Retirement – are you ready?29 Jul 2021 5 min read
Now is the time to prepare
Retirement will look different to everyone. Some like to travel and invest time in hobbies; others want to renovate or relax at home. Whatever your ideal retirement looks like, it's a significant change that you should plan for.
Stopping work means your usual income stops too, but you’ll still need to fund your living costs and additional expenses that may arise. What’s more, Australians are living longer, and — depending on when you retire — you may need to fund yourself for 20 to 30 years of retirement. While it can sound daunting, it’s important to think about these things so you can plan and equip yourself for the retirement you want.
It’s never too late to make a plan, but the earlier you start, the better — that includes you 30-somethings!
Here are some things to think about when you're planning for retirement.
You’ll still need to fund living expenses, like groceries, utility bills and some insurances. Unless you've paid up your mortgage, you’ll still need to make your monthly repayments.
Some living expenses may decrease — you may not use public transport as often or buy as many coffees.
Consider what you spend money on now, how likely that will be to continue, and what extra expenses you may have.
Additional medical costs
Increased medical costs often come with aging. Even if you’re relatively healthy, you should factor in the chance of more medical expenses during retirement.
Will you be taking holidays? Or renovating your house? Do you have hobbies you want to invest in? Are there loved ones you’ll still need to support? Retirement should be enjoyable, but you’ll need to fund these additional expenses.
Once you're eligible to access your super, you can choose to open an income account that pays you regularly, just like your salary would. Often, people find their money easier to manage like this, rather than as a lump sum. Another advantage is that your money remains invested in a tax-effective environment. You’ll also have the option to withdraw lump sums whenever you need to.
Alternatively, you can withdraw your super as a lump sum once you’re eligible, or withdraw a portion and use the rest to open an income account.
Savings and investments
If you’ve got savings or investments, consider whether you’ll need to use them to help fund your retirement expenses.
Government age pension
You may be eligible to receive all or part of the government age pension. While it’s certainly helpful, many find that relying on it alone makes for frugal living.
It’s never too early to start preparing for retirement
Super and retirement
The superannuation system is specifically designed to help fund your retirement. The more you save in super, the more options you’re likely to have during retirement. That’s why we say it’s never too early to start preparing — being on top of your super during working life can make the world of difference when it's time to retire.
There are various ways to boost your retirement savings that are worth exploring, such as:
Consolidating your super
Many Australians find themselves with multiple super accounts, particularly after a string of job changes. It’s simple to find the super accounts in your name through Member Online or the Australian Taxation Office website. Once you find them, you can consolidate them into one, so you're not paying multiple sets of fees. To find out more, visit our page Consolidate super.
Start putting more in
A little more now can mean a lot more later. Choose the method of super contributions that suit you best:
After-tax contributions could make you eligible for the government co-contribution. That means the government may match a portion of your contribution to reward your savings efforts.
Salary sacrifice means your contribution amount will only be taxed within your super and not at your marginal tax rate. In effect, the amount you contribute to super is larger than the reduction of your salary.
Boost your partner’s super through either spouse contributions or contribution splitting. These are good options if your partner’s super balance is low or they’re taking a career break.
Talking to an expert
Super can appear quite complex, but help is available. NGS members have access to:
Webinars and seminars aimed specifically at retirement planning and Centrelink arrangements for retirement. These sessions aim to educate our members on the finer details of retirement and the options available. There's opportunity to ask questions that may arise throughout.
Customer Relationship Managers visit workplaces and often provide one-to-one appointments for staff on premises.
Financial Advice Helpline is there to help out with questions you feel may be easiest answered over a quick phone call.
NGS Financial Planners can create tailored plans based on your personal circumstances and goals.
You can explore these options further on our page Advice services.
Ultimately, retirement is something we should look forward to. The earlier you plan and prepare, the more you’ll be able to relax and enjoy this phase of your life.