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Life in Retirement

  • October 18, 2018
  • By 50 Shades
Life in Retirement

A few years back, when we were both still in our mid-fifties we started to think about life in retirement and commenced planning for the eventuality. Like many people approaching retirement age we were concerned whether we had enough super and enough funds to live comfortably for the rest of our lives.

We trotted along to our Financial Planner who filled our heads with lots of things to consider, and eventually after several appointments he presented us with a retirement plan. The good news is that we were on the right track financially and all going well we could live off our super into our nineties – yay for us!

Life in Retirement

How Retirement Has Changed

I remember when my parents both retired from full-time work. They were given the golden handshake and started receiving their age pensions at the age of 65 years. They didn’t have to worry about income or assets tests, because they had little savings and the only investment they had was the family home. There was also no such thing as super to help them be more financially comfortable into their golden years.

In 1992 the Government introduced the Superannuation Guarantee (SG), a compulsory system of Superannuation for Australian employees, and that changed everything. The aim of super was that it would force all workers to save for their retirement and would relieve the pressure on Australia’s age pension.

So these days, if you’re employed and you’re earning over a certain amount weekly, in most cases you are guaranteed 9.5% of your salary into a super fund of your choice. Your super funds are invested for you and will hopefully accumulate nicely to provide you with a decent little nest egg for when you retire.

Retirement Planning

To be serious I’m glad that we went through the exercise of seeking expert advice because it not only gave us a retirement plan, but it also brought us up to date with the latest in super rules and regulations. As we know these rules are ever changing and it’s difficult to keep abreast with how these changes may impact on our financial future.

There is plenty of information on retirement planning and super out there on the web. Although we’re not NAB customers, we recently discovered a great source of information on the NAB Life Moments Hub. The hub answers a lot of financial questions like how to boost your super, how to plan for your retirement, what age can you have access to your super and understanding your retirement income.

Life in Retirement

Retirement Calculator

According to Moneysmart, most people need around 67% of their pre-retirement income to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed before they stopped working. The best way to calculate how much you’ll need in retirement is to draw up a budget, keeping in mind that your current income and expenditure will alter as you get older. We went through this exercise prior to meeting with our Financial Planner and after they applied a formula and a few tweaks they were able to predict how much we need to live happily ever after!

Retirement Planning Checklist

It’s a good idea to have a checklist prior to planning for retirement. Things to consider include:

  1. At what age do you want to retire?
  2. Can you afford to retire at this age? Use the retirement calculator to find out.
  3. Are you eligible for the Age Pension? If so make sure you’ll be able to manage on the pension.
  4. Draw up a budget of your income, expenses, assets and liabilities.
  5. Seek professional help with your retirement plan by either visiting a Financial Planner or if you’re a NAB customer visit the NAB Life Moment Hub for some general guidance.
  6. Is there a benefit to consolidating your accounts if you have multiple super funds? Before you do so however it is really important that you speak to someone to understand any benefits you may lose in doing so.
  7. Learn how you can boost your super prior to retirement to maximize it for retirement.

Life in Retirement

Accessing Superannuation

In our situation, we both started accessing our super early, once we retired from full-time work at the age of 55 years, our preservation age (your preservation age could be up to age 60 depending on your date of birth). We now work part-time and supplement our living expenses with a pension that we withdraw from our super fund. This gives us the flexibility to do some travel in our caravan and even a few overseas trips because our work is flexible.

Basically for us, what our super fund is earning from investments is what we draw out as a pension, so in effect we’re not eating into our super funds just yet. There is a minimum amount you’ll need to draw from your pension each year however (4% if you’re under age 65, increasing based on your age). This is a win-win for us, because it enables us a good lifestyle without having to work full-time. We’re definitely very fortunate to be in this position. It’s important you consider the impact on your long term retirement plan however if you do start accessing your super before you fully retire.

Downsizing Your House

Getting ready for retirement, can also involve selling the family home and downsizing to a less expensive and smaller home. Let’s face it most retirees are empty nesters and a large home no longer suits their needs or lifestyles.

There is such a thing called the downsizer super contribution that could allow eligible Australians over the age of 65 to direct some of the proceeds from the sale of an eligible long-held home into their super. The maximum amount you can contribute is $300,000 per person, so a couple could contribute up to $600,000. Other eligibility rules apply, and before you take this step it is important to consider any impacts on your Centrelink or DVA benefits by effectively increasing the value of the assets assessable for social security means-testing purposes.

In our case we are presently going through the exercise of selling our two-storey family home and making a sea change into a smaller one level home. Although we’re not old enough to make a downsizer contribution, we are speaking to our adviser on how best to use the sale proceeds to invest and boost our retirement savings.

Planning for life in retirement really doesn’t have to be that difficult after all. With good planning and financial advice you can achieve a life in retirement that you have always dreamt about.

This article is a NAB paid promotion and was written in collaboration with NAB. As always, all opinions are my own.

Any advice is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and because of that you should, before acting on the advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to those matters

This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who love to promote a Lovin’ Life mindset.

