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NZers happy with their retirement planning: survey

AXA's annual international retirement survey confirms one thing about KiwiSaver – it has got people thinking more about their retirement.

Tuesday, January 29th 2008, 5:28AM

by Rob Hosking

The annual survey – the fifth held including New Zealand - shows three quarters of New Zealanders are now making some preparation for their retirement.

A year ago the figure was two thirds.

The survey, of more than 600 people, was taken at the time KiwiSaver was introduced, says AXA New Zealand chief executive Ralph Stewart.

New Zealanders came top of the survey in terms of happiness with their preparedness for their retirement – a result which could be partly the result of a universal pension, the advent of KiwiSaver, and a certain amount of "she'll be right," attitude.

What is of concern in the survey's results, says Stewart and Arcus chief economist Rozanna Wozniak, is the low level of financial literacy in New Zealand and the unwillingness to get into investments other than low risk products.

AXA is encouraging those who get allocated into its conservative default fund to look at balanced or growth fund options.

"But the timing hasn't helped, of course," says Stewart, referring to the current international equity market turmoil.

And Wozniak says New Zealanders' timorous approach to investment has led to an unsustainable property boom and also ill-advised investments in finance companies.

Finance companies looked a safer bet than a balanced or growth managed fund, she says, "because people thought they looked like term deposits."

Rob Hosking is a Wellington-based freelance writer specialising in political, economic and IT related issues.

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