As published in NZ Herald, Hawke's Bay Today.
Deadlines can bring out our best work. Why is that? There's something about being under the pump that makes us rise to the occasion and simply get it done.
We just find a way somehow.
This time of year - before June runs out - is the deadline to get the annual $521 from the government into our KiwiSaver accounts. It would be great if we could all look at our situations - and consider those around us who may be missing out on the practically free money. If they're over 18, we might even help them top up their accounts so they get the most they can.
So many of us get the full amount that it's a shame for anyone to miss out what's due to them. And over the life of someone's experience in KiwiSaver, we calculated the government payments could be worth as much as $36,000. Now there's a chunk of change for you.
How to get your government money this year
The trick is to make sure that we've contributed at least $1,043 into our KiwiSaver account over the past year. (If you joined part-way through or turned 18 during the year, you'll be eligible for some portion of the $521, based on when you did. Everyone else can get the full five hundy.)
If you're an employee and earned at least $34,762 and contributed the minimum of 3%, you'll automatically get it. If you're self-employed and have already put in more than $1,043, you will too. No worries.
But if you haven't yet reached $1,043 this year, now's the time. Before the end of June, you can top up your contributions to that amount so you get the government boost. Simply contact your scheme provider and make it happen. Just in time to make the deadline.
And typically by the middle of August, we'll all see that extra $521 hit our accounts. Sweet.
How to make sure you'll get it next year
If you miss this deadline and don't manage to put in the full amount, you'll still get 50 cents for every dollar you did put in. That's worth something. But let's look ahead to next year.
The KiwiSaver year runs from July to June, so this coming July is a chance to reset our finances to make sure we're on track to for next time. If we set things up right, we can easily be on the money in June 2018.
Over a year, putting in $1,043 works out to slightly more than $20 per week, which is far more manageable than having to come up with the whole amount just before the deadline.
Automatic payments directly into our KiwiSaver accounts are our best friends here, allowing us to forget all about it and let it run on autopilot. Contact your provider to make this happen.
Out of sight, out of mind. And when next year's deadline rolls around, we'll all be ready.
- Source: New Zealand Herald