Retirement is a time when many individuals look forward to stepping back from the workforce and enjoying their golden years. However, for a growing number of retirees, the reality is far from this idyllic vision.
For those reaching retirement age with insufficient superannuation the experience can be a daunting and stressful one.
With the cost of living increasing and longer life expectancies, it’s becoming increasingly important to have a solid savings plan in place to ensure a comfortable retirement. However, for many people, it can be difficult to build up a significant nest egg by the time they reach retirement age.
Many individuals may find themselves in this situation due to a variety of reasons such as lack of understanding of the superannuation system, insufficient contributions over the years or unexpected life events.
It’s important to note that all is not lost, as there are still strategies that can be implemented to boost your savings and ensure a comfortable retirement.
According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), the cost of a comfortable retirement for senior Australians has risen by 1.9 per cent, those over 65 now need to spend $68,014 per year for couples, and $48,266 for singles in retirement.
If you have found that your superannuation fund is not up to pace to cover the cost of a comfortable retirement, Founder and CEO of Stockspot, Chris Brycki highlights “three simple things soon to be retirees can do “to top up their super:
“If they [soon to be retiress] are not yet ready to retire financially, they should be looking at paying down any debt they might have (mortgages, credit card debts) and seek to live within a budget,” Brycki suggests.
“That is, ensure their income will be able to cover any expenses.”
Sydney based Wealth Coach Andrew Woodward from The Investor’s Way assures soon to be retirees that there are “things you can do to reach your goal”.
Woodward suggests that “if you are short of your asset goals” then “increase the amount you are putting into superannuation”.
“The best thing you can do while still working is increase the amount of money from your current income that you are investing or putting into superannuation,” Woodward says.
“Be sure you are taking advantage of the tax benefits for additional contributions to your superannuation, which can be done from pre or post tax income,” he adds.
“If you are able to divert some of your pre-tax income to superannuation you can accelerate the growth of your assets.”
Woodward advises that ” the simplest way to reduce what is required in retirement is to reassess your lifestyle and adjust your spending to align with what assets you have available to meet you expenses.”
Another measure that can help increase the amount you have in your superannuation is to “increase your income”.
“While you are thinking more about retirement than you are working harder, maybe an option to increase your income is available, this could include working more hours,” Woodward says.
“Since you are seeking to retire this would only be a short term plan to get you closer to where you need to be financially to retire.”
With the cost of living continuing to rise and many retirees not having enough saved to cover their expenses, many are being forced to find ways to make more money in retirement.
This is becoming an increasingly common problem, and it is one that is affecting retirees of all ages and income levels.
For those facing such a prospect, Woodward firstly suggest speaking “to someone about how to derive a higher return on your assets to increase the income you can derive from them”.
Woodward also stresses the importance of reducing “your expenses even further”.
“This is obviously very hard in a rising cost environment, however it may be necessary to consider whether there are any expenses that you can reduce, eliminate or defer in order to help meet your needs,” he says.
If you have moved into retirement and discover that your income is not sufficient to meet your expenses, Woodward proposes taking on part time or casual employment.
“Maybe there are some hobbies of yours that you like that can assist in deriving an income,” Woodward says.
“Look into whether there are some paid jobs you can do using these hobbies or skills you enjoy. There are a lot of retires doing hours in Bunnings stores or with Charities for a little extra cash.”
Brycki claims there are “several options to make ends meet if money becomes an issue during retirement” and also suggests that “retirees could consider taking on part time work to supplement their retirement income”.
“This could include working in an area related to their previous career or taking on a job that is flexible and allows them to continue to enjoy their retirement,” Brycki says.
Making the most of their space and even downsizing are just some of the other options Brycki suggests that could help retirees make every dollar stretch a little further.
“Retirees can consider renting out a room in their home on a platform like AirBnb, which can provide additional income and also help with the cost of maintaining the property,” Brycki says.
“Retirees can consider downsizing their home, which can help to reduce living expenses, such as mortgage payments, property taxes, and maintenance costs, as well as release equity from their home.”
Brycki also highlights the importance of “reviewing government benefits”.
“Retirees can review their eligibility for government benefits such as the Age Pension and other social security payments, and ensure they are receiving all the benefits to which they are entitled,” he says.
While reviewing what benefits you are entitled to its also worth regularly reviewing your budget to ensure your finances are on track.
“Retirees can also review their expenses, create a budget and make adjustments to their spending habits to save money,” Brycki advises.
“Retirees can seek advice from a financial adviser to help make the best decisions for their financial future.”
Finding ways to top up your superannuation can be a smart financial move for ensuring a comfortable retirement.
By being mindful of your spending, finding ways to increase your income, and seeking professional advice, you can make the most of your savings and ensure that your money lasts throughout your golden years.
It’s never too late to start thinking about your retirement and taking steps to secure your financial future.
Simply taking the time to review your superannuation and consider how you can make the most of it, will go a long way to ensuring you can enjoy a happy and financially secure retirement.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.