The unexpected secret to a happy retirement

Growing numbers of people are reaching retirement and realising there’s one thing they can’t live without: their job. And the reasons might come as a surprise.

BNZ’s Financial Futures research found that nearly one in two (46%) New Zealanders want to keep working past 65, with two thirds of those over the age of 65 wanting to keep working because of the value and satisfaction it brings. Other important factors are the ability to use their skills and talents (68%) and for social contact (57%).

Paul Carter, BNZ’s Director of Retail and Marketing, says: “Many people are fitter and healthier in their 60s and 70s than previous generations and more are keen to keep working for longer.”

For many New Zealanders, it’s a question of balance as they get older: only 18% plan to work full time, with 31% preferring a part-time job, giving them time to enjoy other activities, including travel and spending time with their children and grandchildren.

“Working longer opens up all kinds of opportunities for people, including changing the way they view their finances,” Mr Carter says.

But the reality for 31% of respondents is they need the money they’ll earn past 65 to pay their bills.

“While we know it can be tough for those who have to keep working to pay their bills, it’s great to hear that so many more people continue because of the positives about work.

“I think the gap between those who choose to work in retirement and those who have to is too high. There’s a real opportunity for people to narrow that gap by being more proactive about planning their finances,” Paul Carter says.

BNZ Agribusiness banker Paul Buist, of Hamilton, is 76 and has worked for the bank for 26 years. He has chosen to continue working.

“For Paul, it is all about the joy of coming to work and making a valuable contribution to his customers’ businesses and to BNZ,” Mr Carter says.

“Paul told me he’s seen some hard financial times over the years and he’s learnt that to ride out the tough times you need to have a financial plan. So his top tip to Kiwis is to set yourself financial goals and follow a budget each month. That’s the voice of experience talking.

“I recommend people start with doing what they can to get on top of their debts, give their mortgage repayments the once-over and check to ensure their KiwiSaver is working hard for them,” Mr Carter says.

“Having your finances in a good state so you can make a choice to work in later life means not being complacent now,” he says.

The research found almost three-quarters (72%) of people are confident they will pay off their mortgage before they retire or semi-retire, despite the indication that we’re settling down and buying a home later in life.

Others have plans in place to pay off their loans after 65, by selling up and buying a cheaper house (37%), from savings (31%) or dividends from investments (26%), among other tactics.

“We are still benefiting from some of the lowest interest rates in a generation, so now is the best time to look at your repayments to see how you can speed up saying goodbye to your mortgage,” Mr Carter says.

“Even simple things like changing from monthly to fortnightly payments will cut the length of your home loan, without feeling the pinch,” he says.

BNZ has some easy-to-use calculators that show how much can be saved off the overall length of a home loan by making some adjustments.

For example, a 30-year home loan of $560,000 at 4.65% presently could be cut by more than four years and $75,700 by lifting the fortnightly repayments by $100.

The majority of people (57%) believe they will depend on superannuation investments, either company or KiwiSaver, to fund the life they want in retirement.

“KiwiSaver is such an important component of people’s plans for funding retirement – so make sure you not only enrol in KiwiSaver, but make an active fund choice and take an interest in the fund where you are invested,” Mr Carter says.

“All of these tactics will help in achieving the retirement you want and deserve,” he says.

Vaka Tautua joins Community Finance programme

The Community Finance partnership is proud to welcome today the Pacific Peoples community organisation Vaka Tautua as a provider of its low and no interest loans programme.

“We’re pleased that Vaka Tautua’s team of loan workers in West and South Auckland and Porirua can now provide families who are struggling to live on limited incomes with access to fair and affordable borrowing options,” said Good Shepherd New Zealand Chair Diana Crossan.

Speaking at a special celebration in Otara today, Bank of New Zealand Director of Retail and Marketing Paul Carter said expanding the community partners to include Vaka Tautua will enable more New Zealand families to benefit from the Community Finance loans.

Vaka Tautua Chief Executive Vui Mark Gosche says, “Pacific families are captive to the worst loan providers in New Zealand and have been paying outrageous levels of interest because of their inability to access normal lending rates.

“We see families paying between 20-30% or much worse to buy basic necessities. Being able to provide Community Finance loans means we will be able to offer a fair option for families who are already in financial distress,” he says.

