How I want to retire: Andrew Leusink

Andrew Leusink
Andrew Leusink

Retirement. It’s where we’re all headed, but planning for it is often put on the back burner.

In this three-part series, Newshub chats to everyday Kiwis about how they want to live when they retire: their assets, goals and how much money they think they’ll need. We will focus on people at three distinct life stages – an ambitious go-getter in the prime of their career, a young couple early in their savings journey, and lastly someone winding down into their retirement.

This month, Andrew Leusink, a full-time business development manager in his early forties in the IT industry shares how he sees his life in retirement. At the end, a short analysis by Andrew’s KiwiSaver provider Milford looks at whether his KiwiSaver savings are currently on track.

Hearing other peoples’ stories can be helpful for informing decisions and providing inspiration to move forward. But we also encourage you to think about your own goals - and get financial advice.

KiwiSaver member profile: Andrew Leusink, full-time IT business development manager

1. What are your retirement goals and what age would you like to retire?

In retirement, I want to be financially independent. I don’t want to have to worry about money.  

In addition to KiwiSaver, I recently set up a separate investment fund. 

I plan to use this fund to either retire at 60 and fund me through to 65 when I can take out my KiwiSaver savings, or to pay off debt.

I want to pay off my properties by 65, then either cash up or keep them and live off the rental income.

2. How important is it to save for retirement?

I think it’s extremely important to plan for the retirement you want. I don’t think it’s something people talk enough about.

For me, hopefully that’s being able to retire at 60, doing more travel and spending time with family overseas. 

I’ve always had this dream of starting in one country, staying as long as I want and then just carrying on.

3. How much money do you think you’ll need in retirement and why?

As a starting point, I think it’s useful to think about whether you want to continue the lifestyle you have now or to improve it - and talk to trusted friends about their goals. 

My goal is to maintain my current lifestyle. I have a long time ahead of me, so to achieve this, I think I’d need between $3 million and $5 million in assets (derived from KiwiSaver, the separate investment fund and property).

Based on a five percent overall return, if it was $3 million would give me $150,000 per year (just under $3000 per week).  

At the $5 million mark, it would be $250,000 per year (just under $5000 per week) but remember that inflation will impact that amount, so it isn’t as massive a number as it seems in today’s dollars.

KiwiSaver would need to make up around half of my retirement savings, at $1.5 million.

4. When did you start KiwiSaver and what are your main goals?

As I was aiming for a big nest-egg I knew I had to start early. I started KiwiSaver soon after it started in 2007 and moved my KiwiSaver fund to Milford around 2014.

My main goal is to see my KiwiSaver balance grow. 

My main piece of advice to people is not to stick with your default fund unless you’re sure it’s right for you.

If you’re young and don’t need to use KiwiSaver to buy a first home, you can afford to be adventurous.  Be as aggressive as you can in terms of the fund you’re in.

Obviously there’s a bit of risk with an aggressive fund - things can go up and down - I find that quite exciting. But that depends on your appetite for risk.

One of the things I love about Milford is their app. It lets me stay up to date with how my investments are tracking. 

5. Have you got any other investments outside of KiwiSaver?

I have a separate managed fund, the property I live in and rental properties.

6. Have you ever sought financial advice and if so, what did you learn? What would you change?

I think it’s great to seek professional financial advice if you think you need to.

My KiwiSaver provider (Milford) has given me financial advice and has been amazing in terms of talking to me about my goals.

But I also think it’s really important to talk to trusted friends and see what other people are doing.

The first thing I’d change is to move out of my default KiwiSaver fund sooner. 

I also wish I had set up the separate investment fund earlier, as the earlier you start saving, the more potential there is for the amount to grow. 

I’m super grateful that we have KiwiSaver now, as earlier generations didn’t - they’re relying on NZ Super.

7. How confident are you with your investments?

I’m relatively confident. But as to what will happen with property and investment markets in the future is uncertain - it’s certainly an exciting space to be in and to be watching.

