Ethically saving a first home deposit

25 October 2019

Sofia Robinson used her KiwiSaver deposit to purchase her first home. It was important to her that her KiwiSaver money was invested ethically while she saved her deposit.

Congratulations on buying your house! How long ago did you buy your home?

Thanks! Almost a year ago, now. There’s a lot more to home ownership than I had expected – let’s just say my life is DIY! I spend a lot of time at Bunnings.

Ah – so you purchased a house that needed some work?

Actually, I found myself in quite an unusual situation. I was really fortunate in that I was able to purchase the property I was renting. It needs quite a bit of work!

You're invested in our socially responsible investment funds. Why did you choose those funds?

It was important to me to choose an ethical KiwiSaver. That's why I changed to Booster. A few years ago, some friends and I did some research about what was the most ethical KiwiSaver fund, and it was Booster's SRI fund. It was really important to me that my money was invested ethically.

There’s a lot of talk in the media about how difficult it is to get into your first home. How hard did you find the process?

I wasn’t actually looking to buy a house until I was like, “Oh I don’t want to go and find somewhere else to rent, maybe I could buy it?” So, I was very, very lucky. It’s a bit of an unusual way to go about buying a house.

Did using your KiwiSaver as a deposit make the process easier?

It wouldn’t have been possible without having a KiwiSaver deposit. Also, when you go and talk to a mortgage broker and so on, it’s a big factor when they’re looking at what you’ve got.

When you got closer to the time of withdrawing your KiwiSaver, did you do anything extra to help you grow your savings faster?

Not really. There was no forward planning for me in buying a house! I had increased my contributions a couple years ago as I changed into a better paid role, but I didn’t do anything else prior to purchasing my home.

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Withdrawing my KiwiSaver funds for my deposit was much easier than I had imagined! I had lots of crazy questions and lots of emails and the Booster team were amazing. The stress of all the things you need to do in order to buy a house and keeping track of everything – Booster made it really simple.

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Now that you’re in your first home, it can feel a bit like you’re starting from zero again. How easy have you found it to start saving into KiwiSaver again?

I mean, it’s great because it’s just part of my contributions through work. I have reduced it down to the minimum because I have to pay for things like a new roof and stuff.

What advice do you have for first home buyers planning to use their KiwiSaver as a deposit?

Just put as much as you can into it as fast as you can. My only wish was that I had started contributing to my KiwiSaver much, much earlier. Also make sure you research where your money's being invested. Booster's SRI funds mean I am able invest ethically - which is really important to me.