It’s never too late — or too early — to make wise financial decisions and plan for your golden years. If you’re nearing or in retirement, you’ll want to stretch your money as far as possible. In this article, we’ve covered some of the best money moves to make in your 20s and 30s, 40s and 50s, and 60s and 70s.
Setting achievable goals along the road is one of the finest ways to succeed at anything. It’s difficult to know what goals to set in retirement or even if you’re on track. Being intentional about planning can help you achieve where you want to go, whether you’re ahead of or behind on your goals.
The best gift you can give yourself this year? A more secure financial future. No matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s never too late — or too early — to make sound financial decisions.
Check out these tips to get yourself set up for retirement:
In your 20s and 30s – lay your finance foundations
- Get started right away. Many financial counsellors recommend starting with an emergency fund, which is money set aside so that if you have an unexpected bill or lose your job, you don’t have to rely on a credit card or other high-interest loan. You can begin with a small amount and gradually increase your investment. To get out of a bind, experts recommend saving enough money to cover three to six months’ worth of living expenditures.
- Keep track of your debts. People in their 20s and 30s may have multiple priorities, such as getting married, starting a family, or purchasing a home. Ensure that managing your debt is a top priority, according to experts. While building your credit, they recommend focusing on paying off high-interest loans and credit card bills. Be cautious not to overborrow, but keep an eye out for balance transfer or consolidation offers that might help you save money on interest and fees. This can save you a lot of money over time and ensure that your retirement plans aren’t hampered by high-interest loans.
- Keep tabs on your spending. Another recommendation from your financial advisor is to automate your savings by putting a percentage of your income into a savings or investment account. You might not even notice the money you’re saving, which might help you stay within your budget. You can also analyse your expenditures on a regular basis, which will force you to consider where your money is going, such as your daily coffee addiction, which can mount up to hundreds of dollars per year. Making a financial plan will allow you to track your progress towards your objectives and make course corrections as needed.
- Begin as soon as possible. When you start investing early, you’ve got time to let compound interest can work its magic. Compounding makes your money work for you when you invest since any profits are reinvested to earn more profits. Even small amounts of money invested on a monthly basis can make a major difference in your retirement investments over time. Early investing allows you to be more aggressive in your portfolio (holding more stocks than bonds or cash), allowing you to grow your savings faster. Because equities are more volatile than other investments, having a longer time horizon (the amount of time you invest before attaining your objective) ensures you have the time to ride out any market downturns.
In your 40s and 50s – make sure you’re staying on track
- Spend less money. People in this age range typically consider ways to cut costs and save and invest as much as feasible. If your children have moved out, it may be time to consider downsizing. You may not only be able to use some of your house’s equity to invest for your future, but you may also be able to lower the costs associated with a larger property.
- Seek detailed and objective financial advice. Getting a second opinion from an expert might help you come up with new ideas for improvement and double-check that you’re making the best decisions possible. Make sure you seek out financial counsel that is both precise and objective from a fully certified and licensed Australian financial advisor. A financial planner can assist you in reviewing your strategy, making adjustments as needed, and keeping track of your progress.
- Consider the cost of health care. Unexpected medical expenses can potentially derail your retirement plans. Long-term care is not always fully covered by Medicare unless you require skilled nursing care, so long-term private health insurance can help in this situation. According to experts, the optimum time to get a long-term care coverage is when you’re in your 50s, when you’re still young and healthy enough to get the best prices.
In your 60s and 70s – start setting up for retirement
- Market volatility can be mitigated by careful asset allocation (including the option to liquidate assets when the market is down, especially early on in retirement). Setting away a sufficient amount of stable income and cash allows for flexibility. Due to the inverse relationship between stocks and bonds, an investor in need of cash in a down market may be able to more easily sell bonds, giving the stock market time to recover.
- Make detailed financial plans. As you near retirement, detailed financial planning can pinpoint your optimal retirement age, determine the amount you can afford to spend, make plans for generating income and prepare for the transition out of the workforce. Learn when and how to access your retirement funds, as well as your income alternatives, which include an account-based pension, annuity, lump payment, or a mix of these. Check to see if you qualify for the Age Pension, government benefits, or senior discounts. See how retirement income is taxed and where you can obtain assistance if you need it. If you’re thinking about downsizing, a reverse mortgage, or a home reversion, weigh the benefits and drawbacks.
- Make a ‘transition to retirement’ plan. A ‘transition to retirement’ (TTR) approach allows you to access some of your retirement funds while continuing to work. Because setting this up might be hard, seek guidance from your superfund or financial consultant. If you’ve reached your preservation age (between 55 and 60) and still working, you can use a TTR strategy to:
- supplement your income if you reduce your work hours, or
- boost your super and save on tax while you keep working full time
- Consolidate your plan and make it straightforward and accessible. To make an informed decision about when to start collecting superannuation, consider all of your income options as well as other criteria (life expectancy, whether you’re still working full or part time, taxes, and so on).
Disclaimer: This article is not intended as legal, financial or investment advice and should not be construed or relied on as such. Before making any commitment of a legal or financial nature you should seek advice from a qualified and registered Australian legal practitioner or financial or investment advisor.