Nearing retirement? 7 steps to take before you leave work
You're so close. You were diligent in making additional contributions to your super when it made sense and have saved enough in your fund of choice. You have created a realistic retirement budget. You dream of more days at the beach, turning into a grey nomad, with none, zero, nada, office commitments.
To increase the odds that your retirement fantasy matches the reality consider these three simple questions:
Start with three simple questions:
- Have you got enough?
- Have you had enough?
- Do you have enough to do?
Assuming the answer is yes to all three then complete a few important steps before you bid farewell to work. Our pre-retirement checklist can guide you through this process.
As with longer-term retirement planning, this process need not eat up days of time. You should be able to complete most of it in an afternoon, or in small chunks spread out over several days.
Somewhere from two years to six months before your retirement morning tea or farewell drinks, schedule time to start ticking items off this list so that they don't intrude on your days at the beach or with the grandkids.
1) Know how you plan to spend your time in retirement. The idea of not working appeals to many people, but some retirees miss being busy and socialising with others. To prepare for this possibility, check out possible part-time work or volunteer opportunities. Drop by the local community organisation, community garden or other social outlets. Look into taking a class or learning a new skill or finally expanding that passion/hobby to the next level. Make some plans to fill your days.
2) Go to the doctor for a checkup. Review your health insurance and match your health needs to your coverage.
3) Revisit your financial plan. Have you saved enough to fund your planned retirement lifestyle now it is much more in focus? Do you have an emergency fund? Does your asset allocation match your required return and risk tolerance?
4) Check whether you are eligible for the age pension or any other payments and services from the Australian Government. You can apply for the age pension three months before you plan to retire.
5) Review your super statements and look for lost or unclaimed super.
6) Create or make needed changes to your will, enduring power of attorney and advance health directive. Pay special attention to beneficiaries so that your money goes to the intended person.
7) Decide how and when you will access your super. You may access your super when you reach preservation age, which ranges from 55 to 60, depending on when you were born. You may take your super as a lump sum, a regular pension, or a combination of both. For more information on these decisions, you may want to read this guide from the Australian Securities & Investment Commission.
Following these steps can allow you to head into retirement with confidence and the necessary information to design the post-work life you desire.
Written by Robin Bowerman, Head of Corporate Affairs at Vanguard.
02 December 2019