How Do I Achieve the Retirement I Want?

By Pride Advice

Here’s a question all financial advisers have a love/hate relationship with:

How much do I need to retire?

We love it because it means you’re thinking about life after work, you’re thinking about your dreams, your goals, and you’re thinking about what it might take to achieve them.

We hate it because just about every client expects a standardised answer we can produce on the spot.

The reality is different.

What do you want your retirement to look like?

There is no standard answer because there is no standard retirement. The lifestyle you want to pursue in your post-work years determines the financial cushion you’ll need. For instance, a couple who both earn six figures, have two kids, want to travel internationally in retirement and stay in five class hotels will need more than the person who simply wants to garden and attend their weekly book club get-together.

The former will need a healthy superannuation to achieve their dreams, while the latter can in all likelihood get by on the Centrelink aged pension.

Figuring out what you’d like to do with your retirement is the first step to determining how much you need tucked away.

What is your current situation?

Now we know what you want, it’s time to figure out what you have – what’s coming in, and what’s going out. We also take a look at all your expenses now which you won’t need to cover in retirement, such as industry memberships or travel to and from work.

A detailed budget that covers all the necessities – the non-negotiable payments – tells us (and you) what your surplus income is and, in turn, if you’re retirement dreams are achievable and how ruthlessly you have to save.

What if it looks like I can’t have the retirement I want?

It’s a fear many of us hold, and it often feels like it’s going to come true when we first make the necessary calculations. But it’s not panic stations yet.

What we often find is that many clients don’t budget properly. Often, under ‘non-negotiable payments’, clients include expenses that aren’t strictly necessary. Under the objective eye of a financial adviser, clients can truly dig down into what is actually a necessary expense. Many clients are surprised to learn how little they actually need, and how much they can potentially put away.

What if my current situation won’t lead to the retirement I want?

In nearly all cases, the dream retirement is achievable – with discipline. We’ve consistently found that the clients who salary sacrifice stick to their plan better. Waiting till the end of the month to see what you can put aside rarely works; better to put aside a given amount before it lands in your savings account and tempts you into spending it.

There are also various strategies to be discussed, such as paying the mortgage down faster, putting more into super, or fattening an investment portfolio.

Sometimes, when you see what needs to be done now to have the retirement you want later, it can be overwhelming. But, with the guidance of a financial adviser, clients are consistently surprised at how achievable things can be.

When should I see a financial adviser about retirement?

You know what we’re going to say: ASAP. It’s never too early to start thinking about retirement and putting a little away. As we’re fond of saying, smaller steps started sooner are better than larger lump sums later.

When you land your first full time job, it’s a good idea to talk with a financial adviser about retirement and methods of saving. You may not have much of an idea of what you want retirement to look like, but it’s important you start learning about investment opportunities and various super contribution options available to you.

Also, if your kids are close to finishing high school, and you’re soon to have more discretionary money available, it’s wise to learn about which savings methods are best for you.

Regardless, it’s never too late. Whether you’re in your forties, fifties or sixties, there are still avenues to pursue that will make the retirement you want more achievable. It might mean retiring later, or retiring gradually by moving into part time work, but you won’t know what options there are until you speak with a financial adviser.

Start planning for retirement now with Pride Advice

It’s never too early and it’s never too late, so don’t think retirement planning isn’t relevant to you. Our financial advisers have helped countless clients achieve their retirement dreams, no matter how big or small. There are many strategies available to get the financial cushion we need, and we can guide you through the process and help you determine which path is best for you.