Could you survive in retirement?

Retirement may seem a long way off, but it’s best to consider it sooner rather than later.

Few of us give much consideration to our retirement — until we get close to 60 and it’s just around the corner. This is quite typical behaviour, and means that few of us have assessed our financial situation to find out what sort of lifestyle we’ll have after age 65.

If you don’t provide any income yourself, then you’ll need to rely on New Zealand Superannuation, the Government pension scheme, from 65, until you die.

The amount that you receive will vary, depending on whether or not you have other income, and what your tax code is. But if you have no other income, these are the current maximum rates you would receive:

  • Single (living alone) — $297.79 per week, approximately $15,485 per year.
  • Couple (only one partner qualifies) — $440.10 per week, approximately $22,885 per year.
  • Couple (both qualify) — $462.74 per week total, approximately $24,062 per year.

These are the net amounts you will get, in your hand, after they have been taxed at M code.

The pension is reviewed each year, taking into account inflation and changes in average wages. The amount for couples is set by the Government at about 66 per cent of the average wage – but may vary between 65 and 72.5 per cent. However, singles only get about 40 per cent of the average wage.

Looking at these figures will give most of us a rude awakening. Could you survive on only $15,485 a year, including food, clothing and housing? You certainly wouldn’t be able to afford any treats such as going out to dinner or taking an overseas trip; even buying gifts for your grandchildren will likely be a strain.

For people who are really struggling, there are income supplements available, which will help with housing, health costs, heating, and emergency situations, however it wouldn’t be wise to rely on these. You can find out more about New Zealand Superannuation and related income supplements by visiting

More importantly, in the meantime, visit to find out how you can prepare for a more comfortable retirement. Whatever age you are, it’s vital to start saving and investing now, to ensure you’re financially secure in the future.

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Please note that Kiwi Families is not intended to replace individualised, specialist advice that you receive from other financial professionals. Please seek specialist advice for your situation.

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