Have you come across some hardship recently? Or have you just seen a property on the market that would be ideal for a first home?
There may be something KiwiSaver can do for you, but it all depends on your circumstances. After all, KiwiSaver is committed to putting your money aside for future use.
In this blog, we cover how to withdraw from KiwiSaver early so that you can apply for homes, hardship, travel, bankruptcy and illness.
Get ready to move.
If you're thinking of moving to a first home — have you been contributing to KiwiSaver for at least three years? And can you put up at least a 5% deposit on the price of the house? That means if the house is marketed at $300,000, would you have had $15,000 to use as a deposit right now?
If not, then it may pay to have to wait a little longer. Though, doing so is in your best interests because three years isn't long, savings-wise.
However, there are rewards for waiting. Once you've contributed for long enough, you can withdraw almost all of your KiwiSaver (leaving aside at least $1000). KiwiSaver withdrawals' two-month waiting period is for those on salary or wages. You can apply immediately with your KiwiSaver provider if that's not you.
KiwiSaver isn't there to punish you if you're seriously struggling to make ends meet. You can withdraw from contributions at any time — note that there are different processes involved with withdrawing, depending on how long you've been with KiwiSaver.
Are you withdrawing in the first two months? If so, you'll need to contact the IRD for the proper forms to bring about an 'early exit'.
The process is much easier if you've been on KiwiSaver for over two months. Just contact your KiwiSaver provider (the person you signed up to KiwiSaver with) about arranging a withdrawal.
Additionally, after 12 months of KiwiSaver, you can suspend your account whenever you need, if you want a break from adding to your savings.
If you don't know your provider (and it's not always your bank), try My KiwiSaver or 0800 KiwiSaver.
What counts as a hardship?
A few things:
- You can't meet living expenses or mortgage payments.
- You need special medical treatment, or a dependent family member does.
- You're seriously ill.
- You need to modify your home for your unique needs or those of a dependent family member.
- You need to pay the funeral costs of a dependent family member.
What about if you're travelling overseas?
If you plan to live in Australia, this will come as good news. You can transfer your KiwiSaver to your Australian superannuation scheme at any point, so you don't have to lose out on your savings. However, you won't continue with KiwiSaver if you aren't planning to live in New Zealand.
The same rules apply if you're off to live anywhere else in the world. Generally, however, you'll have to wait at least a year before you can transfer your KiwiSaver due to differences in international savings schemes.
I'm currently bankrupt — can I withdraw?
If you need to file for bankruptcy, KiwiSaver might be able to help. Search for the New Zealand Insolvency and Trustee service online for more information. They'll be able to walk you through debt management types and what to do.
Some good news, though — creditors can't touch your funds while they're sitting in KiwiSaver. So it's up to you how you use want to spend that money.
If you suddenly find yourself or someone you support financially undergoing severe illness, you may withdraw from KiwiSaver early.
The same rules apply here as for hardship. You'll need to contact IRD for serious illness if you're within the first two months of membership. After that, it's all done through your KiwiSaver provider.
If you have a life-shortening congenital condition, you can contact KiwiSaver immediately, as you may need that money sooner. You won't receive any more KiwiSaver contributions, though.
The last thing — you may need to keep a hold of your medical certificates to prove you've been ill before you withdraw from your KiwiSaver.
KiwiSaver isn't there to stop you from accessing your money, but to give you the chance to save so that you can achieve your goals sooner.
If a real emergency happens, your KiwiSaver can act as a backstop. Just remember to talk to the IRD if you're within two months of beginning KiwiSaver — after that, contact your provider (you can find more by searching for the IRD online).