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& Hints and tips

Retirement planning: five tips to get you started

Image of a young family walking along the beach at sunset

A relaxing retirement is a goal for many people and taking the time to revisit your retirement plans is a great way to stay on track with your goals.

Are you getting ready to reach your goal retirement age? Or do you want to make sure you will still have enough money to live the lifestyle you want in retirement?

We have created five tips of things to think about when looking at your retirement plans, with some handy Government resources where you can get further information.

Tip #1: Set a goal retirement age (if you haven’t already)

You may already have a goal age in mind for when you would like to retire or step back from full time work.

Knowing what age you would like to retire means you can plan ahead and set clear financial goals. If you haven’t already, make some time to set a vision for when you would like to retire. Remember that retirement may mean different things for different people, and your retirement may include dropping your hours to part time work to ease into retirement over a number of years.

The Australian Government’s Moneysmart website has a handy calculator that allows you to estimate how much super you will have at your goal retirement age to help in your planning.

Tip #2: Think about how you’d like to use your time in retirement

Have you thought about what retirement looks like for you and your family? If not, think about how you’d like to spend the seven-and-a-half hours each week day you may have spent at full time work once you’re retired.

Perhaps an annual holiday is in your plans, or living in another country for six months each year. Now’s the time to think about those bucket list items you have wanted to do and will finally have time for.

Maybe you’ll be spending time caring for your grandkids, volunteering, or taking up part time or casual work?

Australian Government’s Services Australia website has a list of lifestyle considerations that can help you develop your retirement plan.

Tip #3: Work out how much you’ll need to save for retirement

Now that you know when and how you would like to spend your time when you retire, you can set realistic financial goals. This will include how much you will need to save to support your retirement plans.

One way to do this is to create a budget of expenses to provide you with a good overview of your day-to-day living costs. You can then look at the costs for your future big-ticket items, such as holidays, to get an idea of any extra spending. Don’t forget to incorporate any income if you’re planning on maintaining some part time or casual work.

You can use the Moneysmart Retirement Planner to estimate how much income you will have when you retire, taking into account any age pensions and your superannuation income. This is also a great time to talk to a financial planner, who can help you set personalised financial goals and a plan to achieve those.

Tip #4: Take control of your superannuation (super)

No matter your age or where you are in your retirement journey, staying on top of your superannuation is important as this will become part of your income once you enter retirement. The first step is knowing how much you have in super. Then you can make changes to your investment plans as you get closer to retirement or change your lifestyle if you are overspending.

Some super funds have an online portal or mobile app so you can check your balance yourself. If not, get in touch with your super fund and they will be able to help you out.

It’s also a good idea to know where all your super is. You may have various amounts invested across different funds from various employers in your working life, or you might have ‘lost’ amounts in accounts you’ve forgotten about or invested in your previous name.

The ATO and Moneysmart websites have some great tips on how to search for lost super, and the Moneysmart website superannuation calculator can help you estimate the impact of voluntary contributions to your superannuation balance at your retirement age. Moneysmart also has useful information about searching for unclaimed money in your name, including shares and bank accounts.

Tip #5: Investigate the Government financial support available to you

Depending on your circumstances you may be eligible for Government benefits when you retire, such as the Age Pension or a concession card. Eligibility is based on your age, assets and income, so talk to a financial planner to find out more about your circumstances and what you might be eligible for.

To get started, the Moneysmart or Services Australia websites have more information on the Government benefits available during retirement.

 

Disclaimer

This is general information only. If you are seeking personalised advice, please speak to a licensed financial planner.

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