The Lovin’ Life Team includes:

and of course me, Kathy from 50 SHADES OF AGE



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By 50 Shades, October 18, 2018 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

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  • Jo Tracey
    October 18, 2018

    Some really good tips – and stuff we’re looking at now. Hubby has retired (will be 57 in a couple of weeks) & can access his super. I can’t access mine until I’m 61 – another 10 years. At the moment we’re able to live on my salary, but as I look to drop back my hours to focus on my business, we need to consider this sort of thing. Great post.

    • Kathy
      October 18, 2018

      Our main reason for consulting a Financial Planner and sorting out our super, was prior to embarking on our 7 month trip around Australia in 2014. We needed to know whether we could afford to chuck our jobs in and become grey nomads! It was the best decision of our lives, because it made us assess our financial situation and plan for the future. I highly recommend doing this at the earliest possible moment.

  • Min @ Write of the Middle
    October 18, 2018

    Wonderful post Kathy with lots of good points to consider. I basically retired early though I am not officially retired because I dabble in this ‘n’ that. Hubby will turn 60 next year but I don’t think he is planning to retire for a while yet. There’s lots we need to start thinking about though! Thanks for helping out with the thinking process! #TeamLovinLife

    • Kathy
      October 18, 2018

      The good thing about planning for retirement is that it gives you something to work towards and maybe the light at the end of the tunnel for some. My husband and I were both in jobs that we didn’t particularly like, so early retirement for us was a God send. Of course we both still work part-time so that we’re not eating into our super too much. We love the flexibility of our semi-retired existence and we feel very secure that we have our financial futures sorted out. I highly recommend doing this ASAP.

  • Leanne
    October 18, 2018

    That was great info Kathy – we both work part-time and that’s enough to pay our bills and leave us with some pocket money. Our super isn’t fabulous so we’re busy putting away as much as we can into it each year (within the limits). We don’t plan to retire for ten years (depending on whether the work still comes in) because I think we’ve finally gotten our work/life balance right. I do like the idea of using a bit of super + part-time work to ease into full retirement.

    • Kathy
      October 18, 2018

      It sounds like you’re on track Leanne. I would hate to think that we would need to rely on the pension entirely in our retirement. I see both my parents struggle in this regard. Planning for the future is very important, once you get to our age. #LovinLifeTeam

  • Deborah
    October 18, 2018

    I love these posts but worry I won’t ever get to the point of retirement…. that I’ll just phase out of the workforce – which I’d like – but not sure about sustaining myself until I can access my superannuation or get the pension or something. And even then, I’m not sure if my super will be enough. I contributed for 25yrs (though withdrew super back in the 1990s when you were allowed, when I did volunteer work overseas and wanted to travel at the same time).

    I suspect I’m kinda in denial about how much I’m going to need (or will need now – though I keep adding up my bills and my mortgage!)

    • Kathy
      October 18, 2018

      I would recommend seeing a Financial Planner Deb so that you can answer all of your questions and allay your fears. It’s a big load off knowing where you’re heading financially in your life and these professionals can help you plan for the future. I say go do it ASAP.

  • Life Images by Jill
    October 18, 2018

    There is certainly a lot to consider when planning for retirement – but after being retired now for about 3 years, we are enjoying life, and though we don’t splurge excessively, we are sitting comfortably and life is good. Happy retirement!

    • Kathy
      October 18, 2018

      Is there ever Jill. The confusing part is that the Government keep changing policy and the super rules. It’s a minefield! I’m so glad that you have your financial future sorted. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jan Wild
    October 18, 2018

    Lots of good advice here Kathy. It is too easy to ignore the realities and that can only lead to a nasty shock and the possibility of having to exist on the ever diminishing aged pension. Not a position l want to find myself in.

    • Kathy
      October 18, 2018

      Exactly Jan. None of us want to just try to scrape by on the aged pension. That’s why I think financial planning is every so important. #TeamLovinLife

  • jodie
    October 18, 2018

    We jumped in with both feet and have never looked back. Sure there are some days that aren’t as secure as others, but life is short….And it’s time to enjoy!

    • Kathy
      October 19, 2018

      I totally agree Jodie. We need to make the most of every day we spend on this earth. We’re not letting the dust settle under out feet either! It’s heartening to hear that you’re financially secure in your retirement. #TeamLovinLife

  • Natalie
    October 19, 2018

    Your advice to do financial planning ASAP is a great one. #teamlovinlife

    • Kathy
      October 19, 2018

      Thanks Natalie. I hope this post has resonated with a lot of people and made them think about their retirement plan. #TeamLovinLife

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    October 22, 2018

    I won’t need to think about this for a while yet. Still got kids in the house! But … we do have a bit of a plan in our minds. Definitely downsizing. Whether it be an apartment or a caravan will depend on our finances I suppose! LOL. These kids cost us a fortune …

    • Kathy
      October 24, 2018

      Yes I remember having kids that cost us a fortune, but the wonderful thing is that eventually they become self sufficient and they are no longer a financial burden. I’m pleased to hear that you have a future plan. Great work!

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