Secure your future: the definitive guide to retirement planning

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Secure your future: the definitive guide to retirement planning
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This guide underscores the critical importance of comprehensive, strategic, and proactive retirement planning to ensure a financially secure and fulfilling post-work life.
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mlc:Topics/retirement
Time to read
48 min
Effective date
2024-02-21 00:00
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Few milestones in life carry the weight and significance as that of retirement. As we journey through life, the prospect of retiring comfortably becomes a paramount consideration.

One of the keys to a financially secure retirement is to start planning for it early. Many of us wait until retirement is looming before giving it serious consideration, but to do this is to miss out on a great opportunity to set yourself up well for the rest of your life.

This guide aims to serve as a beacon for those embarking on the path towards a fulfilling and worry-free retirement. It endeavours to empower you with the knowledge and tools necessary to make informed decisions about your financial futures.

Our goal is to guide you through the maze of retirement planning, ensuring you are equipped to make sound financial decisions that align with your unique circumstances.

By combining practical advice with a forward-looking perspective, we aim to inspire confidence and empower readers to take control of their financial destinies.

We will explore key components of retirement planning, provide actionable insights, and leverage a wealth of knowledge to assist you in making informed decisions to advance your aspirations for a secure and prosperous retirement.

 

 

Part One - The fundamentals of retirement planning

Financial independence and peace of mind

Retirement planning serves as the pathway to financial independence throughout your post-work years. By carefully considering and allocating resources for retirement, you can help ensure you have the means to maintain your desired lifestyle after you clock off for the last time. This financial preparedness can also bring a sense of peace and security, reducing anxiety about your future.

 

Maintaining your standard of living

The ability to sustain your current standard of living in retirement is the dream. Retirement planning enables you to estimate your retirement expenses and devise strategies to meet them. Without proper planning, there's a risk of facing a significant drop in living standards, which can be emotionally and financially challenging.

 

Coping with inflation

Inflation erodes the purchasing power of money over time. Without effective retirement planning, you may find it increasingly difficult to cover rising expenses in your retirement years. To combat the impact of inflation, a well-structured retirement plan should consider investments and financial instruments that can potentially keep up with or outpace inflation.

 

Providing for healthcare costs

As we age, healthcare costs tend to rise. Proper retirement planning includes provisions for medical expenses, ensuring you can continue to access quality healthcare without straining your finances. Inadequate planning can lead to being unable to meet unexpected significant healthcare costs, potentially depleting savings.

 

Why retirement planning is crucial for financial security

Here, we delve into the specific reasons why retirement planning is necessary to achieve long-term financial security.

 

Longevity risk

With increasing life expectancies, we are now more likely to spend a significant portion of our lives in retirement. This extended retirement period heightens the risk of outliving your savings, which stresses the need for thorough planning to maintain financial security throughout retirement.

 

Reducing reliance on the Age Pension

While the Age Pension provides a safety net for retirees, they are typically not sufficient to sustain a comfortable retirement. Relying solely on the Age Pension can lead to financial insecurity. Well considered retirement planning allows you to supplement these benefits with personal savings, investments, and pensions.

 

Flexibility and control

By making informed decisions about savings, investments, and retirement accounts, you can tailor your retirement plans to meet your unique needs and preferences.

 

Minimising the burden on loved ones

Adequate retirement planning can also alleviate the financial burden on family members. Without proper planning, you may have to rely on your children or other family members for financial support in your later years. This can put a strain on family relationships and disrupt their financial wellbeing.

One of the key ways to do so is by ensuring you have adequate life insurance cover, either within your super or a standalone policy, so that your loved ones are financially secure if anything happens to you, and you are no longer around to take care of them.

 

Part two - Setting your retirement goals

Determining your retirement age

One of the most critical decisions we are likely to face in our financial planning journey is determining the ideal retirement age. When you plan to retire not only dictates when you can stop working and start enjoying your golden years, it also profoundly influences your financial security and lifestyle during retirement.

In Australia, the qualifying age for receiving the Age Pension is now 67, so if you think you may be reliant on the Age Pension to some degree in your retirement, that could be an important factor in determining when you should stop working.

Then there’s the preservation age. This is the age that you can access your super if you are retired or cease paid work after age 60 or attain age 65. You may also access your super under other circumstances such as financial hardship or compassionate grounds. In Australia, the preservation age is 60.

Note that in Australia there is no set retirement age, so you can choose to work for as long as you like.

Here, we will examine four considerations that play a pivotal role in determining your retirement age.

 

#1 Financial preparedness

The primary factor in determining your retirement age is your financial readiness. Assessing your financial situation involves a thorough examination of your savings, investments, pensions, social security benefits, and other potential income streams during retirement. Consider these questions:

  • Savings - Do you have enough savings to maintain your desired lifestyle in retirement?
  • Investments - What is the performance and risks associated with your investment portfolio?
  • Pensions - Do you have access to a pension plan, and if so, what are its terms and conditions?
  • Social security - Will you become eligible for the Age Pension and how will this impact your retirement income?

Once you have a clear understanding of your financial resources, you can determine whether you need to work longer to accumulate more savings, or indeed, if you can retire earlier without compromising your financial security.

 

#2 Health and longevity

Health plays a pivotal role in your retirement planning. The age at which you retire should take into account your overall health and life expectancy. Consider these factors:

  • Healthcare - Are you in good health, or do you have any chronic health conditions that may require substantial healthcare expenses in retirement?
  • Life expectancy - Have you considered your family history and other factors that may influence your life expectancy? The longer you are likely to live, the more savings you will need to support you in retirement.

It's essential to strike a balance between retiring early to enjoy your healthy years and working longer to ensure you have enough resources to cover healthcare and other expenses as you age.

 

#3 Lifestyle and goals

Your retirement age should align with your desired lifestyle and retirement goals. Some of us dream of extensive travel and leisure pursuits in retirement, whilst others may prefer a more modest and frugal lifestyle. Consider these questions:

  • Retirement goals - What do you envision doing during your retirement years? Do your goals require a certain level of financial security?
  • Desired lifestyle - Are you willing to make adjustments to your lifestyle to retire earlier, or are you prepared to work longer to maintain a particular standard of living?

Aligning your retirement age with your aspirations will help you strike a balance between work and leisure that suits your individual preferences.

