Retirement planning: strategies for securing a comfortable retirement and a legacy of wealth
15 March 2023
When we hear the word retirement, it sounds like some sort of mythical place that we know we’ll reach one day, but not today. Even in your late 50s it can still seem so far away that it's difficult to feel ready to do something about it - that is, until it’s too late.
While it’s not always a comfortable topic, retirement planning is a journey we all should embark on at some point and the earlier you do, the more likely you are to get the most out of your non-earning years.
In order to live the life you desire long into the future, there are some strategies you can employ right now that can make all the difference to your dream retirement. Let’s take a closer look at why retirement planning is essential and what you can do to prepare.
Why retirement planning is essential
In our Managing Wealth Report, we asked respondents to tell us what their current superannuation balance is. While Gen X, who typically are at the peak of their working years, recorded a higher super balance than younger generations, nearly 40% (and more than 30% of Baby Boomers) said they have below $79,999 in their super balance, potentially leaving them underfunded in retirement .
This unpreparedness, coupled with the apparent risk of inflation, suggests many retirees could end up with savings that can barely support a comfortable lifestyle, let alone maintain the one they already have. As a result, some may come to depend on their children for upkeep and healthcare costs.
Sure, in a perfect world planning for retirement early allows you to secure enough savings for a comfortable retirement, but it doesn’t always work out this way. So, what happens when you’re in your 50s with no plan in sight? Is it too late? The short answer is no, but time is of the essence. There are critical decisions to be made now that can help you enjoy a stress-free retirement in the not-too-distant future.
Financial strategies for retirement planning
Before implementing financial strategies for your retirement goals, start by budgeting to understand how much money you need to finance your lifestyle and achieve other goals. Generally, you should factor in expenses like housing costs (if you're still repaying your mortgage or renting), food, health care costs, utilities, transport, and leisure. Assuming you've repaid your mortgage, you can estimate your retirement expenditures at two-thirds of your current living costs .
With the budget in hand, you can then work on some of the following wealth management strategies to maximise your income.
Maximise superannuation contributions
One way of boosting your retirement income is by maximising your superannuation contributions. Super is a stable investment that can help you reduce taxes as well. Some of the ways you can make extra contributions include salary sacrificing, personal concessional contributions, and non-concessional contributions . However, excess contributions can attract additional taxes, so you should stick within the maximum contribution limits to minimise your tax liabilities.
Invest in low-risk, high-return investments
As you near retirement, consider a more conservative mix of investments comprising low-risk, high-return assets. A well-balanced portfolio allows you to leverage higher returns and continue growing your investment while cushioning you from the risks of a highly volatile asset mix. For example, depending on your risk tolerance, you can create a mix of bonds, mutual funds, real estate, and some stocks.
Minimising tax liabilities during retirement can prevent more leaks from your retirement kitty. There are a handful of tax-effective strategies you can employ to achieve this. For instance, you could commence an account-based pension, invest in a self-managed super fund (SMSF), and make deductible super contributions.
Once you reach retirement age, you could consider applying for the Senior Australians Tax Offset (SATO) to enjoy the tax offsets (low-income tax offset, tax-free threshold).
Estate planning is another must-have strategy when preparing for retirement. Death is unpredictable, and having an estate plan provides clear instructions about what should happen to your assets once you die. It grants your loved ones more peace of mind by avoiding stressful court processes in addition to dealing with your loss.
An estate plan also makes the estate management transition easier should you become incapacitated and unable to make critical decisions about your affairs. Mainly, estate planning involves things such as creating an inventory of your assets and debts, nominating beneficiaries, creating a Will, choosing an executor, appointing a power of attorney and establishing other directives (e.g., submitting a benefit nomination to your super fund), and updating the will regularly to reflect changes to your estate, among others.
Non-financial strategies for retirement planning
Besides what we’ve just covered, there are also non-financial strategies that can help you maximise your retirement income.
Is your home bigger than you need? You could sell it and buy a smaller home to generate more funds. Another alternative is selling the home and relocating to a cheaper state or city once you retire.
You could also downsize your debt, e.g., accelerating your mortgage payments or limiting new debt so you can retire debt-free.
Making lifestyle changes
Making changes to your lifestyle can have a significant impact on your retirement expenditures. As mentioned above, relocating to a low-cost area can help reduce your expenses. You could also consider revising your priorities to minimise your living costs.
Keeping active by participating in social activities or working part-time can immensely benefit your health and even minimise healthcare costs.
Working part-time or starting a business
Continuing working in retirement not only keeps you active and healthy, but you also get to earn more income to boost your retirement income. You could transition into working part-time, retrain if you desire to pursue a different career path or even start a business.
How Findex can help
At Findex, our experienced wealth management team can help you understand your retirement needs and income streams, then work closely with you to develop a customised plan to assist you to meet your goals.
Some of the services you can expect to find include; investment advice, wealth management for families, personal insurance, estate and legacy planning, and financial modelling. Findex can also provide business advisory for those seeking a diverse range of financial needs.
Not only do we believe that retirement planning is the secret sauce to a comfortable retirement, we also believe in helping you build a secure financial future for your family. When you’ve worked hard to grow and maintain your wealth, it seems only reasonable that we empower the next generation through family wealth education, and help to facilitate the transfer of your wealth and financial wisdom to your loved ones.
When preparing for retirement, you should know how much money you will require to retire comfortably. We also recommend looking beyond retirement to ensure your family members are well taken care of and that they understand the gravity of inheriting intergenerational wealth.
At Findex, we are dedicated to helping you make wise financial strategies to help secure a comfortable retirement and create a legacy of wealth. Talk to us today by submitting this form, and let us help you create a financial plan for you and your family’s needs.
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 Managing Wealth Report, Findex, November 2022
 Prepare to retire, moneysmart.gov.au
 Super, ATO, October 2021