Plan early, prevent pitfalls

SMART: It's never too early to plan for retirement. Do you really want to find yourself thinking, ‘Hmmm, I feel healthy enough to live to age 80 but can I afford to?’

SMART: It's never too early to plan for retirement. Do you really want to find yourself thinking, ‘Hmmm, I feel healthy enough to live to age 80 but can I afford to?’

ADVERTISING FEATURE

Retiring from work can be an incredibly emotional experience, whether they be good or bad emotions.

Planning early gives you plenty of time to research and weigh up your options before you make some very important decisions regarding the rest of your life.

You might feel ready to retire, but whether your finances can support the lifestyle you wish to live in your golden years is another matter.

With people living longer and healthier lives, planning for retirement in many cases involves planning for financial security over many more years than it did in the past.

GOALS: The earlier you map out your financial future, the more options you have to boost the quality of life in your remaining years, which hopefully will be many!

GOALS: The earlier you map out your financial future, the more options you have to boost the quality of life in your remaining years, which hopefully will be many!

Indeed, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (November 2014), the average life expectancy for a 65-year-old man is about 19 more years, and 22 years for a woman.

This advertising feature is sponsored by the following business. Click the link to learn more:

Good retirement planning is not just about your immediate living expenses.

It takes into account longer-term costs such as aged care. Depending on the aged care provider and your circumstances, this can put a massive strain on your finances.

If you are thinking about retirement, it is a good idea to consult one of the many free online calculators available from a trusted source such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Retirement Planner at www.moneysmart.gov.au

This calculator will help you work out what income you are likely to have from super and the age pension when you retire and how contributions, investment options, fees and retirement age affect your retirement income from super.

Contacting a Department of Human Services (DHS) financial information service officer can also help you make sense of your options, and provide information about accessing the age pension.

A licensed financial adviser can help you assess your current position, your short and long-term needs, financial strategies for achieving your goals and the tax and social security implications.

Wherever you choose to seek advice, things it can be important to ask about or consider include the following;

  • Can you access superannuation and, if not, when will you be able to?​
  • Is it possible to use a ‘transition to retirement’ strategy to reduce working hours while maintaining enough income?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of withdrawing your superannuation as a lump sum?
  • What low-tax retirement income streams are available to you?
  • What risky or more complex strategies and investments should you steer clear of or think twice about?
  • What is the best way to leave an inheritance for your dependants?