 

#4 Social and emotional factors

Social and emotional factors can heavily influence your retirement age. These factors may include:

  • Work satisfaction - Are you happy with your current job, or do you look forward to retiring as soon as possible?
  • Family considerations – Do you have family responsibilities that may impact your retirement timeline, such as caring for ageing parents or supporting adult children?
  • Social network - How will retirement affect your social life and relationships? Will you have a robust support system in retirement?

 

Calculating retirement expenses

One of the most critical aspects of planning for retirement is estimating your future expenses accurately. Understanding the costs associated with retirement is essential for ensuring financial security during your golden years.

Calculating retirement expenses requires a comprehensive assessment of various factors, including your current lifestyle, expected lifestyle in retirement, inflation, and unexpected contingencies.

 

#1 Current lifestyle assessment

To begin the process of calculating retirement expenses, assess your current lifestyle and spending habits. Detail your weekly, monthly and annual expenditures, including housing costs, utilities, transportation, groceries, healthcare, entertainment, and other discretionary expenses. This step serves as a baseline for estimating your retirement expenses.

 

#2 Projected retirement lifestyle

Next, consider how your lifestyle might change in retirement. Will you downsize your home, travel more, or pursue new hobbies? Some expenses may decrease, while others may increase. Create a detailed budget that reflects your expected retirement lifestyle, factoring in potential changes to your spending patterns.

 

#3 Account for inflation

Inflation is a significant factor to consider when calculating retirement expenses. Over time, the purchasing power of your money decreases due to inflation. To account for this, adjust your projected retirement expenses by estimating the average annual inflation rate. Typically, financial planners use an inflation rate of 2-3% as a conservative estimate, but this can vary based on economic conditions. For example, this year has seen inflation in excess of that typical range.

 

#4 Healthcare costs

Healthcare expenses tend to rise as we age. Ensure that your retirement budget includes provisions for health insurance, prescription medications, and potential long-term care expenses. Consider speaking with a financial adviser or insurance specialist to explore healthcare options specific to retirees.

 

#5 Emergency fund

Retirement is a time when unexpected expenses can arise, such as medical emergencies, home repairs, or family support. Building an emergency fund in retirement is essential to avoid depleting your savings prematurely. Financial experts often recommend having three to six months' worth of living expenses set aside for emergencies.

 

Considering lifestyle choices

Retirement is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. It is a unique journey for each individual (or couple), influenced by personal preferences, values, and aspirations. Lifestyle choices play a pivotal role in shaping the retirement experience, determining how retirees spend their time, where they live, how they maintain their health, and what they pursue for personal fulfillment. Factors to consider include:

 

#1 Location and housing

Decide whether you want to stay in your current home, downsize to a smaller residence, or explore retirement communities. Consider factors such as climate, proximity to family and friends, and access to amenities and healthcare services.

 

#2 Budget and spending habits

Create a detailed budget that accounts for both essential expenses and discretionary spending.

Be mindful of your spending habits and make adjustments as necessary to ensure your financial resources last throughout retirement.

 

#3 Health and wellness

Prioritise maintaining physical and mental health through regular exercise, a balanced diet, and preventive healthcare measures.

Explore activities and hobbies that promote wellbeing and provide a sense of purpose.

 

#4 Social connections

Nurture existing relationships and seek opportunities to make new friends and connections.

Consider whether you want to be part of clubs, volunteer organisations, or social groups to stay engaged in your community.

 

#5 Travel and leisure

Plan for any travel aspirations and adventures you wish to pursue during retirement. Be mindful of travel costs and incorporate them into your retirement budget.

 

#6 Continuing education and personal growth

Explore opportunities for learning and personal development, such as taking classes or pursuing hobbies.

Consider how you want to engage your mind and stay intellectually active.

 

#7 Legacy planning

Reflect on what legacy you want to leave behind, whether through charitable contributions, passing on assets to heirs, or leaving a mark in your community.

 

Part three - Creating a retirement budget

Estimating retirement income

Understanding what your retirement income will be is the first and most fundamental step in creating a retirement budget. Accurate estimation allows you to set realistic financial goals and make informed decisions about your retirement lifestyle.

Retirement income typically comes from a combination of sources:

 

Super

Super is the backbone of retirement income for most Australians. It is a compulsory savings system, where employers contribute a percentage of your income into a super fund. You can also make voluntary contributions. You can estimate your super income by:

  • Accessing your super statements - Review your super fund statements to understand your current balance and projected growth. This can be done either directly on your fund provider’s website or mobile app, or by visiting MyGov.
  • Using online calculators - Numerous online calculators are available to estimate your super balance at retirement based on your current contributions and investment choices.

 

The Age Pension

The Age Pension is a government-provided income support program for eligible retirees who have reached age pension age. To estimate your Age Pension entitlement, consider factors such as your marital status, income and assets. The government's Department of Human Services provides an online calculator to help you estimate your potential Age Pension payments.

 

Other investments

Income from investments, such as savings accounts, term deposits, shares, and property, can supplement your retirement income. To estimate this income:

  • Evaluate investment portfolios - Review your existing investments and their expected returns.
  • Consult financial advisers - Seek advice from financial experts to optimise your investment portfolio for retirement income.

 

Identifying sources of income

Retirement income in Australia can come from various sources, each with its own rules and considerations:

  • Social security and the Age Pension - The Age Pension is a significant source of income for many retirees. To qualify, you must meet specific age and residence requirements. Understanding the eligibility criteria and application process is essential to secure this income stream.
  • Super - Super is a substantial source of retirement income for those who have diligently contributed to their funds during their working years. Familiarise yourself with the rules governing the preservation age, access to super benefits, and potential taxation implications.
  • Investments - Income from investments, such as dividends, interest, and rental income, can boost your retirement finances. Consider diversifying your investment portfolio to reduce risk and maximise returns.

 

Tips for increasing retirement income

There are several proactive steps you can take to increase your retirement income:

  • Salary sacrifice - Consider salary sacrificing into your super fund, which can lead to tax benefits and increase your retirement savings.
  • Investment strategies - Consult with financial advisers to develop effective investment strategies that align with your retirement goals and risk tolerance.
  • Part-time work - Exploring part-time employment or consultancy work during retirement can supplement your income and provide a sense of purpose.
  • Budgeting and lifestyle choices - Evaluate your current spending habits and make adjustments where necessary to live within your means so you can build your retirement fund, as well as establish good spending habits for when you do eventually retire.

