Plan ahead for retirement

ENJOY LIFE: Start planning well in advance so you can enjoy a comfortable retirement lifestyle.
ENJOY LIFE: Start planning well in advance so you can enjoy a comfortable retirement lifestyle.

How many times during your working career have you stopped and thought "I can't wait until I can retire"? But have you actually done anything to ensure you will be able to retire comfortably when that time comes?

Like anything in life if 'you fail to plan, you plan to fail' and retirement is one of those life events that we need to think about well ahead of time.

Each person has a different picture of their ideal retirement - some may want to travel the country or the world, some may wish to downsize their home, some want to spend more time enjoying their hobbies, while others plan to take care of the grandkids or work in a volunteer capacity.

Whatever your lifestyle will be you can't leave retirement planning until a few years before you retire.

It is ideal if you start thinking about your retirement about 15 to 20 years before you expect to retire. That way you will have the time to make adjustments if your retirement nest egg isn't what you were expecting. However, even starting five to 10 years before retirement can help boost your savings.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) said December quarter 2019 figures indicate that couples aged around 65 need to spend $62,269 per year with singles spending $44,146 to maintain a comfortable lifestyle (assuming retirees own their homes).

This will allow them to be involved in a broad range of leisure and recreational activities and to be able to buy household goods, private health insurance, a reasonable car, good clothes, a range of electronic equipment and domestic and occasionally international holiday travel.

The ASFA says even maintaining a modest lifestyle will cost couples aged 65 about $40,560 per year or $28,165 for singles.

Many people assume they will spend less money in later retirement and the Age Pension will be sufficient for their needs, but this isn't always the case. Seeking the help of a certified financial adviser who specialises in retirement planning is certainly a good place to start when it comes to getting your finances in order.

Retirement age is a personal decision. Most people retire once they can access their super and/or the Age Pension. An early retiree under 55 years of age is not able to access superannuation or the Government Age Pension so another source of income is needed. To be eligible for the Age Pension retirees must be 66 years or older.

Another option when you are approaching retirement age is to reduce your working hours and begin accessing some of your super via a transition to retirement (TTR) strategy.

Get planning, talk to a financial adviser or try using one of the free online calculators to ensure you'll be ready for your retirement.