Moving and early access
When you ask about getting money out earlier than 12 months, I am assuming it is on the grounds of a permanent move overseas because under other conditions of early access this minimum mandatory waiting period is not relevant.
Just to review, the KiwiSaver Act allows for early access to your KiwiSavers funds on four grounds:
- Significantly Financial Hardship
- Serious illness
- First time home buying deposit
- Permanent emigration
With respect to the last one here, you obviously know already that you have to wait 12 months before your funds are released.
We had an earlier question come to us similar to yours and the response I received from Inland Revenue was that economic uncertainty related to a deliberate move overseas was insufficient reason to bypass the 12 month waiting period. That said, if you were determined to get at your money, and felt there was a genuine case of financial hardship, it would be the trustee overseeing your KiwiSaver who would decide.
My understanding is that the test for proving significant financial hardship is fairly rigorous and you must front up with all manner of evidence (including a budget) to support the application. If you were successful in arguing your case, keep in mind that you won't get the entire pot of money sitting in your account. What you'll get is the $1,000 kick-start plus the contributions paid by you and your employer plus any gains made in the time you've been a member.
What you won't get, are the tax credits paid into your KiwiSaver fund by Government during that time.
Obviously, I don't know your personal situation but I sense a bit of desperation here. Whether you love or loathe KiwiSaver, it is a retirement savings vehicle, not a term deposit. As such it is designed to be hard to get out of.
Without wanting to fear monger, the more I hear about New Zealand Super, the less confident I am in its long term survival. If you plan on returning to New Zealand at some point, I wouldn't be banking on the NZS to see you through old age.
Retirement may seem like a foreign planet at this stage, if you are just starting out, but the years creep up very quickly. The earlier you start saving, the better off you'll be in the long-run -- whether is is through KiwiSaver or another saving platform is up to you. Knowledge is money so educate yourself about the choices available to you.
Under new a bi-lateral agreement with Australia, you can transport your KiwiSaver money with you and dump it into a comparable super fund. If you plan on working there, you'll be forced to pay into one anyways, this way you'll have a head start.
You can also leave your money here and make voluntary contributions where you can.
The key thing is keeping tabs on its performance, how much you are paying in fees and how it is doing relative to its peers. You can get all of that on our website under the KiwiSaver section, so stay in touch. And good luck!