A recent report, commissioned by the Financial Services Council, to discover what retirement means to – and will look like – for New Zealanders made some interesting findings.

The report focused on those aged 18-34 and their attitudes towards retirement planning. It examined what they expected in their retirement, how this would be funded, and their confidence towards future planning.

It discovered that younger New Zealanders are increasingly reliant on KiwiSaver as their main source of income when planning for retirement and want more support with their financial planning. For younger New Zealanders, only 54% of respondents aged 18-34 expected to have their own home, and only 30% expected to have New Zealand Superannuation at retirement. Millennials will be Generation KiwiSaver. This is a significant change from the findings of their earlier research which found that owning a mortgage-free home was the extent of retirement planning for many.

Despite having a lower asset base, Generation KiwiSaver has a higher expectation on the income needed to retire than the primary working age group – 2% higher at $754 a week. This means there is likely to be a $205 weekly shortfall between expected retirement income and actual retirement income for under 35s. Perhaps unsurprisingly the report found that young people are more worried than not over their prospective lives when they stop work – even though they still have plenty of time to plan and prepare for it. 18–24 year olds are less concerned than average, but concerns increase for those aged 25–34.

Given this, the research has a clear message about the need for continued strengthening of KiwiSaver and improvement in financial advice. An overwhelming number of under 35s want the law changed so that minimum contributions to KiwiSaver are lifted gradually. There is also a strong desire for greater visibility of how KiwiSaver funds are performing.

The research shows that millennials more than any other age group support financial advice being provided in new ways such as via robo-advice, and want a personalised financial plan. The industry challenge is to help younger New Zealanders diversify away from a pure KiwiSaver approach and into other wealth building products.

The findings of the ‘Generation KiwiSaver’ research are a wake-up call for all. Getting KiwiSaver settings right will be vital for the future of young New Zealanders, and they will need better financial advice delivered in different ways.  

You can read the full report here.