Alec has been away, Next newsletter out shortly ,remember this Friday

Hi all

Been in Asia, Singapore, Taiwan,  Australia China etc last few weeks. Lots of headlines on excessive  fee’s re managed  investment funds, poor performance of Actively managed, investment funds, and low wage growth over the last decade for  low and middle income groups.

Surprised not me, same issues as NZ, the problem is not much has been done to change the situation, entrenched patterns and expectations continue to hold sway!

Next newsletter out shortly!!!!

Event details
Date: Friday 26 April 2019
Time: 8.30am-5pm
Venue: The University of Auckland Business School, Level 0, Case Room 3, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland, 1010
Registration (includes lunch and refreshments) $65
All-day parking at the Business School $12

An overview of the RPRC and PPI Summit taking place on 26 April 2019.Outline: 

The Retirement Income Policy Review terms of reference have been released by the Government, and a project manager for the review is appointed at the Commission for Financial Capability. In line with this Government’s emphasis on wellbeing and sustainability, the terms of reference stress that the review must assess “the effectiveness of current retirement policies for financially vulnerable and low-income groups, and recommendations for any policies that could improve their retirement outcomes”.

The RPRC’s public Summit at the University of Auckland Business School will examine some of the issues, including: the fiscal impact of ageing, the future shape of the age pension in New Zealand, KiwiSaver, intergenerational equity, the changing nature of work, the capacity of the health sector, the health of the financial sector, and lessons for New Zealand from international developments in finance and pensions.

New Zealand experts on retirement income policy issues will share their thinking on the various issues set out in the Terms of Reference. Among these are Diana Crossan, former Retirement Commissioner; Matthew Bell, Treasury; Judith Davey, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies; Richard Klipin, EO Financial Services Council; Len Cook, former Chief Statistician for New Zealand and the UK.

International speakers, including David Harris, MD TOR Financial Consulting Ltd; and Calvert Duffy, an Australian Governance, Risk and Compliance consultant; will comment on likely implications and possible lessons from overseas events including the Australian Royal Commissions.

View the Retirement Policy and Research Centre webpage for more information.

For more information, contact:

Dr M Claire Dale
Ext: 86968

Posted Alec Waugh 19 April 2019

2019 NZ Superannuation increase

A more detailed breakdown will be provided shortly.

Benefit and payment rates 2019

18 March 2019.

Benefit and payment rates will increase on 1 April 2019, due to the Annual General Adjustment. Check out the new rates here:

Benefit and payment rates from 1 April 2019

Your first April payment

You’ll get your first payment at the new rate in the week 8 April (or in the week 15 April if you get paid fortnightly). This is because you’re paid for the week that’s just been.

Pension type Net weekly rate
(after tax at “M”)
Net weekly rate
(after tax at “S”)
Gross weekly rate
NZ Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension — standard rates
Single, living alone $411.15 $392.30 $475.42
Single, sharing $379.52 $360.67 $437.14
Both you and your partner qualify (combined) $632.54 $594.84 $720.84
Both you and your partner qualify (each) $316.27 $297.42 $360.42
Only one of you qualifies and you include your partner in your payments (combined) $601.22 $563.52 $682.86
Only one of you qualifies and you include your partner in your payments (each) $300.61 $281.76 $341.43
Only one of you qualifies and you don’t include your partner in your payments $316.27 $297.42 $360.42
NZ Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension — non-standard rates
Married couple, with non-qualified spouse included before 1 October 1991 (total) $632.54 $594.84 $720.84
Married couple, with non-qualified spouse included before 1 October 1991 (each) $316.27 $297.42 $360.42
Qualified partner in rest home with non-qualified partner in the community $273.70 $254.85 $308.75
Hospital rate $45.28 Note 1 $50.53
Non-taxable amounts
War Pensioner’s Funeral Grant $2,558.71
World War I veteran’s lump sum payment on death $15,294.64
Other veterans lump sum payment on death $6,065.89
Veteran’s spouse’s lump sum payment on death $4,625.41

Note 1: The hospital rate is always taxed at the ‘M’ rate.

You can find more information about the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension rates here.


OECD Pensions at a glance& MSD: Money talks : 0800 345 123

Executive summary

Pensions at a Glance 2017

The 2017 edition of Pensions at a Glance highlights the pension reforms undertaken by OECD countries over the last two years…

This edition of Pensions at a Glance reviews and analyses the pension measures enacted or legislated in OECD countries between September 2015 and September 2017 and provides an in-depth review of flexible retirement policies. As in past editions, a comprehensive selection of pension policy indicators is included for all OECD and G20 countries.

