You may be missing out on the benefits from KiwiSaver. The more informed you are as a KiwiSaver investor, the better the decisions you’ll be able to make, and this should help you to land up with a healthier retirement fund or reach that first-home deposit sooner.

So, how can you increase your KiwiSaver balance?

1. Increase your regular KiwiSaver contribution
The most obvious way to grow your KiwiSaver account balance is to put more money into your fund. Most employed KiwiSaver members contribute at the default minimum 3% of before-tax salary but this can be increased to as much as 8%. This approach is also pretty flexible as KiwiSaver allows scheme members to change their contribution rate every three months.

2. Make one-off voluntary contributions
Got a tax refund or an end of year bonus? Paying it into your KiwiSaver account is quick and easy. Simply log onto your online banking, choose the “Pay Tax” option, enter your IRD number, and enter tax types “KSS” and period “0”.

3. Escape the default fund
If you didn’t choose your fund when you enrolled in KiwiSaver, and you are still in that fund, chances are you’re in the conservative fund of a default scheme. Generally speaking, these are designed to reduce the potential for frequent and large drops in balance and are generally suitable for those looking to access their KiwiSaver funds within the next two to six years. Moving to a fund with a greater exposure to growth assets, like property and shares, should typically give a better long-term return.

4. Make sure you get a member tax credit
If you’re between 18 and 64 years old (or older if you have been a member of KiwiSaver for less than five years), then you’re entitled to an annual tax credit of up to $521.43 from the government. It’s automatic if you have personally contributed at least $1,042.86 a year (1 July to 30 June), but contact your adviser if you’re not sure.

5. Take interest in your KiwiSaver statement
It really does pay to take an active interest and keep track of your investment. Read your member statements as well as any newsletters, to get a better understanding of how and where money is being invested on your behalf. Also remember to discuss how you are tracking with your financial adviser on a regular basis.

Talk to a SHARE adviser to get the best out of your KiwiSaver account.