Below are some of the commonly asked questions by members along with their answers.
Savings and account details
1. What is the difference between a PIN and password?
Complex passwords are the best way to keep your savings account digitally secure. Occasionally we might use a four digit PIN for verification, or you might have one if you joined the Scheme prior to the introduction of complex passwords.
CERT NZ recommends long and strong passwords because they are much harder for attackers to crack. They recommend creating a passphrase that is a string of four or more words as it is easier to remember and is stronger than a random mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
2. How do I reset my password?
You can reset your password online at any time. Visit www.teachersretire.org.nz and click “Log In” shown in the top right of the page. Then click “Reset your PIN/password” under the “Sign in” box.
To reset your password, or to register for a password to use this site, you require:
(If you don't have all of the above information, or if you are having trouble using this service, please call Helpline on 0508 4 83224).
After entering your member number and date of birth in the fields and clicking “Submit”, you will receive an email containing instructions on how to reset your password. Please check your email and follow the instructions within 30 minutes to continue the process. If you do not follow the instructions within 30 minutes, the reset Password/register process will have to be restarted for security reasons.
3. What are the key features of website?
The website offers a range of features including quick access to your account information, annual confirmations, and your recent activity. You can also source information about the Scheme including newsletters, investment information (for example member booklet, SIPO, monthly investment market commentary), and update your account profile (investment option switches, contact details, communications preference).
4. What does Helpline support with?
Helpline is your first contact for any questions about the Teachers Retirement Saving Scheme. They cover a range of different topics including:
5. How do I contact Helpline?
Helpline’s contact details are available here.
Savings and account details
6. What is my current balance, or how do I access my annual confirmation?
Your online account shows your current balance as at the time you logged in. It shows the total balance, and a breakdown of contributions. Additionally you can access your yearend annual confirmations for prior financial years.
7. How do I change investment options?
You can refer to the Member booklet for information regarding each investment fund.
If you want to proceed with changing your investment option(s), you can do this online at any time. There is no charge for the first investment switch made within the financial year (1 July – 30 June). However, a fee applies for any subsequent changes during the same financial year. You can also make changes to the investment fund(s) by filling and returning the Form 1- Investment alteration request.
8. How do I change my contact details?
Login to your account and edit your personal details. You can also indicate your communications preferences, opting for either email or post.
9. What are the current fees?
Fees may change occasionally so please refer to the helpline for more information.
10. How do I change my contribution amount?
Download, complete and return Form 5 – Application to vary, suspend or restart contributions
To change, suspend or restart your contributions you will need to complete Form 5 - Vary or suspend contributions form which is available on the Documents page, and return to the Scheme Administrator at email@example.com
This form gives you the option to change, suspend, recommence and the option to also contribute to your KiwiSaver scheme. As of 01 October 2016, lump sum contributions to your account are not available for the TRSS.
Contribution changes are confirmed by the MOE via your pay slips by your pay provider - not Mercer.
Please ensure that you put the whole percentage that you want taken from your salary on the form. For example if your current contribution rate is 5 percent, but you want to add a further 3 percent, you will need to write it as 8 percent on the form. The two types of accounts that members can contribute to are the basic and voluntary account. Your voluntary account can be accessed and withdrawn at any time, whereas your basic account has limitations.
Please refer to the below contribution table for your withdrawal options:
The limit on changing contribution levels is 3 times per year (unless the Ministry of Education approves any further changes).
If you are a subsidised member (i.e. your employer is contributing to the scheme on your behalf), you can choose to contribute any percentage of your salary with a minimum of 1% and any multiple of 0.5%. (For example, 2.5% or 3% but not 2.75%.) Your contributions up to 3% of your salary are allocated to your Basic Account. Contributions in excess of 3% of your salary are classified as voluntary contributions and allocated to your Voluntary Account. If you are an unsubsidised member (i.e. your employer is not contributing to the scheme on your behalf) and you joined your current school on or after 1 July 2007, the minimum member contribution is 4% of your salary. You may contribute more, which must be a multiple of 0.5% of your salary. All member contributions must be made through payroll.
11. What is the Scheme’s stance on sustainable investment?
Did you know that the Teachers Retirement Savings Scheme invests sustainably? The Scheme’s investments are managed in a way that is sustainable for the environment and society and in a way that can also deliver better long term investment returns. Mercer, the manager of the Scheme’s investments, is a global leader in sustainable investment and generating a positive environmental and social impact alongside financial returns is one of their key priorities. The investment options you invest in, actively invest in companies involved in providing solutions to the world's sustainability challenges, like renewable energy, water infrastructure and pollution control.
Mercer believes a sustainable investment approach is more likely to create and preserve long-term investment capital and, more specifically, that:
1. ESG factors can have a material impact on long-term risk and return outcomes and these are integrated into the investment process.
2. Mercer is a “manager of managers”. To identify the best opportunities to invest your money, their global research team have rated thousands of managers on their ability to invest funds and consider ESG factors in the investment process. Frameworks such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) help inform Mercer’s sustainable investment approach and the companies they invest in.
With a robust rating system for actively monitoring managers’ ESG activities (such as measuring carbon footprint and alignment with the UN SDGs), Mercer’s investment managers positively influence the companies your money is invested in by engaging with them, particularly on sustainability topics such as environmental records and carbon disclosure.
3. Climate change poses a systemic risk, and investors should consider the potential financial impacts of both the associated transition to a low-carbon economy and the physical impacts of different climate outcomes.
Mercer considers these potential financial impacts at a diversified portfolio level, in portfolio construction within asset classes, and in investment manager selection and monitoring processes. Together with ongoing research, the potential financial impacts of climate change are included in Mercer’s modelling estimates under multiple climate scenarios for physical damage and transition risk factors.
4. Stewardship (or active ownership) supports the realisation of long-term shareholder value by providing investors with an opportunity to enhance the value of companies and markets. Consequently, Mercer believes that a sustainable investment approach that considers these risks and opportunities is in the best interests of the members.
Want to know more? Check out Mercer’s Sustainable Investment Policy.
12. What financial advice is available?
Our financial advice page has a few links to organisations that offer various financial planning and advice services. These are a good starting point.
13. When can I access my money?
Since the primary purpose of TRSS is for retirement, there are restrictions on when withdrawals can be made. Please refer to the Member booklet for more information.
14. What should I do before retiring?
Some things you may want to consider could be:
15. What are some tools to help me plan for my future retirement?
Sorted.org.nz have a range of different online tools that can help with financial planning for retirement, KiwiSaver, budgeting, home buying, and investing. Visit www.sorted.org.nz/tools for more details.