 

Part four - Strategic investment planning

Diversification and risk management

Diversification and risk management play pivotal roles in ensuring the financial security and stability of retirees in Australia. As you prepare for retirement, it is imperative to construct investment portfolios that strike a balance between risk and return. The key to successful investment planning lies in spreading your investments across different asset classes and securities to lessen the impact of market volatility.

 

Diversification

By diversifying (spreading your savings across a number of different investments), you can reduce the risk associated with any single investment. This can be achieved by investing in a mix of asset classes such as equities, fixed income, real estate, and cash equivalents.

Any investment should reflect how comfortable you feel about risk, how long you intend to invest your money for, and financial goals. For instance, if you’re a younger retiree with a longer time horizon, you may opt for a higher allocation to growth-oriented assets like shares, while if you’re an older retiree you may lean towards a more conservative option to preserve your money.

 

Risk management

Risk management strategies are crucial in protecting retirement savings from unexpected market downturns. Consider evaluating your risk tolerance and choose investments that align with your comfort level. For example, if you find it hard to stomach frequent losses and gains with your investments, your risk tolerance would be low.

Asset classes and investment vehicles offer varying degrees of risk, so consider diversifying across them to reduce the impact of market changes. Additionally, investing a portion of your savings in what are known as defensive assets (these include bonds and annuities) can provide a buffer against market volatility.

 

Choosing the right investment options

Selecting the right investment options is an important aspect of strategic retirement planning.

There are a wide range of investment choices, each with its unique characteristics and advantages. Making informed decisions requires a clear understanding of these options and how they align with your individual financial objectives.

  • Super funds - Super is at the core of retirement planning in Australia. You can choose between managed and self-managed super funds (SMSFs). Each option offers varying levels of control, cost, and investment choice. Managed funds are managed by professionals and provide diversified investment options. On the other hand, SMSFs offer greater control and flexibility but demand active involvement in investment decisions and managing retirement savings. These funds allow for a wider range of investments, including direct property ownership, but come with strict compliance requirements and administrative responsibilities.
  • Managed funds - Managed funds provide an opportunity for diversification and professional management. Investors pool their funds with others and entrust professional fund managers to make investment decisions on their behalf. These funds can focus on different asset classes, investment strategies, and risk profiles, allowing retirees to select those that align with their preferences.
  • Direct equities and real estate - Some retirees prefer direct ownership of assets like shares and real estate. Investing directly in the stock market or purchasing rental properties can offer potential for capital appreciation and income. However, these options come with higher risk and often require a deeper understanding of market dynamics and property management.

 

Types of retirement accounts

In Australia, several types of retirement accounts exist, each with its unique tax advantages and regulations. Understanding the characteristics of these accounts is essential for retirees to optimise their financial outcomes in retirement.

  • Super accumulation account - During the accumulation phase, you can contribute before tax and after tax contributions to your super account. Before tax contributions are typically taxed at a concessional rate, making it an attractive option for building retirement savings. Investment earnings of super accumulation accounts are also subject to favourable tax treatment.
  • Transition to Retirement (TTR) - TTR pensions allow you to access your super in the form of a non-commutable income stream while continuing to work if you’ve reached 60 (preservation age). This can be a strategic tool for those looking to reduce working hours gradually while supplementing their income with pension payments.
  • Account-based pensions - Account-based pensions provide you with a regular income stream in retirement. These pensions are drawn from your super savings and are typically tax-free if you’re aged 60 and over. They offer flexibility in terms of the frequency and amount of pension payments.



Part five - Saving smart for retirement

Accumulating wealth often requires discipline, so it’s good to have a few strategies to help you save consistently and ease the process.

Here are a few tips to help you along that path:

#1 - Embrace the power of compounding

One of the most potent tools in retirement savings is compounding returns. By starting to save early and consistently, you can harness the power of compounding returns to grow your nest egg over time. Compounding allows your initial contributions to generate earnings, which in turn generate even more earnings. The longer your money stays invested, the more significant the compounding effect becomes. Therefore, it's highly beneficial to begin saving for retirement as soon as possible to maximise the benefits of compounding.

 

#2 - Create a budget and stick to it

Saving for retirement starts with effective financial management. Establishing a budget that outlines your income, expenses, and savings goals is an important step. Be sure to allocate a portion of your income specifically for retirement savings. Automate this process by setting up regular additional contributions to your super account or other retirement savings vehicles.

By sticking to a budget, you can ensure that you consistently set aside funds for your retirement, even during periods of financial uncertainty.

Check out our article on the 50/30/20 budgeting strategy.

 

#3 - Take advantage of employer contributions

Australia's superannuation system requires employers to contribute to their employees' retirement savings. Ensure you're aware of the minimum super guarantee contributions your employer must make on your behalf. Also consider making additional voluntary contributions to further bolster your retirement savings.

 

#4 - Diversify your investments

Diversification is a fundamental strategy for managing risk and optimising returns in your retirement portfolio. When you diversify your investments across various asset classes, such as shares, bonds, and real estate, you reduce the impact of market volatility on your savings. A well-diversified portfolio can help you achieve more consistent returns over the long term, enhancing your retirement security.

 

#5 - Continuously monitor and adjust your strategy

Life circumstances change, and so should your retirement savings strategy. Regularly review your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment portfolio. As you approach retirement age, consider shifting your investments to more conservative options to protect your wealth. Moreover, be aware of changes in government policies related to retirement savings, as they can impact your financial planning.

 

#6 - Seek professional financial advice

Navigating the complexities of retirement planning in Australia can be challenging. Therefore, it's prudent to seek advice from a financial adviser, or you may be able to obtain advice from a representative of your super fund at no additional cost. Seeking advice from a professional can help you create a tailored retirement savings plan, optimise your investment choices, and provide insights into tax-effective strategies that can maximise your savings.

 

Part six - Managing debt before retirement

Addressing outstanding debts before retirement

As we approach retirement, one of the most critical financial considerations is managing and reducing outstanding debts. The transition from a working career to retirement represents a significant shift in financial circumstances, and carrying a heavy burden of debt into retirement can have profound implications for our financial security and overall quality of life.

 

Mortgage debt

Mortgage debt is typically the most substantial financial liability. The prospect of entering retirement with an outstanding mortgage can be daunting. A mortgage not only represents a significant financial obligation but also reduces your capacity to allocate funds to other retirement goals, such as savings or investments.