A key finding of Ministry of Social Development research into the impact of the financial conversations which are an integral part of Community Finance was that participants’ said their financial management improved over time helping them become more independent and successful.

Paul Carter says, “BNZ’s mission is to enable a high achieving New Zealand so we are particularly proud that the research found that a significant proportion of Community Finance clients reported an increase in their employability.

“Many clients use their loans for second-hand cars or car repairs and this improved access to transport has benefits for their employment situations such as being able to look at a wider range of opportunities, in a broader geographic area or with working hours outside those covered by public transport,” Paul Carter says.

“It is encouraging that the portion of participants employed increased regardless of whether they received a loan or not, and that loan recipients said it helped them keep their jobs and even pick up extra or longer shifts when they aren’t confined by public transport,” he says.

Diana Crossan says, “This valuable programme is making a tangible difference helping Kiwis living on limited incomes to improve their financial capability and independence while saving thousands in interest.”

Community Finance estimates that the $2 million of lending to date has saved clients more than $1.1 million in interest and charges when compared to borrowing the same amount through high-cost lenders.

“Over two-thirds of participants in the MSD research said the financial conversation meant they were spending less on things they did not need and around half said they understood their finances better and were paying off debt faster or saving more money,” Diana Crossan says.

“Our loan workers share heart-warming client stories with us all the time and the research backs this up with comments that those who had engaged in financial conversations felt more in control of their finances and were proud of the changes they had made,” she says.

“Even those who did not get a loan said they got something out of the experience in terms of growing in confidence and learning how to look at their budget critically. Sometimes they go away and sort out some of their debt then return to us for a loan when they’re in a better financial position,” Diana Crossan says.

For the past four years Vaka Tautua staff have been providing financial capability programmes to hundreds of Pacific families, Vui Mark Gosche says.

“Many Pacific workers work in precarious employment with irregular hours and need a reliable vehicle. Being able to borrow at an affordable rate will benefit them financially and enable them to continue to work,” he says.

“Unaffordable housing and high levels of debt are common amongst the families we work with. Providing affordable loans will help families lift themselves out of poverty and improve the lives of their children,” Vui Mark Gosche says.


About Community Finance:

  • The Ministry of Social Development commissioned Malatest International to  undertake the “Outcomes evaluation of the Community Finance Initiative”.  The first phase of the evaluation is complete. Phase 2 will, when completed, validate causality claims.
  • The programme is run by Good Shepherd New Zealand and BNZ, with support from the Ministry of Social Development, and delivered by community partners like The Salvation Army, Aviva and Vaka Tautua.
  • Loans are provided to a group of New Zealanders described as financially excluded – meaning they don’t meet standard bank criteria and have exhausted their Work and Income options. As a result, many are forced to take out loans with alternative lenders, many of whom charge high interest      rates and fees.
  • Community Finance is now available in Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Palmerston North, Porirua, Wellington, Christchurch, Invercargill and Manukau, Mt Wellington, Waitakere and Henderson in Auckland.
  • The Ministry of Social Development contributes operational funding to Good Shepherd New Zealand who sub-contracts community providers.
  • In the 2016 Budget, Community Finance was awarded an additional $4.2 million of operational funding over four years.
  • Good Shepherd New Zealand has been supported through the development of the programme here by Good Shepherd Microfinance in Australia which has been operating microfinance programmes in Australia for more than 35 years.
  • BNZ  has committed $60 million in lending to the programme.
  • Community Finance loan products have no fees or charges and are available to people on limited incomes who are eligible for a Community Services Card.
  • No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) loans are available for amounts up to $1,000 for essential goods and services. StepUP, the low interest loan, provides loans of up to $5,000 with up to three years to pay loans back.
  • The most popular purpose for a StepUP loan is for second-hand cars or car repairs.
  • For more information visit or

Edmund Hillary Fellowship: supporting world-changing ventures

by Evan Veza, BNZ’s Head of International Business Development

In a quiet valley in Upper Hutt, a select group of global entrepreneurs and investors have spent the past week together, connecting and sharing their plans to change the world.

Front and centre will be the second cohort to join the Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF) – a New Zealand-based programme that’s aiming to build a global community of people creating ventures with positive social and environmental impact. Continue reading “Edmund Hillary Fellowship: supporting world-changing ventures”