The lead up to retirement can be an exciting time for you and your partner. Finally, all those years of hard work and sacrifice are going to start bearing fruit.
But there are several lifestyle and financial considerations you need to think about before you take the leap from full-time work to endless road trips, crossword puzzles and golf.
What are they?
The team at Muirfield Financial Services has more than 30 years’ experience guiding hard-working Australians onto the retirement runway.
But here’s my own personal checklist for would-be retirees:
1. Have a plan as to what you will do when you retire
Remember: retirement is for the rest of your life. Not for a couple of weeks. It’s important to look beyond the mammoth European holiday or the trip around Australia in the caravan and really think about what you intend to do in retirement on an ongoing basis.
Having a plan of action will, by default, help to determine your financial requirements. If you have a penchant for fine wines and premium golf courses, the more retirement income you will need.
2. Prop up your super fund for tax-effective income
Under current legislation, when superannuation enters the drawdown pension phase, both your earnings within the fund and withdrawals from the fund (for the most part) are tax-free.
You should obtain professional advice on using your superannuation investment to your best advantage both before and during retirement. Ask your financial adviser if this strategy is appropriate for your circumstances.
3. Understand your age pension and other Centrelink entitlements
The eligibility requirements for the various aspects of social security can be complicated and depending on your situation you may need to deal with the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Department of Veteran Affairs and Medicare.
You can make an appointment with us at Muirfield Financial Services to determine your eligibility for a range of payments from Centrelink.
4. Get rid of your debts
It’s more than likely you’ll be entering retirement with a mortgage hanging over your head. More than half of people aged 55+ have outstanding mortgage debt In Australia. This is up from 14% in 1990.
Retirement is not a time to have debts. Financially and emotionally it can impact your retirement outlook.
Discuss with your financial adviser how you can get rid of your mortgage debt as quickly as possible, including most investment debts since the tax deductions are likely to be minimal.
5. Do you want to leave an estate to your children?
It is common for older clients to have the objective of leaving a financial estate for their children. Doing this can sometimes be to your economic disadvantage, though.
Discuss with your financial adviser whether you want to leave a financial estate and make sure you are adequately insured.
We’ve seen retirement funds completely eroded from children returning to the fold after a marriage breakup, a severe health problem or when a child has gone bankrupt (yes this happens).
It can be financially devastating. Retirees should think seriously about seeking legal advice on asset protection.
6. Understand the importance of a budget
While a budget is essential at any age and stage of life, it is particularly important once you retire as your nest egg starts to become a finite resource.
What is a personal budget? A budget is a document that outlines your yearly income and allocates that money to your annual expenses. If there is any money left over, that’s your surplus for further investment.
Have a budget and stick to it long-term. Not just the first couple of weeks.
7. Plan for spending on expensive assets
Homes, cars, and other belongings are in a permanent state of decay.
Whether it’s a new fridge, a new roof, or a new television, ensure that your budget allows for periodic capital expenditures as the years trundle by.
Have you got a plan in place?
Every stage of life comes with an abundance of gifts and cherished memories, including retirement.
Ensure you create a detailed plan before you hang the boots up so you can enjoy every minute of your hard-earned siesta.
If you’re closing in on retirement and would like some clarification on your current financial situation, then please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 1300 242 700 or head to our website at www.muirfieldfs.com.au.