Overwhelmingly, our annual customer survey tells us that our clients are seeking more information about how to retire comfortably.
In New Zealand we are fortunate that we do have one confirmed source of income in the New Zealand Superannuation (NZ Super). NZ Super is the government’s pension and available for those over 65 who meet the eligibility criteria. How much you will get depend on your personal circumstances such as whether you live alone or with a partner.
However, those currently retired whose only income is the NZ Super, often comment that they must live a frugal lifestyle (with no treats) as this income is below any living wage. Will this work for you? How do you imagine spending your golden years?
It can be hard to transition from full time employment into retirement for many reasons – but with good preparation, financial security shouldn’t be an added stress during this life stage.
It’s never too early to start planning. Here are some top tips from us to get you started.
Take care of the big-ticket items
Have you been postponing some repair work around home, scared to even think about how much it is going to cost you? Now imagine how much that could hurt your wallet if you are not working. You might be able to live with an out-of-date bathroom, for example, but if your roof need repairing, get it done before you are on a retirement budget. Decide on what are the essential and make them happen.
Pay your debt
This is a big one, and you probably have been working towards this goal for years. You don’t want to have to pay a mortgage once you have stopped working or front up the steep interest rates on your credit card debt. Want to enjoy your retirement? Go into it debt free.
Maximise your savings
If you are a KiwiSaver member make sure you are in the right fund and with the right provider for your circumstances. If you have an investment portfolio, make sure you have a long-term strategy that will work with your lifestyle goals. Review your investment plan regularly.
Take a closer look at your insurance needs
One of the biggest reasons our clients take out insurance is when they have debt, like a home loan, or to protect their family. So, if you paid down your mortgage and your kids have moved away from home, what level of insurance do you need?
On the other hand, having insurance in place can be of great benefit as you get older as the risk of illness, injury, and untimely death increase. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, it really comes down to your personal circumstances.
Discuss your plans with your spouse or partner
You might have a good idea of what you want to do when you leave the work force, but have you asked your spouse or partner what they want to do? If one of you wants to travel while the other wants to stay home and look after grandchildren or spend the days gardening for that matter, it could create conflict on how you spend your savings. It’s best to talk about it now.
Commit to a budget
The tricky thing about your savings is that you don’t know how long they will need to last. These days, you can expect to live in retirement for 30 years, or even more. Having a budget is essential. Overseas trips, new hobbies, visiting family and the day-to-day stuff all need to be contemplated in your budget.
When it comes to enjoying life after you stop working, preparation is key. We work with our clients to make sure retirement planning is part of the conversation – the sooner the better. It’s all about setting goals and helping you get there.