Planning for retirement is a bit like planting a tree. The best time to plant a tree (or start planning for retirement) was 20 years ago! The second best time to start planting or planning is now.
When we think about retirement from a financial point of view, we often plan for a very long time. With increasing life expectancy, the average Australian can spend 20 to 30 years in retirement. In today's society, some people aspire to spend almost as much of their retirement time as they have spent at work.
Too often, we hear stories of people about to retire or have just retired, and they visit a financial planner, often for the first time, to settle their retirement. After all, great and the retirement pension is very confusing, unless you have been busy for a long time.
When planners meet prospective clients to discuss retirement, it often becomes clear that the retiree does not have enough savings, especially not great savings, to support the kind of lifestyle they dreamed of.
What did I learn about retirement planning and what would I tell a "younger self"?
1. Do not think that you are too young to retire. Time passes very quickly and we are on the threshold of retirement and ask, "Where have the years gone?"
2. Save 15% of your income on a retirement savings account as early as possible. Employers are currently required to contribute 9.5% of a person's salary to Super. This should rise to 12% in the coming years. By voluntarily adding extra salary to Super, you can make the difference between a comfortable and a very modest retirement. It can also be tax-effective.
3. Eliminate debts as soon as possible. It is all too easy to immerse yourself in the traps of everyday life and consumption when looking for the latest equipment and toys. In reality, however, we often do not need them and only increase our debt.
If we want the kind of retirement we've always dreamed of, start planning as early as possible. Find a good financial planner to help you set goals, develop smart savings strategies, and invest wisely in a profitable future.
Peter Kelly | Centrepoint Alliance
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