Is a comfortable retirement within reach for you?

When you picture your retirement, are you anxiously tracking your expenses or are you engaging in all the activities that you wanted to, confident that your money won’t run out?

Ideally, it is the latter — but there is no guarantee it will pan out that way.

Soaring inflation, a volatile share market, and change in circumstances can all spark concern about not having enough to last you in your post-work years. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to lay the groundwork for the retirement you want.

START BY FIGURING OUT HOW MUCH YOU WILL NEED

What makes a comfortable retirement will differ from person to person. Some might be planning a retirement full of travel and adventure, while others may be content to have more time to spend with family, friends, community, and on long neglected hobbies.

One useful reference point can be the Association of Super Funds Australia (ASFA) Retirement Standard.  It defines a comfortable retirement as one with enough money to cover your day-to-day needs, access private health insurance, participate in a range of leisure activities, and travel every so often.

The most recent edition of the Retirement Standard says a couple will need an annual income of about $70,806 to ensure a comfortable lifestyle in retirement, while a single person will need about $50,207.1

While figures like these can serve as a good starting point, they have a few assumptions built in — for example, that you will retire debt-free at 67, own your home, and receive a part Age Pension. At the end of the day, your situation might look very different.

You might still be paying off your mortgage or helping your children by chipping in for a home deposit of their own.  And if home ownership has eluded you, you will have to factor in ongoing rental costs. Medical expenses might be another source of budgetary strain, especially if you have an existing health condition.

HOW LONG WILL YOU BE RETIRED?

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the average life expectancy in Australia is 81.2 for men and 85.3 for Australian women.2 Assuming you’ll retire at age 67, that’s almost 20 years of retirement to fund.  Anyone planning to retire early will need to factor in a longer withdrawal horizon compared to the average.

If your finances are not on track to fund the retirement you want, then establishing a plan to boost your savings in preparation for retirement is in order.

WILL YOU TAKE UP PART-TIME WORK?

Whether out of financial necessity, or personal preference, some retirees choose to re-enter the workforce on a part-time or casual basis.  The extra income can assist to supplement retirement savings, and many retirees find the structure and social engagement work provides can improve their quality of life.

While there can be benefits to working in a part-time or casual role in retirement, consideration should be given to the impact of the extra income on your eligibility for Age Pension payments3 and to your personal tax position.

A well thought out financial plan can help by setting a course to a comfortable retirement, and it is never too early or too late to get started.  If you wish to discuss, review, or establish your own retirement plan please contact your adviser, or call the office to arrange a meeting.

Sources
1 https://www.superannuation.asn.au/ArticleDocuments/269/2308-ASFA_Retirement_Standard_Budgets_June_2023_quarter.pdf.aspx?Embed=Y

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-deaths/deaths-in-australia/contents/life-expectancy

https://www.dss.gov.au/seniors/programmes-services/working-after-pension-age