Talk Money with Tony Field – November 9, 2015


It's no secret that for most people there will be a gap between what they spend in retirement and the amount they receive in Government Superannuation payments.

But a new report says the gap is growing. It has been released by Westpac Massey University Fin-Ed Centre in conjunction with Workplace Savings.

It found that a single person living in a city faces a shortfall of $115 per week if they are living a "no-frills" lifestyle. That's because they will receive $374.53 per week from the Superannuation, but are likely to spend $489.77 each week.

If they want some treats, like sirloin steak, or a nice meal out with friends, they will spend face a $379 per week shortfall.

The gap is even larger for a single person living in a provincial area who wants to enjoy a few treats. They face a shortfall of $407 per week.

Massey University says the only group that can typically get by on New Zealand Superannuation alone are two-person households in metropolitan areas who live a "no-frills" lifestyle.

The author of the report, Dr Claire Matthews, says most people will need to supplement their pension with savings or additional income.

"Given the current New Zealand Superannuation payment for a single person living alone is just $374.53 per week, it quickly becomes apparent that retirees need additional income to survive. That's even the case when spending is limited to the essentials, the shortfall quickly widens if you want a more comfortable lifestyle.

"When the guidelines talk about a 'choices' lifestyle, it's not about being extravagant. It just means not having to watch every cent and being able to enjoy some treats from time to time - things like going out for a meal, not buying the cheapest cuts of meat, doing some travel, or going to the movies or theatre."

How much you need to save depends on the lifestyle you want to live.

The report says that calculations using the Sorted website's retirement planning calculator suggested a lump sum of $111,255 would be needed by a single person living in a metro area wanting a no frills lifestyle, while a couple in a provincial area wanting a no frills lifestyle would need $98,832.

But a couple living in a city might need around half a million dollars in KiwiSaver if they want to have some choices in their retirement.

Something else to think about is whether you are renting, or own your own home. If you own your home is it mortgage-free? These factors have an impact on the required savings or the income you will need.

About $500,000 might sound daunting. But it is doable, especially if you start saving in your 20s and 30s. The effects of compounding have a huge impact on savings and investments. Even in your 40s, 50s or early 60s it is not too late to start saving. Every little bit helps.

The savings calculator can be found here.

The New Zealand Retirement Expenditure Guidelines 2015 report can be found here.

The New Zealand dollar starts the week down by as much as 3 percent from a week ago.

It was trading at $92.55 Australian cents at 8am, down around 2.4 percent from the start of last week.

The NZ dollar was 65.14 US cents. The Kiwi lost 3 last week against the American dollar.

The Kiwi was sitting at 43.26 Pence, after losing 1.3 percent in value last week.

The dollar was 80.25 Japanese Yen and 60.66 Euro cents.

World share markets had a good week and the New Zealand market did better than most.

The NZX 50 gained 1.4 percent. That compares to a gain of 1 percent for the S&P500. European markets gained around 1.2 percent.

The Australian and British markets were narrowly down.

So, once again, the country that wins the Rugby World Cup saw its share market gain value in the week after the Final.

Gold starts the week at US$1089 per ounce.

West Texas crude oil is trading at US$45.32 a barrel.

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