In July, the Retirement Income Interest Group published a report giving new insights into how KiwiSaver savings are distributed across the New Zealand pre-retirement population. The report used new analysis from a sample of KiwiSaver accounts held by people aged 45 and older. This is the first data science analysis of individual KiwiSaver accounts that we are aware of, and was made possible by six leading providers (covering 40% of the market) confidentially entrusting their data to RIIG as a non-competitive, independent group.
The report sets the scene for a planned follow-up report which will look at how much retirees could have in their KiwiSaver fund for future decumulation, and what the policy implications of that picture are.
The key conclusions were:
- Modest KiwiSaver balances for most. There are a cluster of small KiwiSaver balances and a ‘tail’ of large balances. This means the average balance figure is not helpful information. For the majority of those currently close to retirement KiwiSaver will provide a modest supplement to other income, with the median balance for 60–64-year-olds being $38,000 for men and $31,400 for women.
- Men are more likely to have larger KiwiSaver balances than women and are significantly more likely to have the largest balances. 13% of men aged 45-64 have KiwiSaver balances of $100,000 or more, but only 6% of women do. Women are more likely to have balances of less than $50,000: 74% of women aged 45-64 compared to 64% of men.
- Investment fund choice is driven by account balance rather than gender. This data does not support the idea that women aged 45-64 are more conservative investors than men. Instead, both men and women tend to be invested in lower risk/lower return funds if they have small balances and invest more in growth assets if they have larger balances.
- Gender differences in contribution levels drive differences in account size. Men are more likely to have the largest KiwiSaver balances compared to women because men are more likely to contribute at higher levels, and total contributions are higher for men than women.