Free money: How to avoid missing out on an easy $521 boost to your KiwiSaver account

  • 24/05/2023
  • Sponsored by - Milford
Free money: How to avoid missing out on an easy $521 boost to your KiwiSaver account
Photo credit: Getty Images

It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true: every year, New Zealanders fail to secure hundreds of millions of dollars of free money from the Government.

That’s because they're not making the most of one of the simplest benefits of KiwiSaver, the Government contribution, which is available to most Kiwis aged 18-65 living in New Zealand.

Here’s how it works: for every $1 you put into your KiwiSaver (up to $1042.86), the Government sweetens the deal by throwing another $0.50 into your account.

That means that so long as you put $1,042.86 or more into your KiwiSaver between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023, you get an extra $521.43 placed into your KiwiSaver account – no questions asked.

Milford KiwiSaver financial adviser Liam Robertson says it’s a fantastic benefit, and essentially a risk-free 50 percent return on investment.

"I'd encourage all KiwiSaver members to check they've contributed enough to receive the full amount, and if they’re unsure, they should contact either their KiwiSaver provider or Inland Revenue.

"I appreciate that for those that may not have made any contributions, it can be very difficult to find $1000+ at short notice. But it is worth considering that any contribution up to $1042.86, no matter how small, will still be matched by the Government at 50 cents on the dollar."

Common KiwiSaver mistakes to avoid

Having recently won the Consumer People’s Choice KiwiSaver Plan for the sixth year in a row, Milford is ahead of the game when it comes to helping Kiwis make the most of their KiwiSaver.

Making the right decisions on managing your KiwiSaver now can set you up for a comfortable retirement. But Robertson says there are a couple of common errors that are leaving some Kiwis with limited choices when they stop working.

The first is taking on too much risk.

"Investors can often end up in a difficult position when markets are volatile, pushing them out of their comfort zone. This leads to pressure to exit the market (switch to a lower risk fund) at the wrong time, crystallising their losses."

But there's a flip side to this; Robertson says many other KiwiSaver customers are too risk-averse, leaving a lot of potential returns on the table.

He gives the example of a 35-year-old with a $20,000 balance, who earns $55,000 a year and contributes 3 percent of their income to KiwiSaver.

If they were to invest in a Conservative Fund averaging returns of 3 percent p.a. that person would end up with $260,000 at retirement. But if they invested instead in a Growth Fund averaging 6 percent p.a. they would end up with $456,000.

That's a difference of $196,000.

"That's a conservative estimate, and the latest Morningstar Report shows that the average Growth Fund returned 8 percent p.a. over the previous 10 years," Robertson explains.

"We would therefore expect the difference to be much more. However, it demonstrates the importance of investing appropriately and receiving advice."

Another common mistake KiwiSaver investors make is to contribute too little, Robertson says, which is often because they don’t have a goal or plan in place.

When they eventually do set a goal – be it saving for a first home, or retirement – they don’t have enough time to take advantage of compounding returns and are required to make large contributions that are often not possible, leaving them off track toward reaching their goal.

"Contributing early, little, and often, is the easiest way to achieve a goal over the long term."

Milford's 20 years of excellence

Robertson says one of the best things Kiwis can do to avoid falling into these common traps is to seek financial advice, which is more accessible than ever and often free to obtain.

When it comes to managing KiwiSaver and your other assets, it's difficult to look further than Milford – a proudly New Zealand and staff-owned business with a strong alignment of interest with its clients.

All Milford staff invest their KiwiSaver with the company, and any other investments outside of KiwiSaver must also be within a Milford Fund, so customers can be confident Milford is doing all it can to maximise their investment.

While Milford can’t forward-promise investment returns, and past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance, it’s a formula that has worked well so far.

As well as its flurry of Consumer People’s Choice Awards, Milford was this year named the Overall New Zealand Fund Manager of the Year (for the third successive year) and KiwiSaver Fund Manager of the Year (for the second year in a row) by Morningstar.

Robertson says the secret to Milford’s success across two decades lies in its commitment to doing one thing really well.

"Milford has specialised in funds management for nearly 20 years – it's all we do," Robertson says.

"We don't have other arms to our business such as lending, credit cards or insurance, and our success has been built on doing this to a high standard over a long period of time.

"We are active fund managers and don’t outsource our investing decisions to a third party. Instead, we have a large, in-house investment team of circa 40 analysts based in Auckland and Sydney whose sole focus is generating the best results possible for our clients."

To learn more about Milford's award-winning KiwiSaver Plan, visit

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide you with general information only. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Milford Funds Limited is the issuer of the Milford KiwiSaver Plan. Please read the Milford KiwiSaver Plan Product Disclosure Statement at Before investing you may wish to seek financial advice. For more information about Milford's financial advice services visit Financial Advice Disclosure Statements for all Milford Financial Advisers are available on request free of charge. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Article created in partnership with Milford