You’ve said you’d do it for years but now you really want to – you want to retire. Whether you’re 60 or 75, retiring is never going to be straightforward, but it can be easier with some prior planning and foresight. We have compiled the ultimate pre-retirement checklist so you can start today. Planning your retirement will give you the best chance of achieving the financial security and the lifestyle you want in the years ahead. It also helps you take control of your own life.
Let’s not beat around the bush: your life expectancy will play a role in how long you can expect your retirement savings to last. If you only plan to live to 75 but you end up living to 95, that’s 20 years you didn’t account for. The average Australian life expectancy is 82.1 years.
• Are you or your partner ready to retire from full-time work?
• Are there other work goals that you would like to achieve?
• What will you do when you retire?
• Have you considered part-time work so you can transition to retirement?
• Have you thought about taking long-service leave or a long holiday before retiring permanently?
• Have you developed or decided on meaningful activities to replace work?
• What are some of the changes you might encounter in retirement?
• What can you do now to minimise problems in retirement?
• What are your financial circumstances?
• Are you supporting dependent children?
• How long can you live on your savings?
• Are you eligible for an age pension or part age pension?
Once you’ve decided and answered all the above questions, you need to make some goals. Perhaps one is to leave your full time work and transition to part time within a year, or perhaps it is to join in with a community group. Forget what you may have seen happen to your friends or family, your retirement success can be as great as you make it.
It is not the greatest idea to completely cut yourself off from work and your colleagues and what’s familiar to you when you decide to retire. If you do this, you could lose your sense of happiness and purpose. Find somewhere to volunteer or socialise before you retire so you can see if it’s for you. You need to decide how you will be spending your time and you can:
Adjusting to retirement can take a little while as initially it can feel like a honeymoon period. You’re having fun with all your free time but suddenly it can feel like you have too much time and too little to do. As mentioned above, one of
the best ways to help yourself adjust to retirement is to develop meaningful activities and a purposeful, fun and exciting routine. Just having something to look forward to in your week can make all the difference. Remember: retirement should be a time of relaxation – you’ve paid off the home and the kids have left home.
Your health is crucial to the quality of your retirement so it’s important to have all necessary checks before taking the leap. Growing older and retiring doesn’t mean you will be sick or disabled, in fact, this could be the time of your life where you can truly focus on your health and wellbeing. Here are some examples of what you can do to make sure you stay well and happy for many years to come:
Where you’re getting your money from and how much is crucial to your living standards in retirement. If you have assets and a super fund, it’s worthwhile speaking to a financial advisor. If you simply have super, are continuing to work and transition slowly, or you only have a pension, consider these questions:
With retirement comes a lot of changes, particularly in your living situation. You may find that you want to downsize or move into a lifestyle village to be around likeminded individuals. So what are your options?
When you are of retirement age (see here), you may become eligible for reductions to services and bills such as:
For more information on benefits for older Australians, visit the Human Services website here.
ASFA retirement income standard
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) offers a quarterly benchmark so that you see how much you will need to fund your retirement.
Managing money in retirement
The Money Smart website has plenty of tips on how to save, invest, plus calculator to help with your planning before and during retirement. You can also find lost super and bank accounts here!
Provides information to assist people with modest savings who are investing for retirement or facing redundancy to make the best possible investment decisions they can.
Seniors and retirees
If you are over 55, retired or thinking about retirement, you might need to consider how your taxation and superannuation interests will be affected by the decisions you make about income, working and retirement.
What did you do before you retired? How did you plan for it? Was it as easy or hard as you thought? Share your thoughts below.