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If you’re thinking about your retirement, your thoughts shouldn’t just be about how much money you will need or how you will invest it.
Although your finances are important, there are lots of significant lifestyle and emotional issues you also need to consider if you want your retirement to be successful.
To help you, SuperGuide has put together a list of some of the key points to consider when planning your retirement – whether you have 15 years or three months to go before the big day.
Still got 10–15 years before you retire?
Although retirement is many years away, it’s important to start readying your finances and plans for retirement. Here are some issues to consider:
- Begin creating a financial plan to pay for your retirement. For more information, read SuperGuide article How to plan for your retirement.
- Set a rough date for your retirement. For more information, read SuperGuide article When should I retire?
- Investigate the annual cost of your preferred retirement lifestyle.
- Learn more about the cost of living in retirement.
- Think about whether you’ll still be financially supporting your children or your parents.
- Consider speaking to a financial adviser. For more information, read SuperGuide articles Independent financial advice: Why it’s important and how to find it and Find an Australian independent financial adviser.
- Consider how you would like to spend your time in retirement.
- List some financial and personal goals you want to achieve.
- Think about what – if any – travel you would like to undertake and how often.
- Review your hobbies and consider how much time you would like to devote to them in retirement.
- Think about any sports (e.g. golf, bushwalking) you want to pursue in retirement.
- Consider any community activities (e.g. volunteering, charity work) you want to undertake.
- Identify any new skills you could learn as part of your current employment that could be useful in retirement.
- Consider where you will want to live in retirement (e.g. your current suburb, seachange, overseas).
- Learn more about the impact of location on retirement spending.
- Think about your family circumstances and how they will affect your retirement plans (e.g. second family with young children).
- Check you have a current death benefit nomination for your super account. For more information, read SuperGuide article Who gets your super when you die? A guide to death benefit nominations.
- Ensure your have a valid will and select an executor.
- Organise an enduring power of attorney (EPOA) and advance health directive. For more information, read SuperGuide article Advance care plans: Why everyone should have one.
Still got 5–10 years before you retire?
Retirement is still a few years off, but now is the time to get serious about your plans and ensure your finances are in order. It’s time to top up your super account and really think about how you want to spend your free time in retirement. Here are some issues to consider:
- Revisit your financial plans for retirement to ensure you are still on track. For ideas on what to consider, see the following SuperGuide case studies:
- Review your planned retirement date and consider whether it’s still right for you given your current circumstances.
- Check when you are eligible to access your super and the tax implications of retiring at different ages. For more information, read SuperGuide article Your tax guide to accessing your super under age 60.
- Think about how much money you need to fund your planned retirement (both in super and outside investments). For more information, read SuperGuide article How much super do I need to retire?
- Calculate your likely retirement savings at your planned retirement date.
- Check ways to reduce any gap between how much you want to live on in retirement and your likely savings at retirement (e.g. save more, spend less, stay at work longer).
- Learn more about saving for retirement outside super.
- Add up your debts (including your mortgage) and think about ways to pay them off so you can retire debt-free.
- Check if you will be eligible for any Age Pension support. For more information, read SuperGuide article Am I eligible for the Australian Age Pension?
- Investigate other possible government assistance in retirement.
- Test new activities to make friends and contacts outside work you can socialise with in retirement.
- Consider whether you have skills that can be used to earn extra income in retirement if you need it.
- Revisit your plans on where you want to live in retirement.
- Research possible locations if you plan to move.
- Talk about retirement with your partner and ensure you both agree on planned retirement dates and lifestyle.
- Discuss how you both want to spend your retirement years and how much time you want to spend together.
- Review your death benefit nomination for your super account.
- Update your will if your family circumstances have changed (e.g. divorce). For more information, read SuperGuide article Have you got an exit plan? The importance of estate planning.
Still got 1–2 years before you retire?
Your retirement is getting close now, so it’s the time to check your plans and ensure you’re fully prepared. Here are some things to consider:
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- Review your financial plan to ensure it’s still appropriate.
- Take stock of your current financial situation and create a balance sheet of all your assets (including super and personal savings) and debts.
- Check how much Age Pension support you could receive using SuperGuide’s Age Pension calculator: How much could you be eligible for?
- Work out your likely total annual income in retirement (including income from investments such as rental property).
- Review your planned retirement date. Work out if you can still afford to retire then, or whether you will need to work for a bit longer.
- Develop a draft budget for your spending in retirement (including regular bills, holidays, home maintenance and healthcare costs).
- Check out the ASFA Retirement Standard here for ideas on how much the average retiree spends on items like food, clothing and household goods. For more information, see SuperGuide article 3 stages of retirement: How to plan your retirement spending.
- Consider speaking to a financial adviser if necessary.
- Join some community groups or start volunteering to make new friends and social contacts outside work.
- Think about how you plan to keep your mind active and engaged in retirement.
- Investigate opportunities for further education (e.g. University of the Third Age, short courses).
- Review whether you have any work goals you still want to achieve.
- Consider whether you plan to retire completely or work a few days a week.
- Talk about your retirement plans with your employer.
- Think about whether to take long-service, annual, or even extended unpaid leave before retiring permanently.
- Update any skills you could use to earn extra income in retirement if required.
- Consider whether your current home is suitable for your retirement lifestyle, or if you will need more space.
- Review your home to see if it needs any major renovations or maintenance.
- Decide whether to undertake the renovation/maintenance work now while you still have a regular income.
- Assess whether your car needs replacing and consider when is the best time to do it.
- Collect information on any retirement travel you have planned.
Only 6 months until you retire?
Things are getting serious now, so it’s time to start putting your plans into action. Here are some things to consider:
- Review the details of your financial plan.
- Obtain a retirement estimate from your super fund.
- Search for any lost super and consider rolling it into your existing super account. For more information, read SuperGuide article The easy way to find and consolidate your super.
- Review the life insurance provided by your super fund.
- Decide what you will do with your super account savings (e.g. roll into a super pension, withdraw and invest, buy an annuity).
- Think about investment options for your super pension. Learn more about investing in retirement by reading SuperGuide articles How the 10/30/60 Rule can help achieve your retirement plans and How to choose an investment option for your pension.
- Review whether you will need to generate more income from options like a reverse mortgage. For more information, read SuperGuide article What is the Pension Loan Scheme and how does it work?
- Discuss your retirement date with your family/partner to check it’s still suitable.
- Set up a regular exercise program you can continue into retirement.
- Establish a clear budget for retirement spending and ensure your partner agrees.
- Get a thorough health check.
- Update your will and ensure you review it regularly during retirement.
- Organise an enduring power of attorney and advance health directive if you don’t have them in place.
- Review your health insurance policy.
Only 3 months until you retire?
You’re about to start your new life, so put your plans into action:
- Contact your super fund to find out how to access your super balance.
- Lodge your application for the Age Pension up to three months in advance so you start being paid as soon as you retire.
- Apply for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. For more information, read SuperGuide article Commonwealth Seniors Health Card: What it is and how to apply.
- Check if you are eligible for other government benefits or services.
- Sign up for your state’s Seniors Card to save on purchases, travel and entertainment costs. For more information, read SuperGuide article Your simple guide to state Seniors Cards: How they can save you money.
- Investigate discounts offered by your state government (e.g. gas and electricity rebates, license concessions).
See also our section on preparing for retirement.
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