How to make sure you'll get the most out of your retirement.
Retirement planning should never be an afterthought. It plays too vital a role in your life to be continuously put off, ignored, or done poorly.
Some people experience a lot of anxiety about not having enough money to support them through retirement. Other people just don't consider it at all and unexpectedly find themselves in a difficult financial situation later in life.
Simply making a realistic and workable retirement plan can help to alleviate those problems.
It’s not too early to start planning for retirement. The sooner you begin, the better prepared you’ll be, and you will be more likely to enjoy financial independence throughout your golden years.
1. Appraise your finances.
Look at your current financial situation and ask yourself questions that will guide you through planning your retirement.
What assets do you have and how much are they worth? This includes your house, your savings, and any investments you have set up.
How much super do you have, and when can you access it?
When can you apply for the age pension? Are you likely to eligible?
Look at your different sources of income. Can you organise to use these different sources to fund you at different stages of your life?
Based on your financial situation, when can you realistically retire? Is that in line with when you want to retire? If not, bridging that gap might mean making some decisions about budgeting and compromising.
2. Adopt long-term thinking.
You must be looking at the rest of your life, not just the next five, seven or even ten years.
Take a look at your lifestyle
Can you realistically sustain that into retirement?
Will you have to change certain things about the way you live?
If so, when you do need to make those changes? (The answer is probably sooner rather than later).
What are you not willing to compromise on?
How will your needs will change over time?
You may want to travel after retirement. You may find you spend more money on funding hobbies, activities or social events. And there is always the looming issue of potential health problems that may come with a big price tag.
3. Optimise your retirement income.
Set a budget.
Assess your financial situation and create a realistic budget to stick to. Income sources such as superannuation offer are finite. If you don't calculate your savings and spendings properly you could burn through it all in a very short space of
It's important to make an effort to pay off debts quickly now, so they do not linger into retirement and cut into your finite income.
Consider alternative sources of income.
Leaving your money in the bank and assuming it will earn enough interest to keep you going isn't necessarily the best option. You can consider other options such as investing in assets that will grow over time, like property or shares.
However, make sure do you do research, identify the risks, and avoid getting caught up in the hype of “get rich quick schemes”. If you’re not sure, ask for advice.
Take advantage of entitlements like Seniors Cards that will give you discounts, it will help you stick to your budget.
Transition out of work slowly.
The best way to increase your retirement income is obviously to retire later so you can keep saving. If that's not an option, consider moving to part-time work, and then slowly transitioning into retirement.
4. Consider other factors.
Something many people don’t take into account when planning for retirement is their mental health. Some people experience loneliness, boredom, depression or anxiety during retirement. Make sure you acknowledge that you may face those feelings, and consider how you might be able to overcome them.
There may be a monetary cost in staying socially active and keeping up with weekly activities, but it can have a huge impact on the quality of your retirement.
Who are the other people involved in your life that will be affected by your decision to retire?
If you have children, how old will they be when you plan to retire? Early retirement might mean you're forking out for school fees on a limited budget.
What will happen if your partner, or one of your children falls ill and needs expensive medical attention?
5. Get professional advice.
Many professionals such as tax advisors and accountants (like us) offer tailored retirement planning services. Speak to someone who can talk you through different strategies for budgeting, saving money, investing and other financial planning matters.