8. What would you say to other KiwiSaver members, and those starting out?

  • Start KiwiSaver as early as you can and put as much in as you can afford. This is especially true if you’re saving a house deposit (i.e. planning to use the KiwiSaver first home withdrawal).

  • Do your research regarding providers and funds - don’t stick with a default KiwiSaver fund unless your research shows it’s right for you. It’s pretty easy to find information on the internet. 

  • Be aggressive when you’re young.

One of the things I love about KiwiSaver is, as with a mortgage, it’s effectively forced saving - something I’ve never been good at. With KiwiSaver, you can’t touch it.

The Milford App
The Milford App

The Milford team's projection: Are Andrew’s KiwiSaver savings on track?

We agree it’s very important to plan for retirement. For some, it can seem quite far away. Regardless of your age or KiwiSaver balance, it’s important to set goals and review these regularly to ensure you stay on track.

Andrew certainly appears to be on track and has put a great plan in place to help achieve his retirement goal. It’s important to note that everyone’s goal will be different and therefore the amount you may need in retirement will vary. It’s encouraging that data from Massey University shows you don’t need millions to enjoy your retirement. Massey’s 2019 study estimates that for a two-person metro household to fund a ‘no frills’ retirement they would need about $261,000 and for a ‘choices’ retirement they would need about $790,000 - for a provincial household, the lump sum needed decreases even further. These estimates assume the household is receiving NZ Super from the Government.

It’s fantastic to see Andrew has thought about when he would like to retire and the type of lifestyle he would like to live. This is a great first step for anyone thinking ‘where do I start?’. Like Andrew, you may want to continue with your current lifestyle, or another option is to create a budget of the day-to-day expenses you expect to have in retirement and use this as a base. Keeping in mind these may change from your current spending.

The next step is thinking about ‘where will this income come from?’. Andrew has thought through the big picture and has considered his KiwiSaver, property (rental income) and a separate investment fund account. It’s a smart move having an investment outside of KiwiSaver if you’d like to consider retiring before age 65. An Investment Fund provides flexible access to your money, whilst still being professionally managed, much like a KiwiSaver account. It’s great to see that Andrew is aware KiwiSaver makes up a portion of his retirement savings and has set a separate goal in achieving this portion of his retirement income.

We note Andrew hasn’t taken into account NZ Superannuation. For those approaching 65, we would generally suggest factoring in these payments during retirement. If you are 20 or more years out from retiring, it may be beneficial not to factor this in; and if NZ Super is still around, those payments will be a bonus!

Andrew is a confident and well-informed investor. His 'aggressive' approach is something he is clearly comfortable with. For others that may be the case too, however everyone’s appetite for risk is different. At Milford, we offer access to Milford KiwiSaver Advisers to help clients get on track for retirement. For those who are clients of Milford KiwiSaver, we also have Digital Advice available. This online tool takes into account your investment timeframe and attitude to risk (willingness to accept ups and down in the value of your KiwiSaver) to determine the best Milford KiwiSaver Fund for you. It will also factor in your KiwiSaver goal to see how your contributions combined with our recommended fund are tracking towards your goal. 

Andrew also discussed finding a KiwiSaver provider and fund to suit you. There are plenty of KiwiSaver providers available, so you’ll want to find one who can help get you on track for retirement, provide transparent reporting and invest alongside you to deliver great investment outcomes.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the interview participant are his own views and do not necessarily represent the views of Milford. This article is intended to provide general information about things to think about in relation to KiwiSaver. It does not take into account your investment needs or personal circumstances. Before making any financial decisions, you may wish to seek independent financial advice. The disclosure statements of all Milford Financial Advisers contain more information and are available on request free of charge. Read the Milford KiwiSaver Plan Product Disclosure Statement as issued by Milford Funds Limited at milfordasset.com. Please note, past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

This article was created for Milford