Traps to avoid in retirement – Going too hard, too fast

Retirement: you’ve made it! And one of the rewards for all your hard work is that you can now access your superannuation. Suddenly a world of opportunities opens up – a Caribbean cruise, major home renovations or maybe helping your kids reduce some of their debt.

Of course, you deserve to celebrate your retirement but bear in mind that your super might need to support you for the next 30 years or more. Eat too far into your nest egg in the early days and you significantly reduce the time that your super will last. This is particularly the case in a record low interest rate environment, as we’re currently experiencing.

Take Ron and Val. They retire with a combined super balance of $800,000. At an interest rate of 4% pa, this nest egg will fund annual living expenses of $60,000 for 19.4 years[1]. If in the first year of retirement they spend $100,000 on travel and home renovations and give a further $100,000 to their children, the reduced nest egg will now only last 13 years.

Planning for big expenses in retirement is as important as it is pre-retirement, perhaps even more so, as you no longer have any salary income. The longer that an expense can be deferred, the longer the money will last.

In Ron and Val’s case, this might mean scaling back the travel plans a bit, putting off the renovations for a couple of years, and helping their kids by making regular, small gifts rather than a large lump sum.

Your super is there to help you enjoy life in retirement, but it’s a balancing act. A little restraint now may allow for more fun later, so talk to your financial adviser about how you can make the most of your super in retirement.

Fact is, the earlier a savings strategy is implemented the better. And that strategy will need to be reviewed and altered from time-to-time as your lifestyle and priorities shift.

[1] Does not take account of any age pension entitlement

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