Pension reforms have been fewer and less widespread than in previous years.  Since 2015, the pace of pension reforms in OECD countries has slowed and reforms have been less widespread. Improving public finances have eased the pressure to reform pension systems.

However, some countries have changed retirement ages, benefits, contributions or tax incentives. Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece and Poland took far-reaching measures, with some of them reversing previous reforms. Over the last two years, the statutory retirement age was changed in six countries. About one-third of OECD countries changed contributions and another third modified benefit levels for all or some retirees.

Based on legislation, the normal retirement age will increase in about half of OECD countries, with links to life expectancy in Denmark, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and the Slovak Republic. On average, the normal retirement age will increase by 1.5 years for men and 2.1 years for women, reaching just under 66 years around 2060.

This means that, on average, the retirement period will increase relative to people’s working lives. Three countries have future retirement ages over 68 years: Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands.  By contrast, the normal retirement age will remain below 65 only in France, Greece, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Turkey for full-career workers. Moreover, only Israel, Poland and Switzerland will maintain a gender gap in the retirement age.

Concerns about financial sustainability of pension systems and retirement income adequacy remain, given the projected acceleration of population ageing, higher inequality during the working age and the changing nature of work.

Past reforms addressing financial sustainability will lower pension benefits in many countries. The net replacement rate from mandatory pension schemes for full-career average wage earners entering the labour market today is equal to 63%, on average in OECD countries, ranging from 29% in the United Kingdom to 102% in Turkey.

Replacement rates for low-income earners are 10 points higher,on average, ranging from  under 40% inMexico and Poland, to more than 100% in Denmark, Israel and the Netherlands. In non-OECD  G20 countries, South Africa has a very low projected net replacement rate, of 17% for average earners from the mandatory component. By contrast, future net replacement rates are higher than 80% in Argentina, China and India. Of these countries only Indonesia implemented a major reform over the last two years by introducing a mandatory defined benefit pension scheme.

Flexible retirement: what it means, why it matters Flexible retirement is the ability to draw a pension – full or partial – while continuing in paid work, often with reduced working hours, or to choose when to retire. Longer lives, the increasing diversity of work trajectories and the growing desire for more autonomy in the retirement decision are motivating calls for rules that allow individuals to decide when and how to retire.

Many workers want greater retirement flexibility. However, take-up rates are relatively small. In Europe, about 10% of individuals aged 60-64 or 65-69 combine work and pensions. And about 50% of workers older than 65 work part-time on average in OECD countries; this share has been stable over the past 15 years.

Steps to improve flexible retirement opportunities.  Most OECD pension systems allow combining work and pensions after the normal retirement age, albeit with some disincentives. In Australia, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Japan, Korea and Spain earnings limits apply, beyond which pension benefits are reduced.

In France, working pensioners fully withdrawing their pension do not earn any additional pension entitlements despite paying contributions. The situation is more complex before the normal retirement age. Flexibility to retire fully before the normal retirement age is strongly restricted in more than half of OECD countries. In another fifteen countries, retiring a few years early is allowed and pension benefits are reduced in line what is justified by actuarial principles. While eleven countries allow combining work and early pension within some limits, few have early partial retirement.

Whether pensioners would benefit from enhanced partial retirement opportunities depends on their capacity to make well-informed choices to avoid jeopardizing their final retirement incomes. Financial literacy plays an important role in that respect.

Barriers to flexible retirement also exist outside the pension system, especially in the labour markets or in cultural acceptance of part-timework, limiting the freedom in retirement decision. Postponing retirement will lead to higher pension entitlements in the vast majority of countries. In Estonia, Iceland, Japan, Korea, and especially Portugal, the financial incentives to continue working after the retirement age are large and go beyond the increases that would be justified to compensate for the shorter retirement period. Chile, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, the Slovak Republic and Sweden offer flexible retirement for the baseline OECD case. These countries allow: combining work and pensions flexibly after the retirement age, in particular without any earnings limitations; reward postponing retirement; and, do not heavily penalize retiring early.

In  Italy and  the Slovak Republic, however, people entering the labour market today will only be offered flexibility at ages higher than 67 and 66 years, respectively. Real choice in making the retirement decision means that postponing retirement should be sufficiently rewarding to compensate for lost pension years; on the other hand, retiring a few years before the normal retirement age should not be overly penalized.

