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The Systematic Guide to Achieving a Comfortable Retirement
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The Systematic Guide to Achieving a Comfortable Retirement

Happy people at old age
If you're like most of us, we all dream about the comforts, rewards and relaxation of retirement. Years of hard work finally paying off, cashing in the super, travelling the world or just having the time and money to do what you please.

This might be a reality for some, but for others, it remains just a dream - particularly if you're going to rely on the age pension to materialise those dreams.

Unless you win the Lotto, like most of us, you will need to plan ahead.

Retirement can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. In those latter years, some may want to continue working, perhaps part-time or casual or even volunteering or contributing to a cause that's close to heart. Others may strive to retire earlier than the governed age (that continually seems to push further and further away the older we get). Regardless of your intentions, it all comes down to planning and early preparation - and the sooner the better.

The difference between starting early or catching up later can mean the difference between maintaining an expected lifestyle versus sacrificing the home-comforts of now for later. The flipside of that though, is that it is not uncommon for adults to be able to save more money, more quickly in their later years - generally because they are still working full time and no longer have the financial impacts of raising a family (feeding, clothing and education etc.) or buying the big-ticket items (house, cars and furniture etc.) - either way, you will still need to plan and prepare.

So to help you plan and prepare, here are three ways to guide you in achieving a comfortable, happy retirement:

Define Your Retirement:

This is a simple, fun exercise that will help you define your retirement goals. If you're an artistic-creative type, go old-school and create a dream-board. Make a collage of magazine rip-outs or draw or paint your own reflections of your retirement dreams and goals. In addition, you will need to financially quantify those dreams and goals.

If you're a logical mathematic type, do up a spreadsheet with estimated costs and expenses so you know how much you will need. In addition, don't miss the opportunity to have some fun with pictures.

Involve partners and friends and even do a little internet research to help turn those dreams into reality. Know what they are and write them down. Tally up the cost and balance that cost against how much you'll think you'll realistically have at retirement.

If you find yourself short, there might be some strategies you can put in place now, such as investigating self-managed superannuation funds in Australia, to increase your financial returns.

Action a plan:

Now that you have defined your retirement plans, you need to formulate a plan of action.

Begin by doing a little more research into who can best help you achieve your goals.

It is likely (and research has shown) that majority of people will need the advice, direction and support from independent financial planners. Finding a local, experienced financial planner will make it easier for face-to-face meetings which intern, may allow you the opportunity to build that all important relationship and trust. In saying that, communication and building relationships is so much easier nowadays with mobiles, video calls and platform meeting rooms, so don't shy away from the distance barrier if you find someone good interstate. If you need to explore your options further than here, try Googling 'financial planning Australia' and have a search through those.

Fast Track your Dreams through Investments:

You're never too young or never too old to investigate investment opportunities yet we find the typical age bracket seems to be people in their thirties and forties. Perhaps this is a more common time where the family home has already been purchased and the thought or retirement starts looming.

There are some simple ways to fast track your retirement plans that may include swapping your superannuation fund to a self-managed superfund Australia account. These accounts may also require smart SMSF accountants.

In addition to fast tracking your dreams, you may consider a property investment plan. Property investment has a great track record when it comes to setting up your retirement, particularly now throughout the Southeast Queensland pocket including Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast regions. But be aware, there is a lot of research and experience that goes into selecting the right property at the right time, so it should be left to those with a proven history and good track record.

Planning and preparation, regardless of your age or situation, is a critical step that needs to be taken if you want to achieve a comfortable retirement.

It is imperative to review your retirement plan regularly and work with people that are qualified and experienced and have a good track record and are open to building a plan that is tailored to you and your needs.