National Seniors Australia is an organisation that provides information and advice for older Australians. Last week they posted suggestions for people considering retirement from the paid workforce. Retirement isn’t just a financial decision, rather it’s a decision that requires consideration of your personal drives, goals, and lifestyle considerations. Here’s their tips:
1. Reassess your lifestyle priorities: What are your health, work, finances and lifestyle objectives?
2. Understand your spending and where your money goes: Useful calculators are available and the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) spending guide is a great tool.
3. Do you qualify for the Age Pension – part or full?
- Depending on when you were born, it will have an impact on your qualification age. If you were born between 1 July 1955 and 31 December 1956, it is 66.5 years. If you were born on or after 1 January 1957, the eligible age is 67. There are a lot of people who potentially qualify this year.
- There are both income and assets tests to be considered.
- Qualifying at $0 will have some concession benefits.
- You can apply up to three months before your qualifying birthday.
4. Do you qualify for a Concession or Commonwealth Seniors card?
- Use the National Seniors Concession Calculator to see what benefits you may already qualify for. This can include savings on rates and utility bills.
- There are age and income tests, which means the card may be available to many self-funded retirees, who could then save on medical expenses.
5. Understand the options that a rising housing market may now provide:
- There are rules changes that can make downsizing a real option to free up money for lifestyle.
- Changes to the federal government’s Home Equity Access Loan Scheme could mean you’re eligible if you qualify for the Age Pension – even at zero dollars.
- It may also create opportunities around superannuation contributions.
6. Understand and review your superannuation options and benefits:
- Ensure you understand and can access information online.
- Understand your investment options and investing suitability.
- Explore the options that are now available for social and responsible investing.
7. Get yourself set up with MyGov accounts online:
- Most government services are now online. This can make it easier to link to them and provide updated information. This includes the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Medicare, and Centrelink.
8. Regular reviews and monitoring of your investments are necessary:
- Do it yourself and invest the time to do it properly.
- Refer to trusted information sites and member-based groups such as Moneysmart.gov’s retirement planner and National Seniors Australia’s retirement readiness quiz.
- Engage or work with a professional adviser or accountant.
- Discuss with loved ones (but don’t rely completely on it, as this could lead to bad financial decisions).
- Discuss some elements with other retirees.
Exploring and actioning the relevant areas above will put you in a stronger and more informed position to deal with changes and make the most of your retirement.