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EDITOR'S LETTER: THE PEOPLE WHO NEED KIWISAVER

This issue of JUNO is about KiwiSaver – but it’s also about people.

Kiwis have withdrawn nearly NZ$2 billion from KiwiSaver accounts to buy a first home, or to recover from financial hardship since the scheme began.

Many more are using the money to make retirement more comfortable. That’s a lot of people KiwiSaver has helped.

In this issue we look at two great success stories in particular – and at a third, heart-rending, story that we hope will
end well.

Panicking as they stood in queues for a rental property which would allow them to keep a dog, Stephanie Munro (also JUNO magazine’s digital star!) and her partner Michael finally took a deep breath and decided to buy a house instead. They withdrew their KiwiSaver account money to buy their first home.

With just the required NZ$1,000 remaining in their accounts, they’re starting again saving for retirement, but they hope to be mortgage-free by then. Read their story on page 49.

Aucklander Ace Kipa was demoralised and struggling to support his family after being made redundant – until he was able to withdraw money from his KiwiSaver account on the grounds of hardship.

The cash kept them afloat and bought him time to get another job.

Now that he’s back working in his area of expertise, and he has two other part-time jobs. He’s vowed never to be in that position again. Read his story on page 50.

But the story that stole my heart is one that, sadly, may never have a happy ending.

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell told me about the case of Tim and his mother Joan Fairhall. Tim is 39 and has Down syndrome. The average lifespan of a person with Down syndrome is just 57.

Tim would love to travel to Europe to visit his brother and to Canada to see an old friend, but he may not live long enough to withdraw his KiwiSaver at 65.

Maxwell says she can do nothing because the law currently says 65 is the date at which you can withdraw your savings. She doesn’t have the power to overrule that.

Tim’s condition isn’t life-threatening, nor is he suffering hardship. But he can’t take out the money he’s saved so carefully over many years of modestly paid work.

Politicians are the only people who can change that. I hope that a solution to Tim’s case finds its way into law, so that Kiwis like him get the same outcome as the rest of us – the chance to enjoy his money.

We hope you enjoy the JUNO KiwiSaver Scheme’s booklet, Your Guide to KiwiSaver. We’re proud of the fact that it explains your investments clearly in plain English. If you think it will help someone in your life, pass it on to them.

We’re 100 per cent behind this fantastic government initiative because KiwiSaver is for people – people like you and me.

Brenda Ward

JUNO Editor

 

Pie Funds Management Limited is the issuer of the JUNO KiwiSaver Scheme. The Product Disclosure Statement is available at junokiwisaver.co.nz.