However, flexibility should be conditional on ensuring the financial balance of the pension system, which implies that pension benefits should be actuarially adjusted in line with the flexible age of retirement. Moreover, some people might underestimate their future needs and retire too early with insufficient future pensions. Policies that de- facto restrict early flexible retirement might therefore be needed; the early retirement age should be set high


  • Most OECD countries have enacted pension reforms since the last publication of Pension at a Glance (OECD, 2015). However, the reforms have been fewer and less widespread than in previous years
  • Reforms will potentially have a large impact on the pension system in Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece and Poland.
  • The retirement age was changed in six countries. Three of them actually reduced the long-term planned retirement age, including the Czech Republic, and Poland where this change will directly lead to substantially lower replacement rates.
  • Based on legislated measures, the normal retirement age will increase by 1.5 and 2.1 years on average for men and women, respectively, in the OECD, reaching just under 66 years over the next four to five decades.
  • The future normal retirement age varies enormously from 59 years in Turkey (women only) and 60 years in Luxembourg and Slovenia to an estimated 74 years in Denmark.
  • The net replacement rate from mandatory pension schemes for full-career average-wage earners is equal to 63%, on average in OECD countries, ranging from 29% in the United Kingdom to 102% in Turkey. Low-income (half the average wage) earners generally have higher net replacement rates than average-income earners, by 10 points, on average across the OECD.
  • In non-OECD G20 countries, net replacement rates for full-career average-wage earners range from 17% in South Africa to 99% in India. Only Indonesia implemented a major reform over the last two years by introducing a mandatory defined benefit pension scheme.
  • Many countries have introduced automatic links between pension benefits and life expectancy. Funded defined contribution schemes have automatic links through more expensive annuities with increasing longevity, but links also exist in notional defined contribution systems, in point systems (Germany) and in defined benefit schemes (e.g. in Finland and Japan). Most pension reforms over the past two year were undertaken in the following areas:
  • Twelve countries modified contribution rates or limits contributions, by age or income (e.g. Australia, Canada, Hungary and Latvia).
  • Twelve OECD countries changed benefit levels for all or specific groups of retirees (e.g. Canada, Finland, France and Greece). This either involved an outright adjustment of rules used to compute benefits, benefit cuts for higher earners, changes of the guaranteed minimum rate of return, of the reference salary, of the pension point value or of wider options for Annunciation.
  • Seven countries changed the rules associated with minimum or basic pensions or conditions related to income and means testing (e.g. Germany, Greece and the Slovak Republic). Two countries introduced a minimum or basic pension, and three changed the earnings or asset rules.
  • Seven countries, for example Ireland and Israel, changed the tax incentives related to pensions. Among the measures taken are the abolition or implementation of tax exemptions for some categories of earners.
  • Five countries, e.g. Japan and Turkey, took measures to increase the coverage of pensions, by using auto-enrolment, lowering or increasing the age at which contributions can be made or removing restrictions on participating in a pension scheme.
  • Part of the reason for falling replacement rates and rising pension expenditure is the increase in longevity. Life expectancy at age 60 has increased from 18.0 to 23.4 years in the OECD since 1970, with gains ranging from 1.5 years in Latvia to 8.7 years in Korea.
  • By 2050, average life expectancy at age 60 is expected to rise to 27.9 years. If retirement ages remain at the same level, more time will be spent in retirement and, with unchanged benefits

Take control of your money

Find out how you can get free and confidential help from a helpline called Money-Talks.

What Money  Talks is all about

A free financial helpline called Money Talks is available to help people who are struggling with their money.

MoneyTalks provides a quick and easy way to get in touch with trained financial mentors who can provide free and confidential advice.

You can get advice by phone, online chat and by email – and a text service will be available soon.

What you can get help with

The financial mentors can help you with any money problems, it could be:

  • you’re struggling to pay your bills
  • your debts are getting out of control
  • you’re being pressured by a salesperson to make an instant decision (you can get advice straight away!).

You can also get advice on how to help a friend of family/whānau member in difficulty.

You can also be connected with free and confidential services in your own community to help you get things under control and to stay that way.

How to contact Money Talks

Money Talks helpline is available from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm by:

Posted Alec Waugh 11 March 2019

Aussie rescind age entitlement rise!

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dumped the plan to raise the pension age to 70, announcing the decision on breakfast television even before Cabinet has formally agreed to it.

Key points:

  • Pension age has already started increasing from 65, going up six months every two years
  • Joe Hockey announced the plan to lift the pension age from 67 to 70 in 2014
  • But Scott Morrison says it’s no longer necessary, and once it hits 67 in 2023, it will stop

It was one of the issues on which Labor had repeatedly attacked the Government, especially highlighting the impact for people with physically difficult jobs.