 

Consumer debt

Consumer debt, including credit card balances and personal loans, can also be a significant concern. High-interest rates associated with credit cards, coupled with the temptation of readily available credit, can lead to a cycle of debt that is challenging to break, especially for those on fixed incomes in retirement.

 

Strategies for debt reduction

To achieve a financially secure retirement, it is essential to have a comprehensive plan for addressing and reducing outstanding debts. Here are a few strategies that can help you manage your debt effectively as you approach retirement.

 

#1 Create a debt repayment plan

Developing a structured plan for debt repayment is the first step in managing outstanding debts. This plan should include a clear overview of all debts, their interest rates, and minimum monthly payments. Prioritise debts with the highest interest rates, as these are the costliest over time. Consider using debt reduction tools and calculators to estimate how long it will take to become debt-free. This will also help you to see the light at the end of the tunnel and a huge goal to work towards.

 

#2 Budgeting and expense tracking

Creating a detailed budget and tracking expenses can help identify areas where spending can be reduced or redirected towards debt repayment. Consider making small sacrifices in your current lifestyle to achieve long-term financial freedom.

 

#3 Consolidation and refinancing

Consolidating multiple high-interest debts into a single, lower-interest loan can make repayment more manageable. For example, consolidating credit card debt into a personal loan with a lower interest rate can reduce the overall cost of debt. Similarly, refinancing a mortgage to secure a lower interest rate can lead to substantial savings over time.

 

#4 Seek professional advice

Financial advisers and credit counsellors can provide expert guidance on debt management and retirement planning. They can help you assess your financial situation, develop customised debt reduction strategies, and make informed decisions about your retirement savings.

 

#5 Increase retirement contributions

While it may seem counterintuitive, it can be beneficial to continue making retirement contributions while simultaneously addressing debt. Many retirement accounts offer tax advantages and employer matching, which can accelerate wealth accumulation. Consult with a financial adviser to strike the right balance between debt repayment and retirement savings.

 

#6 Consider downsizing

For those with substantial mortgage debt, downsizing to a smaller, more affordable home can be a strategic move. The proceeds from selling a larger home can be used to pay off existing debts and create a more manageable living situation in retirement.

 

Part seven - Healthcare and insurance

Health insurance considerations

A comprehensive retirement plan should take into account your evolving healthcare needs as you age. Health insurance plays a pivotal role in ensuring retirees have access to quality medical care. It can also effectively manage healthcare costs.

As life expectancy increases and the population ages, understanding the nuances of health insurance becomes increasingly critical for a secure and comfortable retirement.

Some of the key health insurance considerations include:

#1  Medicare coverage

Medicare, Australia's public healthcare system, provides essential coverage for hospital and other medical services. Understanding the scope and limitations of Medicare is crucial for retirees. While it covers many medical expenses, there are gaps that private health insurance can help fill.

 

#2  Private health insurance

Consideration should be given to obtaining private health insurance to cover the gaps left by Medicare. This includes services such as dental, optical, and certain elective procedures.

Understanding waiting periods, exclusions, and the level of coverage provided by different plans is essential for making informed decisions.

 

#3  Lifetime Health Cover (LHC)

Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) is a government initiative that encourages you to purchase and maintain private patient hospital cover earlier in life.

The Lifetime Health Cover loading is an important factor to consider when purchasing private health insurance. LHC loading is applied to the premium if you take out hospital cover after the age of 30.

If you have not taken out and maintained private patient hospital cover from the year you turn 31 and then you decide to take it out later in life, you will pay a 2% LHC loading on top of your premium for every year you are aged over 30.

If you have paid LHC loading for 10 years of continuous cover, you will stop pay this loading.

If you cease your private patient hospital cover after paying for the LHC loading for 10 continuous years, you may pay the LHC loading again if you take out another private patient hospital cover later. LHC loading does not apply to ancillary or extras cover (see below).

Planning for health insurance well in advance can help mitigate the impact of LHC loading on overall retirement expenses.

 

#4  Extras coverage

Many retirees may require additional services beyond hospital and medical coverage. Extras coverage, also known as ancillary or general treatment, can include services like physiotherapy, chiropractic services, and prescription medications.

Evaluating personal health needs and tailoring private health insurance plans accordingly is very important, as you want to be sure you can access treatment when you need it, as well as be able to afford it.

 

#5  Reviewing policies regularly

Your health needs may change over time, so regularly reviewing private health insurance policies ensures that your coverage remains aligned with your evolving health requirements. This proactive approach can help retirees adjust their plans as needed.

 

Long-term care planning

As we continue to enjoy longer life expectancies, planning for long-term care becomes an integral aspect of comprehensive retirement planning. Long-term care encompasses a range of services designed to support individuals with chronic illnesses, disabilities, or cognitive impairments, ensuring they maintain a good quality of life throughout their later years.

Some of the key care planning considerations include:

 

#1  Aged care services

Understand the various aged care services available to you. These includes residential aged care facilities, home care packages, the Commonwealth Home Support Programme and respite care. Having your individual needs and preferences assessed and considered may determine the most suitable type of care and accommodation for you.

 

#2  Financial implications

Long-term care often involves significant financial considerations. It is, therefore, vital to plan for potential expenses related to residential care, in-home support, and medical services. Exploring financial options, such as government subsidies, pension benefits, and personal savings, can help create a sustainable long-term care plan.

 

#3  Legal and estate planning

Creating legal documents, such as enduring powers of attorney and advance care directives, ensures that your preferences for long-term care are clear and financial decisions can be made for you when you are unable to. Estate planning also plays a crucial role in outlining how assets are managed and distributed, providing clarity and avoiding potential conflicts.

 

#4  Downsizing and other housing considerations

Assessing housing options is another vital aspect of long-term care planning. Downsizing to more manageable accommodation, considering age-friendly housing modifications, and exploring retirement communities, can contribute to a smoother transition into long-term care when necessary.

 

#5  Social and emotional wellbeing

Long-term care planning should not only focus on physical health but also on social and emotional wellbeing. Identifying social support networks, engaging in community activities, and addressing potential isolation are key considerations for a holistic approach to long-term care.


Part eight - Tax planning for retirement

Tax-efficient withdrawal strategies

As we approach retirement, tax planning becomes a critical component of our overall retirement strategy. Maximising after-tax income during the withdrawal phase is essential for sustaining a comfortable lifestyle and ensuring the longevity of retirement savings.

