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Our Top 5 Retirement Tips (to Start at Any Age)

middle-aged couple relaxing

It’s never too early, or too late, to plan for retirement.

We all have a goal of enjoying a happy and healthy lifestyle following our working years. It takes some foresight to achieve that goal.

That’s true whether you have done meticulous planning with a financial adviser, or you’re just starting to think about what you’ll need when you finish working.

So let’s look at our top 5 retirement tips to start at any age.

1. Get Saving

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out in the work world, or you’ve been working for 20 years, or you’re getting close to retirement age.

If you haven’t started saving, now is the time.

It’s best to start early and take advantage of compound interest to watch your savings grow. But if life circumstances prevented that, it’s never too late to start.

Investments can be made at any age or any stage in your working life. If you are starting later in life, you may need to think about an appropriate retirement age, as you may have to work a little longer to achieve the savings you need.

Even a small amount like 5% of every pay cheque is a start. It doesn’t take long to build up a reserve, and have that amount continue to build as you add more to it each cheque. It’s like building a snowman - the earlier you start rolling, the bigger the ball will grow. As you continue to add investment returns to the snowball, it gets even bigger.

2. Examine Your Spending

calculating expenses

One of the ways to prepare for retirement is to examine your spending. You may want to consider spending less in one area, for example, and instead put that money into savings.

As well, it’s worth thinking about how your spending habits will likely have to change once you retire.

For instance, will you pay off your mortgage before your retire so that your living expenses are less? Or is it better to focus on investing in your superannuation? These are decisions you can make now, to help support you in the future with extra income or lower expenses.

Another item to think about are some of the costs you can trim to allow you to live on less income once you retire. Luxury items like travel, entertainment and dinners out may be something you are willing to reduce.

The shift to retirement usually means a reduction in income, which means a reduction in spending and expenses. It’s never too early to start thinking of ways you will be able to do that.

3. Figure Out Your Current State

To help your retirement planning, figure out your current financial position and where you want to be in the future.

That means determining:

  • How much money you currently have, including assets like houses, investments and savings, and what each asset is worth.
  • How much super you currently have, and when you will be able to access it.
  • Any other sources of income that can support you in the future, like the Age Pension, for instance.

In fact, about 65% of older Australians rely on some kind of pension payment or allowance from the government, but that doesn’t mean it will be applicable in your circumstances. It will depend on your income and assets, so it’s best to document your full financial situation.

Take advantage of online financial calculators and tools that will help you examine your financial planning, retirement, savings, and more.

4. Determine Appropriate Risk

determining risks

As you decide where best to invest your savings, it’s a good idea to determine your risk level. This is largely based on where you are in your retirement journey.

If you have many years before retiring, you can take on more risk than if you are only a few years from retirement. Risk can help investments grow more quickly, but it can also face downturns that can be detrimental if you will need to access the money.

In reality, your risk tolerance should be aligned with your age. Younger people can handle greater losses because they have more years in which to recover from dips in the economy.

5. Get Expert Advice

It’s also never too early or too late to seek financial advice. That doesn’t mean asking Uncle Joe how to plan for retirement. It means that a full-time, fee-based financial adviser is your best choice when it comes to planning for retirement.

A financial planner will be able to support your retirement goals and work through all of these tips: from documenting your financial position and where you want to be by retirement; to making decisions about paying down your mortgage or investing in your super; to determining the appropriate risk level for your age and work stage.

Choosing a financial planner at any stage of your retirement journey will help you build a plan to retire when you want, with the resources to need, and enjoy the lifestyle you desire.

Final Thoughts

middle-aged group enjoying vacation

The path to retirement can start at any stage in your work life. It’s worth starting now to plan for your retirement, to ensure you have the resources you need to enjoy your life after work.

Getting the advice of a financial planner can help you address these top 5 retirement tips, and set you on a path to a happy and enjoyable retirement.


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About The Author: Paul Reilly

Paul is one of the directors at Financial Framework and has had a long standing career providing financial advice. Out of the office, you'll see Paul taking part in charity events and championing steep inclines on his road cycle.

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