Former treasurer Joe Hockey announced the plan to lift the pension age from 67 to 70 in his controversial 2014 budget in a bid to help fund the cost of the ageing population.

The Senate has refused to ever agree to legislation to formalise the change, but until today the Government had stuck to the policy.

Mr Morrison told Channel Nine he did not think the measure was needed anymore.

“It is one of the things I will be changing pretty quickly,” Mr Morrison told Channel Nine this morning after facing a question on it from a viewer about why he thought it was a good idea to have everybody working until they are 70.

He said he had been contemplating the change for some time.

But the Opposition has labelled it panic and a sign of desperation.

Labor leader Bill Shorten noted that the Coalition had argued for the policy since 2014.

“Mr Morrison for years has wanted Australians to work to the age of 70. As recently as July this year he said that was his commitment,” Mr Shorten said.

“Now he wants to drop it because he is worried about losing his day job.”

New South Wales MP Stephen Jones joined the Opposition Leader in pointing out this had been Labor’s position for years.

70 was a step too far, Deputy PM says

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said overturning the previous policy it was a “pragmatic, sensible move”.

“I think if you are a tradie, or a brickie or a shearer in rural and regional Australia you don’t want some suit in Canberra telling you you are going to have to work until you’re 70,” Mr McCormack told Sky.

“It’s hard, back-breaking work what a lot of our people do and I think being told that they are going to have to work until 70 I think was probably a step too far.”

It is the first major policy backdown Mr Morrison has made since becoming PM.

“I was going to say this next week, but I may as well say it here, I have already consulted my colleagues on that and next week Cabinet will be ratifying a decision to reverse taking the retirement age to 70,” he said.

It will remain at 67, which is what Labor increased it to.

“The pension age going to 70, gone,” Mr Morrison said.

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm slammed the decision and argued the age pension age should be gradually lifted.

He said “with increasing health and life expectancy, thousands of older Australians are set to spend many years on welfare despite still being able to work and pay their own way”.

Senator Leyonhjelm said the move was a sign the Government does not take budget repair seriously.

“This is not how the grandparents of Australia should be looking after their grandchildren,” he said.

Deloitte Access Economics economist Chris Richardson called it a policy mistake to reverse the increase in the pension age.

“I would put it down very much to politics,” Mr Richardson said, noting that the new PM was trying to get rid of an unpopular policy in the face of bad opinion polls.

“It is a mistake and it does overturn a courageous decision.

“With politics as populist as it is at the moment and with a government behind in the polls it is entirely understandable that the Government is going to dump things that are unpopular.

“But just because something is unpopular doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right call in the first place.”

Jobs not pensions says Council on the Ageing

The Council on the ageing welcomed the move, saying there is no point raising the pension age further because people who want to work longer are often locked out of even being considered for jobs because of age discrimination.

COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates said the Government should instead focus on lifting the workforce participation rate for people over 55 and supporting people who want to work into their 70s.

He said that would contribute more to the budget than raising the pension age further could ever save, “and it will result in better retirement incomes for many retirees, again saving the budget”.

The pension age has already started going up from 65.

The plan to lift the pension age in the 2014 budget was based on a recommendation of the National Commission of Audit, which said it should be linked to rising life expectancy.

“Not only are people now experiencing longer retirements, but changes in the nature of work and improvements to medical technology have meant that many (though not necessarily all) people are also experiencing healthier and more active retirements,” the report said.




The Retirement Commissioner is obliged by statute to report 3 yearly to Government.

The Retirement Commissioner has been stood down pending investigation into allegations of bullying etc , and with her contact term expiring shortly, highly unlikely to return to the position. No announcement as too a likely replacement has been announced.

Conducting a review with the issues above still pending is either an opportunity or a worry, Kaspanz has been critical of the Retirement Commissioner over name changes during her term, and the emphasis on Financial Literacy education at the expense of research and expertise on Retirement income  issues.

Watch this space!


Posted Alec Waugh 16 February 2019

Retirement income advice and information, and who is worth listening too!