This section explores tax-efficient withdrawal strategies for retirees in Australia, focusing on key considerations and planning opportunities.

 

#1  Understanding the tax landscape

Australia's tax system undergoes changes over time, impacting retirees' financial decisions. It is important to stay informed about current tax and superannuation legislation and other relevant policies. A comprehensive understanding of the tax landscape enables retirees to make informed decisions and optimise their financial position during the withdrawal phase.

 

#2  Superannuation strategies

Super remains a cornerstone of retirement planning in Australia. Employing effective super strategies can significantly impact the tax efficiency of withdrawals. Key considerations include:

a. Transition to Retirement Income Stream (TRIS): Using a TRIS, which is a non-commutable income stream can allow you to access your superannuation benefits while continuing to work, offering potential tax advantages.

b. Lump sum vs. pension: Choosing on taking our your super as lump sum withdrawals or a pension or a combination of both can have distinct tax implications. You should evaluate your individual circumstances to determine the most tax-efficient approach.

c. Contribution strategies: Exploring contribution strategies, such as personal contributions, spouse contributions or downsizer contributions, can optimise superannuation balances and contribute to tax efficiency.

 

#3  Age Pension considerations

For retirees eligible for the Age Pension, understanding how changes to your financial circumstances may impact pension entitlements is crucial. Strategic planning can help maximise both superannuation benefits, investment returns and government support, resulting in a more tax-efficient retirement income.

 

#4  Capital Gains Tax (CGT) management

Retirees may hold various assets that are subject to CGT, such as investment properties or shares. Implementing tax-efficient withdrawal strategies involves managing capital gains and losses strategically. Considering the CGT discount, timing of asset sales, and eligibility for any tax offsets can contribute to a more tax-effective retirement income.

 

#5  Tax credits and deductions

Retirees can take advantage of various tax credits and deductions to enhance their overall tax position. This may include the Seniors and Pensioners Tax Offset, Medicare Safety Nets, and other relevant incentives. Understanding eligibility criteria and staying informed about changes to these provisions is essential for effective tax planning.

The ATO’s Seniors and Pensioners Tax Offset calculator is a useful tool in determining your eligibility.

 

#6  Professional advice and continuous review

Given the complexity of Australia's tax and superannuation systems, seeking professional advice is paramount. Engaging with financial advisers and tax professionals can provide personalised strategies tailored to your individual circumstances. Additionally, regular reviews of retirement plans ensure that strategies remain aligned with changing financial goals, market conditions, and regulatory environments.

 

Part nine - Estate planning essentials

The roles of wills and trusts in retirement planning

One aspect of retirement planning that is often overlooked is estate planning. Your super is a key component of your estate, so it’s important not to overlook making any necessary adjustments to the beneficiaries of your super fund should your circumstances change, such as in the event of a divorce.

Effective estate planning goes beyond mere financial considerations, encompassing the thoughtful distribution of assets and the preservation of one's legacy.

Here, we delve into the indispensable roles of wills and trusts in the context of retirement planning in Australia.

    

#1  The significance of estate planning in retirement

Estate planning is a holistic approach to safeguarding one's assets and ensuring their orderly distribution in the event of death. In the context of retirement, it becomes imperative to consider the long-term impact of these decisions on both the retiree and their beneficiaries.

The primary goals of estate planning in retirement include minimising tax liabilities, protecting assets, and providing for loved ones according to the retiree's wishes.

 

#2  Wills: A cornerstone of effective estate planning

A will is a fundamental legal document that outlines the distribution of an individual's assets upon their demise. In retirement planning, a will provides clarity and legal validity to the intentions of the benefactor. Key elements of wills in retirement planning include:

  • Asset distribution - Clearly defining how assets, such as property, investments, and personal possessions, should be distributed among heirs and beneficiaries.
  • Appointment of executors - Nominating a reliable executor who will be responsible for administering the estate and ensuring the terms of the will are executed faithfully.
  • Guardianship for dependents - Identifying guardians for dependents, such as minor children or family members with special needs, to ensure their welfare and care.

 

#3  Trusts: Enhancing control and asset protection

While wills are vital components of estate planning, trusts offer additional layers of control, flexibility, and asset protection. Trusts are entities that hold assets on behalf of beneficiaries. The trustee is legally responsible for managing trust assets and income, in accordance with specific provisions in the trust deed.

In retirement planning, trusts play a pivotal role in:

  • Asset preservation - Trusts may shield assets from potential threats, such as creditors or legal disputes, thereby preserving the value of the estate for beneficiaries.
  • Probate avoidance - Assets held in trusts may bypass the probate process, facilitating a quicker and more private distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
  • Tax efficiency - Certain types of trusts can offer tax advantages, contributing to a more tax-efficient transfer of wealth to heirs.

 

#4  An integrated approach: Harnessing the power of wills and trusts

Effective estate plans may integrate wills and trusts to create a comprehensive strategy that aligns with the benefactor's goals. By combining the clear provisions of a will with the asset protection and control mechanisms of trusts, you can tailor your estate plans to meet the unique challenges and opportunities, giving you peace of mind in retirement.


Part ten - Adjusting your retirement plan over time

Retirement planning is a dynamic process that requires ongoing attention and fine-tuning to ensure financial security in retirement. The importance of periodically reviewing and adjusting your retirement plan cannot be overstated. A professional adviser can provide assistance with this process.

 

Importance of regular retirement plan reviews

Regularly reviewing your retirement plan is a fundamental aspect of responsible financial management. The economic landscape, legislative changes to super and pensions, and personal circumstances can evolve over time, influencing the effectiveness of your retirement strategy. A comprehensive review ensures that your plan remains aligned with your financial objectives and accounts for any modifications in your life, such as career changes, health considerations, or other family dynamics.

 

Adapting to changing circumstances

Life is unpredictable, and unforeseen events can significantly impact your retirement outlook. Adapting your plan to changing circumstances is not only prudent but also essential for maintaining financial stability. Whether it's an unexpected expense, a shift in housing needs, changing market conditions, or alterations in the tax environment, a flexible retirement plan can absorb these changes without jeopardising your long-term financial goals.

Flexibility in retirement planning also encompasses the ability to adjust your investment portfolio as you age. As you move closer to retirement, a more conservative investment approach may be appropriate to safeguard your accumulated wealth. Regular assessments enable you to reallocate assets based on your evolving risk tolerance and time horizon, ensuring your investments align with your changing needs.

