Skip to content

FMA media release – Life after work – ready or not



New survey asks how well New Zealand’s older population is planning for retirement

A new study shows that almost half of people over 50 years old have yet to figure out how they will reach their retirement goals. While four in ten people who have already retired, did so without a financial plan for their retirement.

A  joint survey, released today by the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) and the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) looked at how well older New Zealanders are preparing and investing for when they stop working.

The survey found that while some people are planning thoroughly for a comfortable retirement lifestyle, others are drifting towards a more frugal future. The research was commissioned to give some insights into the financial challenges and decisions facing New Zealanders, and some possible solutions, as the country’s population ages.

Only one in ten people over the age of 50 are certain they have enough money saved or invested to enjoy the lifestyle they want when they stop working.  And of those already retired, a quarter said they do not have the money to do the things they would like in retirement.

Among people in the survey approaching retirement, 54% said they had some form of financial plan. However the degree of planning varied, with only about a quarter having planned thoroughly.

42% of non-retirees have calculated the regular expenses they would need to cover, and 34% have worked out how much they would need on top of NZ Superannuation to give them the lifestyle they wanted.

David Boyle, CFFC general manager of investor capability, said “It’s encouraging to see that almost half of those approaching retirement have done either good or thorough planning, however the research shows that many are leaving their plans to the last minute.”

“There is also a big gap between the reality of lifestyle in retirement and the expectations of the over 50s age group in reaching their goals. At 50-years-old, when you have potentially 15 years to go before you stop working, there’s still time to make a big difference to your lifestyle choices in retirement.”

The experience of those who have already retired showed that while 28% have enough money to do all the things they want in retirement, 25% are just getting by and managing the basics. Retirees who had some form of plan for their retirement were far more likely to enjoy the kind of lifestyle they wanted.

When it comes to investment risk the overwhelming majority, 83%, said that higher risk investments were to be avoided and 71% said that in general people should choose more conservative investments. However only 24% of those surveyed had ever used a risk profile tool to help them think about what level of risk was appropriate for them.

Simone Robbers, FMA director of primary markets and investor resources, said these answers seemed to indicate a gut-instinct approach to retirement planning rather than well-informed decisions.

“We can see that if people take time to make a plan, they are generally more likely to choose a more diversified range of investments.”

“It’s essential for people to find out what kind of investor they are and to diversify their investment choices appropriately. That’ll help their investments grow, spread risk and leave them well placed for a better retirement,” said Ms Robbers.

Ms Robbers and Mr Boyle concluded that with so many people now accumulating wealth in KiwiSaver – and other investments – towards their retirement, it’s critical they get hold of the information and tools needed to help plan, prepare and make smarter investment choices. This will help people reach their retirement lifestyle goals and is a great place to start.

The survey was targeted at New Zealanders aged 50 years or more, including those approaching retirement and those who have already stopped working.

The questions in the survey were designed to cover the kinds of factors everyone needs to consider to help them plan, prepare and make good investment decisions. These factors, in turn, will have a major impact on the kind of lifestyle people have in retirement.

For full results go to and


The collaboration between the CFFC and the FMA is aligned to their shared focus on improving investor capability and decision-making to help New Zealanders get ahead financially.

The survey was conducted by Colmar Brunton between 10-22 April 2015. 1,052 people over 50 years old were involved in the survey, respondents were weighted for age, gender and income to represent New Zealand’s demographic spread.

Margin of error = +/- 3.0%.

More news

NZ Funds Market Update #7

Executive Summary Global share markets are now 22% above their lows. NZ Funds has successfully mitigated the downside and will continue to fully participate in the share market recovery. The
Read More

See how NZ Funds ‘Downside Mitigation’ has helped in the current crisis

We have often mentioned that NZ Funds developed and implemented a downside mitigation strategy following the Global Financial Crisis to protect client’s portfolio values should another major event occur.   The strategy
Read More