  1. Rich enough: A laid back Guide for every Kiwi, Mary Holm, 2018. Excellent.
  2. The Great NZ Work, Money and Retirement Puzzle and how to solve it. A Practical Guide for everyone 19-91 yrs. Alan Clarke, (2014). Unusual style but easy to read.
  3. The Essential Retirement Guide, A Contrarian’s Perspective Frederick Vettese, John Wiley& sons (2016)* American but suitable and applicable to NZ. Excellent, good examples. On the button!
  4. Retire Richer; a practical guide for everyone aged 25-85. Alan Clarke. 2010. Large font, easy to read. Very sound.
  5. The New Retirement: Smart Tips for Boomers. Bill Jamieson Shoal Bay 2007. Chatty.
  6. NZ Retirement Guide, (2013), Twenty Good Summers.  Martin Hawes: A prolific writer, (over 20 books) always provides good reading and common sense recommendations.
  7. How to retire with enough money and how to know what enough is. Teresa Ghilarduccci, (2015). Also American, but suitable for NZ readers. 100 pages. Excellent.
  8. Your 60’s by Peter Dunn, (2015) Centage Learning. Again an American book, but completely applicable to NZ scene.
  9. The New Zealand Tax System, NZ Taxes in comparative perspective Rob Salmond, 2011. Want to know about the NZ Tax system? Easy to follow.

MEDIA COMMENTATORS? Any worth listening too!

  • Martin Hawes: Calm, considered, common sense covering superannuation, trusts, retirement savings etc. Author.
  • Mary Holm: Sound and succinct. Good simple business and personal financial comment, on many of the current retirement issues. Excellent NZ Herald column each Sunday-compulsory reading!
  • Rob Stock: Leans towards the seniors market, writes in an easy to follow manner, on topical subjects. Sound.
  • Janine Starks. Sound on a range of retirement income issues.
  • Cameron Bagrie: Independent Economist. Previous ANZ, now out on his own. A 2017 piece on New Zealand superannuation was poorly done, containing the usual myths and generalizations, but he is not to be dismissed.
  • Helen Twose. Her Kiwi Saver Question and Answers column was always a must read. The questions and answers needed to be published in booklet form.
  • Shamubeel Eaqub: Independent economist. Always interesting, has a view on everything.
  • Matthew Hooton: A right wing commentator. Don’t ignore, but take with a grain of salt
  • Fran O’Sullivan: Writes some good stuff, but has a blind spot re New Zealand Superannuation and needs to recognize that the NZ model is a world leader, and projections/assumptions 30-50 years out are close to worthless.
  • Brian Fallow. Experienced economic editor e.g. the NZ Herald. Always interesting. Also has a blind spot re NZ Superannuation and fiscal costs, leans to crisis rhetoric on Superannuation issues, needs to allow for adjustment factor in his long term trend analysis.
  • Ralph Stewart: Experienced business background, common sense approach, currently CEO Life time Income, annuities expert, surrounds himself with quality retirement income advisors.
  • Brian Gaynor. Experienced and considered opinions particularly investment analysis, an active fund manager, with a wealth of knowledge.
  • Susan St John, Retirement Policy and Research Centre, Auckland Business School. Susan’s substantial knowledge of the Retirement Income sector makes her a “must read”.
  • Michael Little wood. His papers on NZ Superannuation are seminal resource papers, easy to read, clarifies the issues in a simple manner. NZ Guru on New Zealand Superannuation.
  • Liz Koh, Dominion Newspaper “Money matters”. Interesting, sincere and well researched.
  • Larry Williams. Right wing radio conservative, chatty manner. Does not know much about retirement Income issues.
  • Mike Hosking. Intelligent, zany, but untrained mind. Right wing bias sounds good, but substance lacks at times.
  • Heather du Plessis-Allan. Hope she continues to develop her knowledge on retirement income, has potential, can be over confident.
  • Leighton Smith. Great survivor of Radio Talkback. Right wing, knows his way around the subjects, but his twist on issues while often sounding knowledgeable, merely confirms here is an orthodox conservative.
  • Paul Henry: Right wing, full of opinions. Like him or hate him, he provides a view. Not visible at the moment.
  • Brent Sheather. Very sound on investment issues.
  • Bernard Hickey: Invisible at the moment. Always interesting and provocative, maturing in his comments, hope he returns to the retirement income sphere.




  • The Headliner. Investment advice sheet and comment
  • The National Business Review. .New Zealand weekly business review and analysis magazine
  • The Economist

Posted by Alec Waugh, reviewed February  4 , 2019






NZ Super-suggestion link to health data

I am cautious of this approach too, and the suggestion”people want to work past 65″ is highly questionable. Having  to attempt to find work , due to inadequate income, is the reality for many,  but don’t put a rosy glow  as if this is some sort of lifelong dream.

I would suggest many people have no choice, the exception being  some of the highly and wealthy, able to pick and chose  jobs or business opportunity on their own terms

Posted Alec Waugh Jan 27th, 2019