If you’ve spent the last 30 to 40 years in the workforce there’s a good chance you’ve started thinking about retirement. Which means you probably have some questions. Like when exactly can I retire?
The good news is you can retire whenever you're ready. If you happen to win the lottery you can retire tomorrow. The real issue is superannuation, the Age Pension, and how you’re going to support yourself when you decide to put your feet up.
Most Australians can’t access their super until after they turn 60 years old. And if you’re eligible, you may have to wait until you’re 67 years old before you can claim the Age Pension.
A financial planner can help you navigate the rules around retirement. But in the meantime, we can help provide an overview.
A roadmap for retirement
If you’re thinking about retirement, you’re going to need a plan. That means being able to answer some key questions around income, living expenses, and what that means for your lifestyle in retirement. Here are some key items to consider.
A source of income.
Most Australians retire on a combination of their super and the Age Pension. This means even a modest super balance can be topped up with Age Pension payments to help you enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle.
But there are restrictions on when you can access your super and / or the Age Pension. Generally speaking, you can access your super once you:
- Change jobs on or after age 60, or
- Reach your preservation age and retire from the workforce, or
- Reach age 65.
If you were born after 30 June 1964 your preservation age is 60. For anyone born before that date, you can view your preservation age via this online table.
To qualify for the Age Pension, you need to meet both the age conditions and Centrelink’s assets and income tests. Note that the assets tests and income tests work on a sliding scale – so while you might not qualify for the full amount you may still qualify for a reduced fortnightly payment. You can find specific details on the services Australia website.
A financial plan for the future
A financial plan provides peace of mind. It lets you estimate your income, expenses, and how long your super may last in retirement. It can also help you grow your savings and your super even after you retire.
Speaking with a financial planner can help you create a personalised retirement income strategy. It also ensures you’re receiving the tax benefits and other support services you may be eligible for.
An initial appointment with one of our planners# is available at no charge. You can learn more online.
Your mortgage and / or housing options
Mortgage repayments are the single largest expense for most households. If you’re approaching retirement and have a mortgage you’ll need to think about your options, and how they may impact your future income and government entitlements. Do you:
1. Pay off the mortgage with a lump sum super payment?
2. Downsize the home and put more money back into your super?
3. Continue to make mortgage repayments?
There are a number of options available, and a financial planner can help you understand the potential benefits and issues with each.
Your lifestyle changes
Money tends to dominate the conversation whenever retirement comes up. How much do I need? How much will I have? While those are valid questions, retirement isn’t just about your bank balance, it also represents a huge lifestyle change. Having a sense of purpose and activities to fill your days can help ease the transition.
A 9-5 job provides plenty of benefits including the friendships you share, and the sense of identity it can provide. Suddenly losing these can have a profound effect on people, especially when it happens overnight. So, if you’re starting to think about retirement, it’s also worth thinking about your new life, and how you plan to fill your days.
That may mean volunteer work, gardening, a new hobby or simply spending time with the grandkids. Everyone’s answer is different, but it’s worth considering your options.
Speak to a financial planner
Whether you’re ready to retire or just thinking about it, an Equip financial planner can help you better understand your options. That may mean a gradual transition to retirement, or a long-term strategy to help you retire early. Either way, the first appointment is obligation free and available at no charge.^