Much like the returns in early years of ‘aggressive funds’, the average person’s awareness of KiwiSaver can seriously fluctuate on a daily basis. Sometimes it is lumped into the back of the mind as simply another ‘income-depriver’, money you cannot immediately use - other times it can feel like the only safety net you have!
One thing is for sure: it’s been received well. 2.5 million voluntary users sounds more like an out-of-control game on the app store than a government-devised savings scheme...but did you know that over 400,000 of those people who have signed up are under the age of 18? Very young kids are able to contribute their pocket money and make one important decision: what type of growth fund will they choose? Will they be an Aggressive Andy or a Defensive Danielle?
Along this train of thought, what if each of the fund options could be likened to a kid on the playground? What would their behaviour be like? Wonder no longer:
Nickname: ‘Aggressive Andy’
Playground Behaviour: Ridiculously energetic, often heard screaming at someone to watch him attempt something. Inexplicably still has loads of energy upon reentering the classroom.
Known For: That time he tried to front flip off the top of the playground tower and cracked his head open on the slide.
Potential future careers: Stuntman, Firefighter, Poker Player
Symbolising: Aggressive and Growth Fund options - medium to high risk Funds that line up with Andy’s ethos on life are almost entirely invested in ‘growth assets’ (shares and property). The top three funds with the highest current return are all aggressive funds, with number one (at the time of publishing according to sorted.org.nz) being the Australasian Property Fund by OneAnswer. Not surprisingly, aggressive funds also constitute the bottom three funds with the lowest return (all negative!)
Nickname: ‘Balanced Barbara’
Playground Behaviour: She’ll join in with the activities she loves, and will have fun, as long as it fits within her moderate temperament range.
Known For: Being everyone’s friend/helper, great ‘deep & meaningful’ chats, not having many enemies.
Potential future careers: Doctor, Airline Stewardess, Psychologist
Symbolising: Balanced Growth Fund option - medium risk. Funds that line up with Barbara’s ethos on life are divested amongst a variety of sectors, and hold about 35% to 63% in growth assets. A popular option for people not wanting to spend their money in the next 5-12 years, and manage risk while still having an opportunity at reasonable growth.
Nickname: Defensive Daniel
Playground Behaviour: He sticks to himself most the time, and seems to be perpetually in thought. Hard to know if he’s confused, lacks energy, or is a genius.
Known For: That time two years ago that he answered a question out loud - it was eloquent, correct, and the only time some students had ever heard him speak.
Potential future careers: IT Analyst, Programmer, Librarian
Symbolising: Defensive and Conservative Fund options - low to medium risk. Funds that line up with Daniel’s ethos on life are invested very conservatively, often with almost 0% growth assets. They’re popular amongst people who never want to see their KiwiSaver total decrease. Beware: the increase in these funds could be so slow that it won’t keep up with inflation...devaluing your money!
Well, there you have it. Do you have students like the ones mentioned above? What kind of ‘playground personality’ KiwiSaver are you? It may seem like a trival question, but understanding your risk preference and knowing it can change over time is an important part of effective investment. Make sure you keep your KiwiSaver up to date to reflect this. It's not a set and forget, and swapping funds or even providers is easy if needed.
Insights from 'Carefree Cam' balanced 'KiwiSaver'er & Banqer Team Member