 

Staying on track with retirement goals

Achieving your retirement goals requires an ongoing commitment to monitoring your financial progress and making necessary adjustments. Regular check-ins on your retirement plan enable you to stay on track and make informed decisions about your financial future. Assessing your projected income, expenses, and lifestyle expectations allows you to identify any gaps or surpluses in your retirement plan, facilitating proactive adjustments.

Staying on track also involves reassessing your retirement goals due to changing priorities. As personal and financial objectives evolve, your retirement plan should evolve with them. Whether you aspire to travel, support family members, or engage in philanthropy during retirement, periodic reviews help align your financial strategy with those evolving aspirations.


Part eleven - Enjoying your retirement lifestyle

Pursuing hobbies and interest in retirement

One important aspect of a fulfilling retirement in Australia is the pursuit of hobbies and interests. As retirees move from their professional careers to a more leisure-oriented lifestyle, engaging in meaningful activities is important to maintain a sense of fulfillment and overall wellbeing.

Key benefits of pursuing hobbies and interests:

  • Enhanced mental well-being - Engaging in hobbies and interests provides mental stimulation, helping retirees stay sharp and focused. Whether it's learning a new skill, participating in a book club, or pursuing artistic endeavours, these activities contribute to good health and help prevent the onset or progression of cognitive decline.
  • Healthy lifestyle - Pursuing physical activities as hobbies, such as gardening, hiking, or sports, not only promotes physical health but also contributes to a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
  • Building social connections - Many hobbies offer the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals. Joining clubs, community groups, or classes related to one's interests fosters social connections, combating potential feelings of isolation or loneliness that can arise in retirement.
  • Personal growth and fulfillment - Retirement is an ideal time for personal growth and self-discovery. Engaging in hobbies allows you to explore new passions, develop skills, and achieve a sense of fulfillment that can even go beyond the professional or personal achievements of your earlier years.

 

Social and emotional aspects of retirement

Retirement is a profound social and emotional transition that requires careful consideration.

Retirees often find themselves with more time to invest in relationships. Encouraging the preservation and cultivation of existing social connections, as well as the formation of new ones, is essential for combating feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Involvement in local community activities, volunteering, and social groups also fosters a sense of belonging.

Access to mental health resources, counselling services, and support groups can play a crucial role in maintaining and improving emotional wellbeing.

Managing your expectations is key to a smooth retirement transition. Understanding that retirement may involve an adjustment period and that it is normal to experience a range of emotions allows for a more realistic and positive outlook.

 

Recommendations for retirement planning:

  • Holistic retirement education - Retirement planning programs should include components that address the social and emotional dimensions of retirement. Workshops, seminars, and informational resources can provide valuable insights and strategies for navigating those aspects successfully.
  • Encouraging open communication - Promote open communication within families and among peers about the emotional aspects of retirement. Encouraging dialogue about expectations and concerns can facilitate a more supportive and understanding environment.
  • Wellbeing checkpoints - Integrate regular wellbeing check-ins into retirement planning processes. This involves assessing and addressing emotional and social needs, ensuring that retirees have the necessary resources to maintain a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.

By fostering social connections, monitoring your emotional wellbeing, and accessing the necessary resources, you can approach retirement with resilience and a positive outlook on this new phase of life.

 

Part twelve - Getting professional help

 

How financial advisers can assist with retirement planning

Let’s explore the invaluable role that financial advisers can play in assisting individuals with their retirement planning.

  • Expertise and knowledge - One of the primary benefits of engaging a financial adviser in retirement planning is the access to their expertise and knowledge. Financial advisers possess a deep understanding of the complex landscape of retirement planning, including tax implications, investment options, and superannuation strategies.
  • Personalised financial strategies - Financial advisers work closely with clients to develop personalised financial strategies that address their specific needs and aspirations. They conduct thorough assessments of current financial situations, taking into account assets, liabilities, and future income streams. By understanding your risk tolerance, time horizon, and lifestyle goals, advisers can create a customised retirement plan that increases the likelihood of achieving a comfortable and secure retirement.
  • Portfolio management - Retirement planning often involves managing investment portfolios to generate income and preserve capital. Financial advisers assist in constructing well-diversified portfolios that balance risk and return, considering your risk profile and investment objectives. Regular reviews and adjustments are made to adapt to changing market conditions, or even changes in your financial or personal circumstances over the course of your working life, ensuring the portfolio remains aligned with your retirement goals.
  • Tax optimisation - Navigating the tax implications of retirement is a complex task, and financial advisers excel in optimising tax strategies. They help clients take advantage of available tax benefits, minimise tax liabilities, and structure withdrawals in a tax-efficient manner. This proactive approach to tax planning can significantly impact the overall retirement income and leave more resources for you to enjoy.

 

DIY vs. professional guidance

The decision to undertake retirement planning independently or seek professional guidance is a significant choice that we will all face at some point.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach versus enlisting the services of a financial adviser for retirement planning.

 

DIY approach

The DIY approach to retirement planning appeals to those who prefer more hands-on control over their financial decisions. This approach involves self-directed research, asset allocation, and investment management. DIY investors often use online tools, resources, and financial calculators to make informed decisions about their retirement strategy.

Pros:

  • Cost savings - DIY investors can avoid the fees associated with hiring a financial adviser.
  • Autonomy - Individuals have full control over their investment decisions and financial planning.
  • Learning experience - Engaging in DIY retirement planning can provide valuable financial education.

Cons:

  • Lack of expertise - Without professional guidance, individuals may lack the expertise to navigate complex financial markets and tax regulations.
  • Emotional decision-making - DIY investors may be prone to emotional decision-making, especially during market fluctuations, which can impact long-term financial goals.
  • Time – Doing your own investment planning for retirement can be a very time-consuming process. This time could instead be spent doing something you enjoy if you leave it to an expert.
  • Missed opportunities – No matter how well researched you are, chances are a financial expert will always do a better job at identifying investment opportunities that you may not (or could not) find independently.

 

Professional guidance

Engaging a financial adviser for retirement planning provides individuals with access to professional expertise and personalised advice.

Pros:

  • Expert guidance - Financial advisers bring extensive knowledge and experience to create comprehensive retirement plans.
  • Customisation - Professionals tailor strategies based on your individual financial goals, risk tolerance, and lifestyle preferences.
  • Portfolio management - Advisers actively manage investment portfolios, adapting to market changes and optimising returns.

