The world of finance has become even more complex after the global financial crisis hit the world in 2008. While Australia was spared the worst in decline of economic growth as a country, there is a group of Australians who bore the brunt of it and some have had to readjust their budgets dramatically. It’s ordinary people who live off their superannuation funds and those who operate a Self-Managed Super Fund as trustees that were impacted heavily. But that’s not the full story.
Fact is, if you don’t want to live off the Age Pension, you’ll need to create your own wealth to see you through your golden years. The ATO reported that there were 986,441 SMSF trustees running 516,925 self-managed super funds as at September 2013.* This is an increase of about 35% on levels of SMSFs in 2008, which shows that while there are risks, retirement funding through superannuation has been increasing – and it must be working for people!
So how much is enough super? You can’t ask this question without putting more context around it, setting some markers and assumptions to work with. We’ve put together 5 critical questions you want to consider to get a realistic answer – and wealth planning is the key to it all.
1) I have a clear understanding of my retirement goals
It’s hard to believe, but most people have trouble knowing what they really want in life. It’s far easier to get a clear answer when you ask them what they don’t want, though this isn’t going to help in this instance. You might think that retirement goals are all about money, but when you look a bit closer they are not just about money.
For most people it’s about things like making life easier for you as you grow older, having contingency plans in place for health emergencies, enabling a quality of life that you desire, visiting your children and grand children and providing them with the occasional treats and surprises. Make sure to spell out your goals, write them down or use a vision board. It will increase the odds of achieving them plenty fold.
If you find it hard to describe your retirement goals in detail and put time frames to them, we’ve got some great tools and resources to help you with that. Visit www.financialindependencekit.com and download all you need from there. Remember, that a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first steps.
2) I have a clear understanding of my desired retirement income needs
What you need in the way of income to fund your retirement is very much linked to your retirement goals. So how would you know, how much you need? There are a few online calculators around you could use, but without knowing the assumptions – your retirements goals – to base calculations on, there could be a fairly big error margin.
When you’ve done some of your home work and have enough data to work with, be strategic and get some help from financial planning experts. At Straight Money Talk we have access to wealth planning tools which can make the whole process so much easier and bring down the margin for error considerably. We can model any projected situation and produce wealth plan figures for you that are even CPI indexed. Click here to contact our Team and arrange for a FREE No-obligation Financial Health Check.
3) I am on track to achieve my required income in retirement
Do you read your annual superannuation statement and do you know what those figures actually mean in real terms?
Do you know if your investments are delivering a return that is building your wealth fast enough for the retirement income you want?
Do you know how much you need to save of your current income to have your desired retirement income?
My clients often tell me that they find it hard to answer these questions by themselves. That’s why we’ve come up with a 7-step process to help you with your wealth planning and tracking needs.
If you want to have control over how you’re tracking to achieve your retirement income, a Wealth Plan can be of great help and give you so much more financial management information. With a Wealth Plan you’ll know easily if you’re not on track, and then you can course-correct.
4) My retirement funds will last throughout my retirement
This is a bit like looking into a crystal ball, I hear you say? Yes, I agree that you cannot determine for how long you’ll be around on this planet. And yet, believe me robust wealth planning can make a difference here, too, by allowing for contingencies and making sure that you correct your course, if you’re not on track. The last thing you’d want is to run out of money in your 90s. Get started on your Wealth Plan today and you will know soon, if this statement is true for you.
5) My retirement funding strategy is structured tax efficiently
This question may be a little obscure at first, relevant as it is though. Depending on the investment mix that you are using to build your wealth, there are a range of options for you to keep more money in your retirement fund by reducing your tax liabilities. These strategies are also considered when developing your wealth plan, so you know up front what the outcome will be.
Tax regulations for different types of investment, superannuation contributions, self-managed super funds and the like undergo regular changes depending on the political persuasions of the government of the day. Most people leave the interpretation and application of these ATO rules to Tax Agents and Financial Planners, and wisely so. A small oversight can result in monetary disadvantage, or worse, even financial penalties by the ATO.
If you want to find out a bit more about the Wealth Planning process you could use to make your dreams come true, just click here to contact us. A member of our Team will happily assist you with more information. On the other hand, if you prefer to get some tools into your hands right now, then visit www.financialindependencekit.com and download our practical toolkit to get you started.
*Source: Australian Taxation Office, Self-managed super fund statistical report – June 2013
Copyright © 2014 Robert Bauman. Feel free to use this article in your hard copy or eNewsletter, provided you display the Copyright notice and source reference in its current form.
Disclaimer: This information (including taxation) is general in nature and is for Australian residents only. It does not consider your individual circumstances or needs. Do not act until you seek professional advice and consider a Product Disclosure Statement. To find out more about services provided by Straight Money Talk Pty Ltd please visit my website.
Straight Money Talk Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Millennium3 Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN 61 094 529 987 an Australian Financial Services Licensee number 244252.