On the other side of that, tax cuts go into effect today. There's been a lot of speculation and I've run my wages through a few calculators with varying results from $2 a week to $20 a week more in my pay packet, but my work just informed me that it's actually ~$40 a week I'll be better off.
Offset to GST increases? Not for me. I took the plunge this morning and joined KiwiSaver.
I don't think so. I'm talking to you, government. In my lifetime I've seen the retirement age go up by 5 years, and most people seem to think it's going to go up again as our population ages, lifespans increase and the cost of supporting the elderly becomes a larger part of welfare expenditure.
Having recently experienced how good our aged-care system is* in terms of helping those who otherwise couldn't afford it, I don't want that to change. So I don't really have a problem with the cost of this going up. Meanwhile, it's becoming obvious that not having some sort of buffer for when I'm old, whether I'm still able to work or not, would leave me at the mercy of whatever governments decide to do between now and then - superannuation isn't that flash an income now, and it's likely to be less flash in the future if I'm to believe the speculation.
* Yeah, I know, there are lots of flaws but the bottom line for me is that without that subsidy, Mum's care would have cost my brother and me $14,000 for the 10 weeks she was in it. And that was short term.
I'm also aware that at 40 years old, I'm in my prime earning years now and I have no savings to speak of. I guess you could call Mum's house a form of savings, but realistically the amount I will get out of that isn't going to cut the mustard vs inflation in 25 years' time, so I have no reason to believe that another house I bought would either.
I didn't join the scheme when it first started - I was earning a lot less money then and it didn't seem worth it. Then I started paying half a mortgage + rent, The Kid turned up, and things didn't line themselves up for me to be comfortable with extras coming out of my pay. Now, I'm about to be debt-free. I mean, completely debt-free OMG! Not only that, I'll stop having to pay a mortgage and even if I buy a house, the chances are I'll be shelling out the same or less a week for it than I am at the moment. And then came the tax cuts being bigger than I thought.
So now seems like an opportune time to start. I know that there's a lot of cynicism associated with investment at the moment, but I can't see myself converting all my money into dubloons and stashing them in my mattress either, you know? So if you want to give yourself the illusion of security for when you're old, what do you do? KiwiSaver seems to be one of the lower-risk ways of doing it, and the employer/government contributions are definitely a drawcard. And the small amount from my wages being almost covered by the tax cuts leaves me free to pursue other options with the money that'll be left, thus avoiding the problem of having all my eggs in one basket.
The fact that I'm thinking this way scares me a little. Am I getting old, mature, responsible? Or is it just that current circumstances have caused this stuff to become prominent in my mind? I'm still having a raging subconscious battle between the desire for security and the desire for adventure, and trying to figure out a way to do both.
Also, your answers to my question about what you'd do if a bunch of money fell out of the sky told me that security is in the minds of lots of people who read this too. Maybe the KiwiSaver arse-covering will be a means of freeing up more mindspace for adventure?
Am I middle class yet?
In other news, Wellington's elephant in the room tells us to stop flying. Which is eminently sensible. Instead, I'll drag my kayak out of mothballs and paddle to Hong Kong. That would provide adventure, save money (security, whee!), and help combat climate change at the same time! And it'd be so romantic, right? Right?