Cons:

  • Fees - Professional services come with associated fees, impacting the overall cost of retirement planning. In some circumstances, you may be able to obtain advice about your super from a representative of your super fund at no additional cost.
  • Reliance on others - Some individuals may prefer full control over their financial decisions and may find it challenging to trust someone else with their retirement strategy.

 

The choice between a DIY approach and professional guidance in retirement planning ultimately depends on your preferences, financial literacy, and comfort levels with risk.

Whilst DIY offers autonomy and potential cost savings, professional guidance provides expertise and a tailored approach that can significantly enhance the likelihood of achieving a secure and fulfilling retirement.

 

Part thirteen - Learning from real-life examples

 

Success stories: real people who nailed retirement planning

1 – Sarah’s story

Sarah, a 48-year-old marketing executive who earns a steady income of $120,000 per year, began her retirement planning journey in her early 30s. Recognising the importance of securing her financial future, Sarah undertook a systematic approach to retirement planning, incorporating various elements to build a robust retirement portfolio.

Steps taken

  • Financial assessment and goal setting - Sarah initiated her retirement planning by conducting a thorough assessment of her current financial situation. This involved calculating her net worth, evaluating existing assets, and understanding her monthly expenses. Subsequently, she established clear retirement goals, considering factors such as desired lifestyle, healthcare costs, and potential travel plans.
  • Budgeting and expense management - A critical component of Sarah's success was her commitment to budgeting. She adopted a modest lifestyle, tracked her expenses meticulously, and prioritised saving a significant portion of her income. By keeping her discretionary spending in check, Sarah was able to allocate more funds toward her retirement accounts.
  • Diversified savings and investments - Sarah took a diversified approach to savings and investments. She contributed consistently to her super fund, in addition to her employer contributions. Sarah also explored other investment avenues, diversifying her portfolio with a mix of shares, bonds, and real estate.
  • Continuous education and professional advice - Recognising the complexity of retirement planning, Sarah invested time in educating herself. She attended financial planning seminars, read relevant literature, and sought advice from certified financial planners. This commitment to ongoing education allowed her to make informed decisions, adapt to market changes, and optimise her investment strategy.
  • Emergency fund and insurance coverage - Sarah prioritised setting aside an emergency fund equivalent to six months' worth of living expenses. This served as a financial safety net, protecting her retirement savings from unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, she secured adequate insurance coverage, including health, life, and disability insurance, to safeguard her financial wellbeing in the event of illness or injury.

This example underscores the importance of early and proactive retirement planning, providing valuable insights for those seeking to embark on a similar path to financial security.

 

2 – Bill’s story

Bill had spent over two decades in the IT sector. As he entered his early 50s, thoughts of retirement began to loom large, and he realised that he hadn't adequately prepared for his post-working years.

Bill's annual income, which had seen gradual increases over the years, was approximately $125,000. Despite this seemingly robust income, Bill was aware that his retirement savings were insufficient. The lack of a structured retirement plan left him anxious about his financial future, prompting him to seek professional advice.

Steps taken

  • Financial assessment - Bill started by conducting a thorough assessment of his current financial situation. He evaluated his savings, investments, and existing retirement accounts. This analysis helped him understand the gap between his current financial standing and the retirement goals he had in mind.
  • Engaging financial advisers - Recognising the need for expert guidance, Bill sought the services of a certified financial planner. The adviser helped him create a personalised retirement plan, taking into account his income, expenses, risk tolerance, and desired lifestyle during retirement.
  • Budgeting and expense management - Bill implemented strict budgeting practices to control unnecessary expenditures. By identifying areas where he could cut costs, he redirected those funds towards his retirement savings. This disciplined approach enabled him to boost his retirement fund systematically.
  • Diversified investments - With the guidance of his financial adviser, Bill diversified his investment portfolio to mitigate risks and maximise returns. He allocated a portion of his savings to low-risk options, like bonds, and a portion to higher-risk, higher-reward investments, such as shares. This diversification aimed to achieve a balance between growth and stability.
  • Retirement account optimisation - Bill took steps to optimise his super account, adjusting his personal contribution levels to ensure he was maximising the benefits of his super, and in turn, benefiting from tax savings.
  • Debt reduction - Bill also focused on reducing outstanding debts to ensure a smoother transition into retirement. This included paying off high-interest loans and strategically managing mortgage payments. The goal was to enter retirement with minimal financial obligations.

Through diligent planning and strategic decision-making, Bill successfully transformed his retirement outlook. Over the course of five years, he saw significant growth in his retirement portfolio. His diversified investment approach, coupled with disciplined savings and budgeting, resulted in a more secure financial future.

 

Lessons from retirees who got it right

When planning for your own retirement, there are few better resources to lean upon for advice than those who have already made the transition into retirement successfully.

We asked a few of those retirees to share a piece of advice to those currently planning their own retirement.

Eleanor, 72: "Start early and be consistent"

“It’s important to start retirement planning early in life. By consistently saving and investing over the years, I was able to build a substantial nest egg that provides financial security and peace of mind in my retirement.”

Richard, 68: "Diversify your investments"

“I believe in the power of diversification. By spreading my investments across various asset classes, such as shares, bonds, and real estate, I managed to mitigate risks and optimise returns. This approach has helped me weather market fluctuations and maintain a stable income stream during retirement.”

Grace, 75: "Live below your means"

“I learned the value of regular savings and living within my means. Throughout my working years, I prioritised saving over unnecessary expenses, allowing me to create a retirement fund that exceeds my basic needs. This financial discipline has allowed me to enjoy retirement without worrying about financial constraints.”

Henry, 70: "Stay informed and adapt"

“I think it’s important to always stay informed about financial trends and adapt to changes. By regularly reassessing my retirement plan and making necessary adjustments, I was able to successfully navigate economic shifts, ensuring that my finances remained resilient and capable of sustaining my preferred lifestyle in retirement.”

Mabel, 80: "Invest in health and relationships"

“I believe that a successful retirement isn't just about financial planning. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of investing time and effort into maintaining good health and nurturing meaningful relationships. By staying active, both physically and socially, I have found fulfillment in retirement. Your emotional and physical health is every bit as important as your financial health.”

 

Part fourteen - Taking action

A step-by-step checklist for your retirement planning journey

This checklist serves as a comprehensive guide to help you embark on your own successful retirement planning journey.

