Australians researching the term ‘retirement planning’ have risen by over 50 per cent in the last month, according to Aware Super, as the fund encourages members approaching retirement to seek personal advice.
The rise in online searches was due to the summer holiday season being one of the peak times during the year when Australians think about retirement, alongside the winter tax time.
Peter Hogg, Aware Super’s head of advice, described the summer holidays as the ‘perfect time’ for Australians retiring in the next two to 20 years to engage with their super fund and ‘spring clean’ their finances.
“Getting your retirement finances in order looks different to everyone, so the goals we tend to focus on in our comprehensive advice sessions are lifestyle goals, financial goals and when you’re planning to retire. It means understanding what you have now versus what you want later,” Hogg explained.
He encouraged members to take advantage of personal advice about their own super account as the first step, which most super funds offer at no additional cost.
The fund identified under-55s as a key segment to start engaging with their fund, with 72 per cent of this age group being worried about not having enough money to retire. This was compared to 50 per cent for over-55s.
“Aussies under 55 are probably only just starting to think about retirement more seriously, perhaps because they’ve bought a home, recently stopped paying for school fees, had adult children move out or perhaps seen their older parents move into a different stage of life,” Hogg said.
“It’s hard to imagine our own lives more than about 15 or 16 years ahead, so people generally just want to be able to afford the lifestyle they already have.”
The head of advice urged this group to assess where their money is going and ask how they want to use it to enhance their lifestyle in retirement.
Looking at over-55s, travelling is typically their biggest lifestyle goal, according to Hogg. While they understand their daily finances, he encouraged this age group to seek financial advice to further clarify their retirement readiness.
“For those over-65, newly retired or transitioning into retirement can be overwhelming or liberating, depending on your understanding of various superannuation aspects,” Hogg said.
“The age pension, super as a tax-free income stream or downsizer contributions are all things that can help make those lifestyle goals of chasing the sunshine in a caravan, embracing a tree change or seeing the world from a cruise ship, a reality.”
Hogg highlighted this age as when members have the highest balance in their super account. As a result, he recommended tax minimisation strategies and seeking an adviser during this stage.
Australians aged 70 and over who are already in retirement can also benefit from financial advice, with 91 per cent of over-70s feeling extremely concerned about cost-of-living pressures.
The advice head continued: “We know that Australians aged over-70 are much better than the rest of us at committing to researching or switching utility providers, with nearly one in three doing this twice a year – compared to less than one in five of us in younger age groups.
“This is a really simple thing that can result in hundreds of dollars’ worth of savings if you can find a good deal, and it only needs to take a few short minutes. These sorts of financial elements can really have an impact on the lifestyle you see for now and the next decade or more.”