Retirement means different things to different people
For some, it means the ability to spend more time with loved ones while for others it may mean pursuing a neglected hobby or travelling the world.
Regardless of whatever retirement means to you, one thing is for sure – no one wants to spend their later years worrying about money. Some careful planning can help to set you up financially for your retirement years ahead. Even if you think you may have left it a little too late, some careful planning today can still make a difference to the quality of life you experience when you eventually decide to retire.
We are living longer than ever before
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, life expectancy in Australia is amongst the highest in the world, and on record. For example, on average, a male born between 2013 to 2015 can expect to live to 80.4 years of age, while a female can expect to live 84.5 years. So, depending on the age you retire, you may need enough money to last more than 20 years.
We often find that many people who are approaching retirement feel that they should have started their retirement plans sooner, especially if their retirement savings have declined somewhat due to volatile market conditions. However it’s never too late to start planning. In fact, we often advise clients that some structured planning in the last five to ten years before you leave the workforce can make a big difference to the quality of life you enjoy when you eventually decide to leave the workforce permanently.
Of course, starting early can make a significant difference to your retirement lifestyle, but even well-planned decisions close to retirement can have a positive impact. Don’t let procrastination or fear of the unknown deprive you of a financially secure, comfortable retirement.
There are a number issues and considerations we need to examine when it comes to effective retirement planning. This generally involves:
- Your current financial circumstances and obligations
This includes an analysis of the current household income, your assets, any savings or investments held inside and outside the superannuation environment, and so on. We’ll also need to consider your near and longer term financial commitments and obligations such as mortgage repayments on your primary home or any investment properties. Other foreseeable expenses such as funding a dependent’s education or planned overseas holidays also need to be taken into account.
- Your financial and lifestyle aspirations
Naturally ensuring that you have enough money to do what you want when you retire is an essential part of the planning process, however we believe that life is about more than just money; it’s also about ensuring that you are fulfilled emotionally and psychologically when you retire and have more time on your hands. We’ll explore these “lifestyle aspirations” you may have for the future as part of our retirement planning process.
- Your retirement timeframe horizon
Where you are now, and where you want to be in the future are key ingredients in determining how, and particularly when, you may be able to afford to retire to the lifestyle you desire.
What makes a successful retirement?
A fulfilling life is about more than just money. Many of us enjoy the social aspects of coming to work, the sense of belonging and camaraderie and working towards achieving shared goals. For others, voluntary work at a favourite charity, community group or other organisation they’re passionate about brings a sense of fulfilment that simply can’t be achieved by working for financial reward alone. It’s important to consider how you will continue to enjoy these less tangible aspects of life in retirement when you have more time on your hands.
Put simply, ensuring that you have enough money to do what you want in retirement is an important part of your retirement plans but how your life will continue to be truly rewarding and personally fulfilling is equally important and often overlooked.
The impact of retirement on household dynamics
The ability to spend more time with family is a common aim for many approaching retirement. However spending too much time with family members can lead to tension. If you and your partner are usually both at work, you may find that spending more time together can be a bit of a shock, which could lead to some strain in your relationship. Establishing some boundaries and participating in hobbies or other activities outside the home can help.
A healthy mind and body will guarantee your retirement is enjoyed to the fullest. Now that you have more time, it’s a good opportunity to spend some time maintaining or improving your health. Physical activity and eating well are important, as well as receiving regular medical check-ups. Participating in group activities can be a great way to meet new people especially if you join some exercise classes for seniors such as stretching, yoga or walking groups.
Keep your mind active
Your body may be starting to show signs of ageing, but you’re never too old to keep your mind active. You may be surprised to know that women 65 years of age and over are one of the fastest growing users of Facebook. It’s a great way to keep in touch with extended family and others you care about from the comfort of your own home. You may also wish to consider taking up a new hobby, signing up for an adult education course or joining your local library. The options are literally endless and once you start exploring you are sure to find something that will interest you. Learning in group environments is a great way to meet new people and to feel a sense of belonging with people who share similar interests.
When we no longer have the distraction of a busy work life or professional commitments to occupy our thoughts, you may find yourself thinking more deeply about your life’s experiences, your purpose in the universe and the world around you. With more time on your hands, you may find that you have the ability to focus more on your spiritual health.
Maintaining social networks
Retirement can bring about a sense of loneliness for those that have grown accustomed to having regular social contact at work. Without regular social contact retirees can fall prone to loneliness and isolation which may ultimately lead to anxiety and depression. For your own psychological and emotional wellbeing it’s important to consider how you will remain socially active once you are in retirement. For example, you may wish to give some consideration to joining a book club, local charity or community group.
How much is enough?
It’s different for everyone
Everyone’s needs and expectations in retirement will be different, however as a general guide, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) suggests that for a modest lifestyle, a single retiree needs about $30,063 a year while a couple will need about $43,250 a year.
To live comfortably, a single retiree needs about $47,383 a year, while a couple will need $66,725 a year. This amount takes into consideration a car, clothes, private health insurance and leisure activities such as entertainment and holidays. These figures assume retirees own their own home and are relatively healthy.
Note: These figures were correct at the end of June 2022, but inflation means retirement costs will rise over time.
For most of us, our superannuation savings will form a substantial part of our retirement plans. Your superannuation balance is largely influenced by a number of factors such as how long you’ve been saving in the superannuation environment, what your investment returns have been like over time, and the contributions made by you and/or your employer. Generally speaking, your retirement will be more comfortable and financially secure if you are in a position to make extra contributions into your super fund over and above the contributions made by your employer.
Ideally, you should start making additional contributions as soon as you can afford, but it’s particularly important to do so in the years leading up to retirement. It’s often useful to have some savings outside of the superannuation environment, as there are access restrictions on the amount of money you can put into superannuation (which are determined by your age).
Feel free to contact our Paris Financial Financial Wealth team to discuss your retirement needs further (03) 8393 1000.
This document provides some insight into the issues and considerations you need to think about when planning for retirement. It’s designed to be of a general nature only, and doesn’t contain any recommendations, offers or invitations to buy any financial products. Before making any investment decisions about your retirement, you should evaluate the extent to which this information is appropriate to your individual investment objectives, risk profile, financial situation and other requirements. A financial adviser can help you with this process.