 

#1  Assess your current financial situation

Evaluate your current assets, including savings, investments, insurance policies, and superannuation.

Determine your monthly expenses and identify areas where you can potentially cut costs.

Understand any outstanding debts and develop a plan to manage or pay them off before retirement.

 

#2  Define your retirement goals

Clearly outline your retirement lifestyle expectations, considering factors such as travel, leisure, and healthcare.

Establish a timeline for your retirement goals, including the desired age of retirement and any specific milestones.

 

#3  Understand the Australian superannuation system

Familiarise yourself with the intricacies of the Australian superannuation system, which plays a crucial role in tax effective retirement funding.

Stay informed about changes in super laws and take advantage of any available government incentives.

 

#4  Calculate your retirement income needs

Estimate your anticipated expenses during retirement, factoring in potential healthcare costs and inflation.

Determine the income sources available, including the Age Pension, super, and any additional investments.

 

#5  Create a diversified investment strategy

Work with a financial adviser to develop an investment portfolio that aligns with your risk tolerance, time horizon, and retirement objectives.

Consider diversifying your investments across asset classes to mitigate risk and enhance long-term returns.

 

#6  Maximise your super contributions

Contribute as much as you can (without exceeding the maximum permitted amount) to your super fund to benefit from tax advantages and bolster your retirement savings. Note that super generally cannot be accessed till you retire after reaching preservation age (currently 59 but increases to age 60 from 1 July 2024).

Explore additional voluntary contributions, such as salary sacrificing, to make further savings.

 

#7  Review and update estate planning

Regularly review and update your will, ensuring it reflects your current financial and familial situation.

Consider the impact of your estate on your beneficiaries and explore strategies to minimise potential tax liabilities.

 

#8  Explore retirement income streams

Investigate various retirement income options, such as annuities, account-based pensions, and other investment products.

Understand the tax implications and flexibility of each income stream to make informed decisions.

 

#9  Stay informed and adapt your plan

Stay abreast of changes in legislation and economic conditions that may impact your retirement plan.

Regularly revisit and adjust your retirement plan as needed, especially during major life events or shifts in financial markets.

 

Part fifteen - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here, we answer a few of the most commonly asked questions related to retirement planning:

 

How much do you really need to retire comfortably in Australia?

Determining the exact amount needed for a comfortable retirement in Australia depends on various factors such as lifestyle expectations, health considerations, and individual preferences.

A common benchmark is the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) Retirement Standard. According to ASFA, for a comfortable retirement, a single person aged between 65 and 84 would need around $50,981 annually, while a couple would require approximately $71,723 (figures published in September 2023).

This estimate assumes that retirees own their home outright and enjoy activities such as regular holidays, leisure, and dining out. It also covers essential costs like health insurance, home repairs, and utilities.

Keep in mind that these figures are general guidelines and individual circumstances may vary. Factors such as healthcare needs, desired lifestyle, and unexpected expenses can significantly impact the total amount needed for retirement.

 

What is the retirement age in Australia?

There is no official retirement age in Australia but the age at which you are entitled to receive the Age Pension has been gradually increasing due to changes in government policy aimed at addressing the challenges posed by an aging population.

The qualifying age for the Age Pension age was increased to 67 in July 2023. When planning for retirement, you should stay informed about any changes in retirement policies and adjust your plans accordingly.

 

How long will $500k last in retirement?

The longevity of $500,000 in retirement depends on several factors, including spending habits, investment choices, and potential healthcare costs. To estimate how long this sum might last, it is essential to consider the annual withdrawal rate and potential investment returns.

A commonly used guideline is the 4% rule, which suggests withdrawing 4% of the retirement savings annually. Applying this rule to $500,000 would result in an annual withdrawal of $20,000. However, individuals should be aware that this rule may not be suitable for everyone.

The actual duration $500,000 will last in retirement depends on individual circumstances, so it's advisable for retirees to work with a financial adviser to create a sustainable withdrawal plan.

 

Part sixteen - Conclusion

This guide underscores the critical importance of comprehensive, strategic, and proactive retirement planning to ensure a financially secure and fulfilling post-work life.

We have navigated key aspects of retirement planning, emphasising the need for early engagement, a clear understanding of super, investment diversification, and ongoing financial education.

We've delved into the role of government pension schemes, tax implications, and the power of compounding returns, offering practical insights to optimise wealth accumulation. The discussion on healthcare considerations sheds light on the often overlooked aspect of retirement planning, emphasising the need for comprehensive health coverage.

Moreover, our exploration of lifestyle choices and adjusting financial goals to align with personal aspirations encourages a holistic approach to retirement. By promoting financial literacy, risk management, and staying informed about legislative changes, this guide empowers readers to make informed decisions that secure their financial well-being in retirement.

By recognising the unique challenges and opportunities in the Australian retirement landscape, you have the tools at your disposal to achieve your goals and aspirations.

Furthermore, the significance of seeking professional advice and leveraging digital tools for personalised financial planning cannot be overstated.

As we look to the future, it is evident that a proactive approach to retirement planning is essential. The dynamic nature of financial markets and evolving retirement policies necessitate ongoing review and adaptation of your retirement strategy.

In essence, "Secure Your Future" is more than a guide; it's a call to action for Australians to take charge of their financial destiny. By implementing the strategies outlined herein, you can embark on a journey towards a secure and fulfilling retirement, ensuring that your later years embody financial stability, peace of mind, and the realisation of lifelong dreams.

 

Retirement with MLC

As one of the largest super providers in Australia,* we’re focused on delivering competitive returns, so your money continues to grow. When it comes to support, we go the extra mile— providing general super advice at no additional cost.

 

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  • This article has been prepared by NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633 AFSL 236465 (NULIS) as trustee of the MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024. NULIS is part of the Insignia Financial group of companies comprising Insignia Financial Ltd ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (‘Insignia Financial Group’). The information in this article is current as at April 2024 and may be subject to change. This information may constitute general advice. The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions based on this information. It is recommended that you consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) before you make any decisions about your superannuation. You can obtain the latest copy of the PDS (or other disclosure documents) and TMD by calling us on 132 652 or by searching for the applicable product at mlc.com.au. You should not rely on this article to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue. The case study examples (if any) provided in this article have been included for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon for decision making. Subject to terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, neither NULIS nor any member of the Insignia Financial Group accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the information in this communication.