the Government's KiwiSaver website section on early access and financial hardship. 

Q:How can I apply for a serious illness claim?

If you have an illness, injury or disability that permanently affects your ability to work or poses a risk of death, you may be eligible to withdraw your KiwiSaver funds early. You can withdraw the total funds in your account including:

  •  Your contributions

  • Your employer’s contributions

  • The $1,000 kickstart if you were eligible

  • Any member tax credits

In the first three months of memberships contact Inland Revenue. After the first three months, apply through Simplicity.

To read more on serious illness, please refer to the Government's KiwiSaver website section on serious illness. 

Q:Moving overseas permanently

Where are you moving?

If you are moving to Australia, you are not allowed to withdraw your KiwiSaver funds. You can either leave your funds in place or else transfer them to a complying superannuation scheme in Australia.

For those permanently emigrating to other countries you must wait one year to withdraw your funds. You will be required to provide documentary evidence of such a move including airline tickets, proof of employement and proof of address in the country you’ve moved to.

To read more about the conditions and obligations for early withdrawal under a permanent overseas move application, please refer to the Government's KiwiSaver website section here.  

Q:Can I switch funds?

Yes you will have the facility to switch funds online along with some nifty calculators and tools to forecast your financial future. You will be granted access to those once you are a member of Simplicity.

Q:What makes Simplicity unique?

Simplicity is a nonprofit retirement savings vehicle which charges members only what it costs to deliver. We are able to do this because it’s 100% online, i.e. we have no shiny head offices, branches or commissions.

Q:Who makes up Simplicity?

Simplicity NZ Ltd is 100% owned by The Simplicity Charitable Trust. All trustees and directors provide their services pro-bono.

Simplicity’s Directors are:

Sam Stubbs - Manager Director, Ex CEO Tower Investments

Anna Tierney, Ex forensic auditor Serious Fraud Office

Mel Hewitson,  Board member with Heritage Trustee Company, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Maia, Foundation North, Centre for Social Impact and Auckland Foundation. 

Shamubeel Eaqub, economist, author, commentator

Reuben Halper, Agency Lead at Google New Zealand

Joy Marslin, Ex-Head of Private Wealth, Westpac

 

It’s Trustees are:

Marisa Fong, Entrepreneur, Co-founder TBC Partners

Peter Neilson, Ex Finance Minister, CEO Financial Services Council

Michelle Boag, Director at Boag Allan SVG Ltd

Jenene Crossan, Founder and CEO of Flossie

Sam Stubbs, Ex CEO Tower Investments

Rachel Taylor, Partner DLA Piper

Scobie Ward, Co-founder and CEO of Ward Ferry

Chris Chamberlin, Worldbank economist & sector manager 

 

Q:Does it operate like every other KiwiSaver Plan?

Yes, we are a fully fledged, fully authorised and licensed KiwiSaver provider, just like the others.  The big difference is we are nonprofit and we are offering the product at cost to you.

Q:How is the business funded?

The business, in its formative years, will be funded by Managing Director Sam Stubbs. Key positions are staffed by salaried employees, with many volunteers helping out too.

Q:Where are my funds invested?

We intend for each fund to have over 3,000 investments in 23 countries.  All overseas investments will be managed by Vanguard. Domestic investments will be shares and bonds in the local indexes (eg the NZX50) and managed by Simplicity’s investment team including Managing Director Sam Stubbs and Chief Operating Officer Andrew Lance.

Q:How much will I pay in fees?

We charge a membership fee of $30 a year, plus a fund management fee of 0.30%. For kids, we waive the $30 a year membership fee. That includes KiwiSaver accounts and investment fund accounts for those under 18. 

Our Guaranteed Income Fund charges an additional fee of 1.31%, which allows us to insure the guaranteed income for as long you live. 

Q:What difference will it make to me?

This depends on how long you are invested, how much you contribute, what fund you are invested in and also market conditions. However, we can make some reasonable assumptions:

Based on a person saving over 45 years, with a 6% contribution rate (based on a salary of $47,000 rising at 1% per annum), invested in a growth fund, paying a prescribed investor rate of 17.5%, we believe the average KiwiSaver will be $65,000 better off.

