Could April's KiwiSaver changes see fees slashed?

If you've got KiwiSaver, you could be in for a bit of a shock when your next statement arrives.

Starting on Sunday, providers will be forced tell customers how much they charge to manage retirements funds - in a dollar amount. It's hoped the change will see fees cut.

"We think they might really be surprised, and that number is going to look a lot more meaningful in dollar amounts than it did when it was just percentages," says Liam Mason, director of regulation at Financial Markets Authority NZ.

Those in for the biggest shock are the people who have been in the scheme for the longest.

"As your balance goes, that dollar fee will go up," says David Boyle, of the Commission for Financial Capability.

So, how much could you be paying? Someone contributing to KiwiSaver since the beginning is likely to have about a year's salary saved.

So if you've got $50,000, and you're paying the average fee of 1.27 percent, you're paying $635 in fees.

The long-term impact of that will come as a pretty big shock.

"The average New Zealander will spend $54,000 in KiwiSaver fees in their lifetime," says Sam Stubbs from Simplicity.

So are those fees fair?

"Higher fees don't necessarily mean you're going to get better returns over time," says Mr Mason.

It's hoped having that dollar figure clearly displayed on your statement will lead to more competition between providers and lower fees.

"That may create a little more tension, and perhaps reason or rationale and reason for those providers to start reducing those fees over time," Mr Boyle says.

Aside from shopping around for the best deal, there is one other thing. The Commission for Financial Capability says the most important thing you can do is to make sure you're in the right fund for your age - and you can figure that out by using its online tool, Fund finder.