Is NZ Super enough to fund a comfortable retirement?

It is no secret that New Zealand has an aging population. As medical care improves, we’re living longer – on average, 80% of Kiwi men aged 65 can expect to live until they’re 90, and women until they’re 94.

A longer life means a longer retirement, and a longer retirement means more spending. But with everyday costs becoming more expensive, many are finding New Zealand Superannuation and their retirement nest eggs are not enough.

New Zealand Super is not enough to pay for retirement

Considering the rising cost of housing and food, increases in council rates, and the low-interest rate environment for savings accounts, it can be incredibly challenging for retirees who no longer have salaried income to live a comfortable retirement on NZ Super alone. Research from the Financial Services Council shows that as at June 2020, a retiree living alone receives $873.88 fortnightly (after tax), while a couple receives $1,344.44 total.

According to the New Zealand Retirement Expenditure Guidelines, a couple wanting to live a ‘no frills’ lifestyle in a major city would need $1,670.68 per fortnight – and a couple wanting the freedom to live more comfortably with some luxuries would need $2,846.78 per fortnight.

As you can see, funding a dream retirement lifestyle is no longer possible on NZ Super alone.

Unlock an unexpected source of wealth

When it comes to managing these financial concerns, the good news is many Kiwi retirees are lucky enough to be homeowners – and house prices have increased immensely, meaning there may be some good capital gains to be had. However, many people would prefer to stay in the family home rather than sell up – and this is where equity release options, such as a reverse mortgage, can be helpful.

A reverse mortgage allows people over 60 to access some of the equity in their home, giving them the freedom to relieve financial pressure and fund a more comfortable retirement. Importantly, with a reverse mortgage you continue to own and live in your home and community for as long as you choose.

Unlike a regular mortgage, you’re not required to make repayments, as the total loan amount (including accumulated interest) is repayable when you move permanently from your home.

By unlocking some of the equity in your home without needing to make regular repayments, you could access the funds you need to cover day-to-day expenses, consolidate debt, complete home improvements, or even just go on a once in a lifetime trip you didn’t think you could afford.

Heartland has helped over 19,000 Kiwis fund a more comfortable retirement. To find out more about how a Heartland Reverse Mortgage could help you take the stress out of increased living costs, get in touch with their customer care team on 0800 488 740 or to discuss your options.

Applications are subject to loan approval criteria. Heartland Bank Limited’s responsible lending criteria, terms, conditions, fees and charges apply.

About Age Concern New Zealand 'on research'

At the heart of everything Age Concern does is a passion to see older people experience well-being, respect, dignity, and to be included and valued. We support, inform and advise older people on issues such as access to health care, transport, housing, financial entitlements, and social opportunities. We also work to combat real problems in our society, like elder abuse and neglect, chronic loneliness and social isolation. We provide specialist services with trained and qualified professionals able to give expert advice and assistance. Age Concern is a charity and relies on the support of volunteers and public donations to do much of the work we do. To help us help older people, please consider making a donation of your time or money. To see how, visit
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1 Response to Is NZ Super enough to fund a comfortable retirement?

  1. lifecameos says:

    After three redundancies throughout my working life I was still lucky enough to own my own home unit in a small regional city. My parents and grandparents lived in Auckland all their lives. After both parents had died my two siblings and I each received a third share of the price of a house in Auckland, which helped us greatly towards buying our homes in small regional cities. I was
    managing on my superannuation, living a quiet life, dealing with minor house maintenance costs. Then big medical and surgical costs arrived, because the DHB stopped paying for them in the time frame in which I needed them, and I was done for. In fact I sold my two bedroom unit and bought the occupancy rights to a one bedroom unit in a local retirement village, with the surplus from the price paying for village monthly fees – including maintenance amongst other costs – while my savings pay my medical costs. We are all right, but for very random reasons.


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