Q:What’s the hitch?

No hitch. Simplicity’s founders, employees, and volunteers care passionately about New Zealanders and their security in retirement. We want Kiwis to be better off in retirement so they can enjoy some extra perks and so we can collectively support the good work charities do. To ensure this remains the case, Simplicity is a nonprofit company owned 100% by a Charitable Trust. See our concept video on YouTube here. 

Q:How does the Charitable side of Simplicity work?

Simplicity intends to give 15% of its annual management fee to the Simplicity Charitable Trust. Based on our current fees and our growth assumptions, if Simplicity has 10% of KiwiSaver market share in 2030, $10m can be paid in charitable donations every year.

Q:How safe is my money with Simplicity?

Simplicity is a licensed KiwiSaver scheme regulated by the Financial Markets Authority. When you invest in any KiwiSaver Scheme, the manager does not get any of the money (apart from any fees it charges you).  The money goes into the Scheme’s bank account controlled by the Scheme’s Supervisor.  In our case that is Public Trust.  Your money is then invested in shares and bonds that are owned by the Scheme and you become a member of the Scheme.  In the case of the Simplicity KiwiSaver Scheme, we manage the Scheme for you and Public Trust makes sure that we are managing the Scheme’s investments in line with the rules and regulations set out in the Scheme’s documents.  If for any reason Simplicity were to run into difficulties, your investments would not be affected.  The Scheme’s investments would be transferred to another manager.

We manage the New Zealand bonds and shares that we buy for the Scheme, while the international shares and bonds are managed by Vanguard, but the investments are owned by the Scheme, not by us or Vanguard.

KiwiSaver is not a Government guaranteed investment therefore it is no different from other investments, including bank deposits.

Q:Why do my returns change?

Depending on which fund you are invested in, returns can move up and down frequently. That's because of market movements. Sometimes the markets are up, sometimes they are down. With KiwiSaver being a longterm investment scheme, you need to remember that returns smooth out over a period of time. 

Q:How do we invest?

All of Simplicity's funds (conservative, balanced and growth) are now invested in a product developed by our international asset manager Vanguard that uses a negative screen. The Vanguard International Shares Select Exclusion Index Fund (NZD hedged class)  excludes tobacco, nuclear weapons, and landmines manufacturers. To read more on the holdings in the funds, please see Vanguard's Fact Sheet here.

Q:How can I sign my kids up to Simplicity?

You can sign your children up the same way everyone joins through our online joining form here.  You will need some extra documentation however including your child or children's IRD numbers and their birth certificates. 

Q:What is your expected rate of return?

Our one year rates of return are available on our website for each KiwiSaver fund we offer.

Click here to see our Funds Page, and choose the fund type you're interested in seeing. The returns are shown within each update and they're refreshed each quarter.

 

 

Q:How can I pay into my KiwiSaver account?

If you are self-employed or perhaps making a payment on behalf of someone, you can make those directly into the Simplicity Account.

Once you are a member of Simplicity, you will receive access to our web app which gives you further instruction on making direct payments. You can also find our bank details on your welcome email.

To make a deposit into a KiwiSaver account please transfer the funds into our bank account 01-1839-0816624-00 (account name: Simplicity KS Applications) with the following information:

Particulars:       Surname
Code:              (Blank)
Reference:        IRD #

If we receive a deposit without the required references, it will be returned to your account. Deposits are invested into your account when they are received on our bank statement, but it takes 3-4 working days for them to show on your account.

If you have been in KiwiSaver for less than 12 months you are not entitled to the full government contribution. If you have made contributions to your account (i.e employee or voluntary contributions) you will receive a government contribution that is pro-rated based on the number of days you have been a member of KiwiSaver. This calculation is based on when IRD record you as being a member of KiwiSaver, not when you completed your application.


Members who are under 18 years of age are not eligible for government contributions.


The government contribution ceases when the member reaches the age of eligibility for NZ Super (currently 65) or when they have been a member for 5 years, whichever is the later. 

