“Many people do not realise they cannot withdraw their KiwiSaver savings early unless they meet strict criteria,” says Insurance & Savings Ombudsman Karen Stevens.
The Insurance & Savings Ombudsman Scheme received over 40 queries and complaints last year from KiwiSaver members. “Most of our KiwiSaver queries are from people who want to withdraw their savings early and find that they can’t,” says Karen.
“The point of KiwiSaver is to help people save for their retirement, so the ability to withdraw your KiwiSaver savings before the age of 65 is very limited.”
Accessing your savings early is only possible if you are:
Buying your first home
Experiencing significant financial hardship
Experiencing serious ill-health
Moving overseas permanently
“People should always contact their KiwiSaver Scheme in the first instance. The criteria is strict and timing is important,” says Karen.
“For example, we had a recent complaint from someone who had applied to withdraw his KiwiSaver savings to help buy his first home. This was declined as the sale had been completed before his application was received. As he owned the house already, he did not meet the criteria for a home withdrawal.”