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When to Start Pre-Retirement Planning

You don’t have to wait until your retirement year to start planning for the big day. In fact, it’s a good idea to start well before retirement.

That time when you’re well established in your field, and perhaps in the height of your earnings years, can be an effective time to start thinking about life after your career is finished.

This period leading up to retirement can be a critical time to do the planning to ensure retirement goes smoothly.

But when should you be planning your retirement?

Let’s look at 4 different answers to the question when to start pre-retirement planning, and some ideas on how to do it.

1. When You First Start Your Career

The early years of work seem the least likely time to do any pre-retirement planning, but that’s not the case. While your income may not seem like enough to start saving, there are ways to start planning your retirement.

Here are some examples:

  • If you have student loans, establish a plan for paying them off so that you can start saving for the future.
  • While not all debt is bad, credit card debt is something you should avoid. If you’re carrying credit card debt, make a plan to eliminate it.
  • Set aside a small amount of money each month for a rainy day or emergency fund.
  • Consider making an appropriate level of salary sacrifice contributions to superannuation. While we would recommend that you don't overdo the level of contributions due to the preservation rules, a small contribution over a long period of time will make a significant difference.

2. Mid-Career

Now that you’re making more money, are more established in your career, and hopefully have made a good dent in your debt load, you can start more aggressively pre-planning for retirement.

For instance, spend some time calculating how much you think you will need to have set aside to retire, so that you can increase your investments if necessary.

Continue to make additional contributions to superannuation. Make sure you are aware how your superannuation is invested and the fees you are paying, as your fund may be invested too conservatively. Accessing better returns over the long term and reducing fees will make a significant difference to your eventual balance.

If you have a mortgage ensure that the interest rate you are paying is competitive. A material reduction in your rate will have a significant impact on how long it will take you to pay down your mortgage.

In the current low interest rate environment it may also make sense to increase contributions into superannuation rather than target your mortgage. We would suggest you seek advice regarding this strategy as there are rules regarding superannuation of which you need to be aware.

3. Three Years Before Your Planned Retirement

This is the minimum time from retirement that you should focus closely on where you are financially and what you want to achieve in retirement. Hopefully you have been taking advantage of a professional relationship with your adviser to ensure you are on target to realistically retire at the time of your choosing.

Continue to focus on debt reduction and growing your financial assets, and get your adviser to do a reality check on where you are at; you may have to consider reducing your income expectations in retirement, working longer or being more aggressive. Again these decisions will only have to be made if you have left it too long to get advice.

This is also the time to ensure you have your important documentation up to date, such as your will, insurance and you superannuation beneficiaries.

Retirement is an exciting prospect, it is the time that you get to celebrate your working life and move into a phase where you can take your life in an unlimited number of directions.

Try and narrow down on what you want your retirement to look like: Would you like to travel, do volunteer work, take up hobbies or work part time. No matter what you want to do, make sure that you plan what you would like to achieve in this next phase of your life.

4. Start Now

The easiest answer to this question of when should you start retirement planning is “now.”

In other words, whatever stage you’re at in your career, planning for retirement is an important step.

That can entail different strategies depending where you are in your career, but the end goal of your investing plan should be to ensure you will be able to live comfortably when you do retire.

There are always steps you can take to plan for retirement, wherever you are in your career.

And whatever stage you decide to start pre-retirement planning, seeking the help of a financial adviser is a good strategy to help building that plan and ensuring your retirement is an enjoyable transition from your working life. Contact the advisers at Financial Framework today to start pre-retirement planning at any stage of life.

 

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