Q:What happens when I reach 65?

Eligibility to receive the Government Contribution ceases at of age 65 or five years after joining the scheme, whichever is later. For example, if someone joins at age 62, they will be eligible to receive the Government Contribution until they are 67.

Upon reaching your age of eligibility, the amount of Government Contribution you are eligible for in that year will be pro-rated. If for example, you reached the age of eligibility halfway through the KiwiSaver year, you would only be eligible to receive half of the Government Contribution.

You can also stay invested in KiwiSaver and continue to make regular or lump sum contributions. If you'd like to draw down on your KiwiSaver fund, we will require some documentation on your part to set up the withdrawal process. Please inquire with us directly.

 

 

Q:Can I transfer my Aussie Super to Simplicity?

The steps are easily laid out here on the Australian Tax Office website. But these are the highlights below:

Transfers to New Zealand

If you're planning to move permanently or indefinitely to New Zealand, you may transfer your retirement savings from a participating Australian super fund to a New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme.

You may only transfer retirement savings between a complying APRA-regulated superannuation fund and a KiwiSaver scheme.

You will need a New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number to transfer your retirement savings to a KiwiSaver scheme.

You can use a statutory declaration, declared and witnessed in New Zealand, to prove you have permanently emigrated to New Zealand.

Please note that once your Aussie funds are transferred into KiwiSaver they can't form part of a first home withdrawal however they can be accessed earlier than 65 in accordance with Australian regulations. 

Q:Transferring from a QROP

If you are thinking about transferring money from your UK pension fund back to New Zealand, make sure you have all the facts before making your decision. KiwiSaver is no longer QROPs compliant and can incur a tax penalty from the U.K government of 50% or more. 

We highly recommend you consult a tax consultant first. Or for more information, please see the Financial Markets Authorities note on transferring U.K. pension funds here.

https://fma.govt.nz/consumers/kiwisaver/transferring-uk-pension-funds/

Q:What's my PIR rate?

Your Prescribed Investor Rate (PIR) is rate of tax that you pay on the money earned from your KiwiSaver investment and other managed funds that are a PIE (Portfolio Investment Entity).

How much you pay depends on your income for the last 2 years and also the amount of income on your investments in PIE(s).  Most people do not have enough money invested in PIEs to change their PIR bracket. If you do earn significant PIE income, please refer to Inland Revenue’s website  PIR rates here.

For most people, if you are a salary or wage earner your PIR level is as follows:

If, in either of the previous two income tax years, your taxable income was $14,000 or less, your PIR is 10.5%.

If, in either of the previous two income tax years, your taxable income was between $14,001 and 48,000, your PIR is 17.5%.

If, in both of the two previous income years, your taxable income was $48,001 or more, your PIR is 28%.

You’re required to update your PIR rate, as it changes, with the IRD. To update your PIR, you can inform us, or inform the IRD directly.



Q:How does the member web app work?

Great question. The web app is one of Simplicity's best features. It's a place to get engaged, informed and excited about your retirement savings.

We've uploaded a demonstration here of how the web app works in practical terms, its features and functionality. Enjoy!

 

Q:What's the benefit of being hedged to the NZD?
Q:How to lodge a complaint

If you have any issues or concerns about your investment, please contact us: info@simplicity.kiwi If for any reason Simplicity is not able to resolve the matter, you can also contact the Public Trust at: Public Trust Corporate Trustee Services Level 9, 34 Shortland Street P O Box 1598 Shortland Street Auckland 1140 Phone: +64 9 985 5300 Email: enquiry@publictrust.co.nz If Simplicity or the Supervisor are unable to resolve your complaint, you can complain to Financial Services Complaints Ltd (FSCL). They can be contacted at: Complaint Investigation Officer Level 4 101 Lambton Quay PO Box 5697 Wellington 6145 Phone: 0800 347 257

Q:Are your funds ethically invested?

