Cost of living calculator - BetterSaver
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Cost of living calculator

Calculator Information

The Cost of Living Calculator calculates how many months a person's KiwiSaver savings could fund their living expenses in retirement. The amount calculated is only an estimate of the amount a person will need to cover living expenses in retirement and does not take into account specific factors about an individual's expenses and requirements. The calculator takes your current KiwiSaver balance (and, if relevant, your partner's current KiwiSaver balance) and income and estimates, using a set of assumptions, your total KiwiSaver savings on retirement. It then calculates how long these will last by taking your estimated total KiwiSaver savings and dividing this by the cost of living.

Calculator Assumptions

The calculator relies upon a number of assumptions. The Government has set the default rates for a number of assumptions relating to KiwiSaver calculations and wherever possible we have used these default rates.

KiwiSaver returns

KiwiSaver returns assume that you are in a default KiwiSaver fund which is a balanced fund and assumes a return rate of 3.5% per year after fees and taxes which is the default assumption set for KiwiSaver balance projections for balanced funds – see the FMA Guidelines.

Wage and salary inflation

Wage and salary increases are assumed to be 3.5% per year which is the default assumption set for KiwiSaver projections - see the FMA Guidelines.

Your KiwiSaver Contributions

Your personal KiwiSaver contributions (and your partner's, if relevant) are assumed to be 3% of salary.

Employer KiwiSaver contributions

Employer KiwiSaver contributions are assumed to be 3% and employer contribution tax at current rates is deducted from this contribution.

Government KiwiSaver contributions

Government KiwiSaver contributions are also applied at the rate of 50 cents for each dollar you contribute capped at $521.43 per year (which is the current basis for Government KiwiSaver contributions).


Inflation is assumed to be 2% per year which is the default assumption set for KiwiSaver projections – see the FMA Guidelines. This inflation is applied annually to the assumed household expenditure.

Household expenditure

Household expenditure is assumed to be an average amount dependent on household size and is based on data from Statistic New Zealand. The figure includes estimated housing costs.

Typical Household expenditure by household size is from Statistics New Zealand - Household expenditure for group and subgroup by number of people in household data is from 2019, with 2% inflation added annually.

2019 rates are as follows:

  • One Person household: Weekly - $ 645.00 Monthly - $ 2795.00

  • Two Person household: Weekly - $ 1249.40 Monthly - $ 5414.07

  • Three Person household: Weekly - $ 1554.50 Monthly - $ 6736.17

  • Four Person household: Weekly - $ 1780.90 Monthly - $ 7717.23

  • Five or more Person household: Weekly - $ 1854.00 Monthly - $ 8034.00

Once the age of 65 is reached

Once the age of 65 is reached the calculator assumes the following:

  • That the cost of living (i.e. household expenditure) continues to increase at the rate of 2% each year (i.e. the assumed rate of inflation).

  • That your KiwiSaver balance is placed into a conservative fund that has an assumed return rate of 2.5% per year after fees and taxes. This is the default assumption set for KiwiSaver balance projections for conservative funds – see the FMA Guidelines.

The period of retirement that can be sustained is calculated by the length of time your (and if relevant your partner's) estimated KiwiSaver balance is depleted.

Personal Information

The information you provide is only used to generate the results from this calculator. It will not be used to identify you, will not be linked to any other information we have about you, and will not be used for any other purpose.

Any information you provide, and the results from this calculator, will not be retained after you leave the website.

Calculator Disclaimer

The results from this calculator should be used as an indication only. The results do not represent any form of wealth planning or financial advice. Information such as return rates and inflation figures used in the assumptions are subject to change. We do not accept responsibility for any errors in the calculations, or for any loss suffered in relying on the results from this calculator.