A comfortable retirement means different things to different people. For some people it’s business class flights to exotic locations, for others it’s a road trip to a favourite fishing spot.
But regardless of how you like to spend your time, nobody wants to spend their retirement worried about money.
The Association of Super Funds Australia defines a comfortable retirement as one in which the person can enjoy a wide range of leisure activities with the ability to enjoy a good standard of living by being able to buy the likes of household goods, private health insurance and regular holidays.
It puts the annual income needed to achieve this at $43,372 for a single, or $59,619 for a couple.
So, how can you get there?
What does exercise have to do with money? Plenty, if it means you avoid incurring expensive medical bills, and can live independently for longer. And it’s never too late. Even quite elderly people can benefit from beginning an exercise regimen, and if you do it by joining a gym or exercise group, you might also make some new friends.
Just like exercise, it’s never too late to start salary sacrificing, especially since as you approach retirement you’re likely at the peak of your earning capacity, without the expenses of children and a mortgage.
You’ll get a nice tax break on your contributions, which will only be taxed at 15 per cent if they’re under $30,000 including your employer’s contribution.
This means the impact on your take home salary will be comparatively minimal, and your super will get a nice boost right when it’s most critical. Talk to your pay office to get started.
Consider a Transition to Retirement (TTR) strategy
Most super funds offer a Transition to Retirement product. This allows people who are thinking of retiring to do so gradually, by moving to part-time work and drawing down on their super via an annuity in an amount of their choosing.
The annuity can bridge the gap between their full- and part-time salaries, while their super coffers continue to be boosted through employer contributions.
Talk to a financial adviser
Most Industry SuperFunds offer access to a financial adviser for low or no cost. He or she will be able to take into account your income, assets and plans to come up with a strategy that works for you.
In an ideal world, you’ll seek this advice in the years leading up to your retirement to give the strategy time to work, but even a rearranging of your finances at retirement could reap dividends.
Set a budget
Take a realistic look at what you spend, and why. And remember to adjust it for retirement conditions. For example, you’ll likely be spending less on public transport and workwear when you finish work, but might spend more on heating and air-conditioning.
Once you have a robust figure work backwards to discover if your retirement income will match your needs. If not, you might need to revise your budget. Look at what’s absolutely necessary, versus what’s nice to have but not essential to your happiness.
You may only need to make small adjustments, like joining the library instead of buying books, and cancelling some subscriptions, or it might require major moves like downsizing your home and topping up your super.
Keep your super invested when you retire and grow your income.
Turn your super into an income stream when you retire and you can receive a regular income to top up the Age Pension, while the balance stays invested.
Everything you need to know is at industrysuper.com