Our business is ultimately a social enterprise, thus investing responsibly is an important issue for us and our members. Although our investment policy means that the Funds may have an investment in any company whose securities are a constituent of the index our funds are following, the indices for the Vanguard international share fund and the Vanguard international bond fund that we use specifically exclude investments in companies with significant involvement in the following activities:

  • Fossil fuel extraction
  • Alcohol
  • Gambling and casinos
  • Military weapons
  • Civilian firearms
  • Nuclear power
  • Adult entertainment

We exclude securities issued by companies significantly involved in those activities from any investments we control directly, such as the New Zealand share investments and we are working with Vanguard on an Australian share index fund that has the same exclusions. We also focus on areas of social responsibility where we can have a constructive involvement e.g. donating 15% of our management fee to charities and being an activist shareholder in those New Zealand companies we invest in.

Q:How does the Government contribution work?

To get the maximum $521 from the Government you need to:

  • be over 18 and under 65 and
  • have been in any KiwiSaver scheme for 12 months; and
  • live in New Zealand; and
  • have paid at least $1,043 ($20 a week) into your KiwiSaver account between July 1st, 2018, and June 30th, 2019.
  • Your employer contributions don't count, it's what you paid that matters.

If you don't meet all these criteria, you might still be eligible for some Government contribution. 

If you join KiwiSaver, turn 18 or become eligible for retirement withdrawals part way through the year, you’ll still get an annual Government contribution proportional to the time you’ve been eligible.

NOTE:

Employer contributions, government contributions and amounts transferred from Australia under the Trans-Tasman retirement savings portability agreement do not count toward the eligibility for the credit. 

Once a member has been in KiwiSaver for five years and is over 65, the Government contributions will cease. 

If you have withdrawn funds for a First Home Withdrawal during the KiwiSaver year, so long as you are eligible to receive a member tax credit and have contributed the minimum of $1,042.86 you are entitled to either a full or partial government contribution.

 Please note that any government contributions received for periods you were living overseas will be paid back to Inland Revenue at the time of withdrawal or closure of your KiwiSaver account.

 

 
Q:How to find out if you've made enough contributions

There are a couple of ways to find out if you have contributed enough to receive the Government Contribution.

Firstly, please note that only employee contributions and voluntary contributions count towards the government's contribution.

The best place to start is by contacting IRD or using the My IR section on the IRD website and login to your account to view all the transactions.

If you have transferred to Simplicity during the year, Inland Revenue will hold the information about contributions from your pay so you can review the information here.  Your previous provider will pass on information to us about any voluntary contributions you have made directly to them during the year.  You don't need to do anything, all this information will form part of the claim we make on your behalf after the end of the KiwiSaver year

Generally speaking, if you have been in KiwiSaver for at least 12 months, live in New Zealand, earn over $38,000 per annum and contribute at least 3% of your pay you will normally qualify for the government contribution. If you don't work or are self-employed, live in New Zealand and have been in KiwiSaver for at least 12 months and contribute at least $20 per week you will normally qualify too.  

Please note if you have made an online payment directly to Simplicity, during the KiwiSaver year (July 1-June 30th), that won't be recorded by the IRD. However, that will be viewable under your member login account under My Transactions.

 
Q:What is a savings suspension and how does it work?

A savings suspension (formerly known as a contribution holiday) allows you to take a break from KiwiSaver contributions for a period of three months up to one year. 

There's no limit to the number of times you can take a savings suspension however it can be very costly from the perspective of long-term savings for retirement. 

 All KiwiSaver members who have made a contribution and have been a member for 12 months or more can have a savings suspension. You don't need to provide a reason.

There is an exemption for those who've been in KiwiSaver for under 12 months. It's called an "early saving suspension."

You can apply for an early savings suspension if you have made a KiwiSaver contribution and you're experiencing, or likely to experience, financial hardship.

You'll need to provide evidence of financial hardship, for reasons outside your control, to support your application.

If your financial circumstances have changed for reasons within your control or discretion, your application may not be accepted.

To apply for a savings suspension you can:

  • apply online if you're registered for My KiwiSaver, or
  • print off and complete a Savings suspension request (KS6) and post it to Inland Revenue (address details are on the form), or
  • call Inland Revenue on:
    • 0800 549 472 (0800 KIWISAVER).