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Research Results

Most will be living on pension alone 10 years after retiring

6 Dec 17

Most will be living on pension alone 10 years after retiring
After 10 years retired it's pension-only for most retirees

For most retirees, savings and income from assets lasts for less than 10 years after retirement, reducing most to living off the New Zealand Superannuation pension alone.

With the average person expecting to be retired for 20+ years, New Zealand retirees expect to live the last 10 or more years of their lives on the government pension only, according to new research for the Financial Services Council (FSC).

FSC CEO Richard Klipin says there is a need for greater education and advice prior to retirement.


”Our research shows that nearly 4 in 10 of elderly regret not having more financial advice to improve their incomes in retirement. It is important for retirees not to be reliant on a limited mix of assets to draw on once regular income stops.”

The research, conducted by Horizon Research, delves into the attitudes and expectations of older New Zealanders against the backdrop of what wealth those aged 65+ have accumulated, and how they are spending it.

The research estimates for the first time the total wealth New Zealanders expect to take into retirement, and whether retirees are under or over in regards to how financially well off they will be after they stop paid work.

The gap

“Those over 65 and retired think they need $655 per week to live comfortably. Our research shows that, in reality they have, on average, $437 per week, which is a gap of $218.

"This is a considerable gap which is even bigger for those who don’t own their own home,” Mr Klipin said.

The concentration of wealth in a few asset classes, particularly property, indicates New Zealanders could benefit from greater knowledge of potential investment types.

Half will sell homes

The research shows that over half (54%) of homeowners aged 65+ are planning to sell their home to help fund their retirement.

As home ownership rates drop amongst today’s young New Zealanders, this indicates a need to better educate the New Zealand population on how to grow and protect savings and assets.

‘There remains a significant opportunity to better serve New Zealanders with initiatives to help them grow and spend their personal retirement wealth – both in terms of new products and new ways of delivering advice’, Mr Klipin said.


FSC ‘Great Expectations’ Research:  Key findings

  • Nearly all older New Zealanders will be living on the New Zealand Superannuation pension alone after just 10 years.

  • Almost half of those now aged 65+ say they would have liked more financial advice to improve their incomes in retirement
    • The $218 average after tax weekly gap between what the retired need to live comfortably and what they actually have, sends a message to those still working to make the most of opportunities to grow their wealth and increase their sources of income.
    • New Zealanders aged over 65 are taking more than $632 billion in property wealth into retirement but that wealth is overwhelmingly concentrated in the family home.


Research methodology

This study was conducted, on behalf of FSC, by Horizon Research online among a nationally representative sample of New Zealanders aged 18 years and older. The sample was 2,199 respondents, distributed throughout New Zealand including both capital city and non-capital city areas. Following the completion of interviewing, the data was weighted by age, gender, sexual orientation and region to reflect the population estimates for New Zealand.

You can download the full report here.

Other stories on this research:

New Zealand Herald, with video interview

How our elderly are feeling

Where the money's coming from in retirement

For Further Information:

Richard Klipin, Chief Executive Officer, Financial Services Council of New Zealand on

Mobile 021 0233 5414 or email

Grant McInman, Manager, Horizon Research, e-mail, telephone +64 21 076 2040.