Planning for retirement? You’re amazing! Not interested? Holla!👋

We get it. Retirement is this imaginary thing that we can’t really get our heads around. We’ve barely got our sh*t together today, let alone for decades from now.

But if you ever imagine retiring the way the parentals have/will, then reality check = necessary.
Plus remember the snowballing beauty of compound interest? Starting today is the most important thing. Even if it’s a teensy extra bit to get the ball rolling 🎱.

We have our differences

Retirement for us is going to be totally different from how it looks today for our (grand)parentals.

Why?

For starters, the automation of the workforce + increasing ‘casualisation’ (i.e. less FT work, more gig work) means we won’t be in the same jobs/careers for nearly as long.

For Gen Y, the # of careers we can expect in our lifetimes is five! [Jac of all trades😜]. Sounds fun, but it also suggests less stable employment and more unpredictable pay patterns.

Wrong number ☎

The numbers on superannuation websites on how much we need for retirement are a tad misleading.

ASFA says a couple needs $60K a year in retirement to live ‘comfortably’ and that you’ll need $640K saved by 65 for that. Single? You need $545K.

Their definition of ‘comfortable’ includes drinking wine out of a bottle🍷 (compared to wine in a bag, which is what they include in ‘modest’ lifestyle), and one holiday a year, in Australia. ⛱

How you define comfortable is really personal. I’m no wino, but I sure as sh*t want to have more than one holiday a year when I’m retired.

But aside from that, the number is problematic for us to use as a benchmark.

Why?

$640K in today’s money is very different from what $640K will be worth in 30 years. Because inflation. It’s more likely to be $1.1 million+ in 2045. 💰💰💰

They make assumptions about how that lump sum is invested, and assume a 6% return. Investment returns are impossible to predict + it depends on how you want to invest it.

They assume you’ll receive a part Age Pension from the government. See two headings down.

They assume you’ll have zero debt by retirement age, AND own your home. 🤔 Err…hold up. Household debt’s ballooned and Australians are now almost $1 trillion in debt, big thanks to our love affair with property 😍🏘. Paying it off is presumably going to take way longer, especially as wages are like a face after botox (unmoving)❄.

Long live the millennial

We’re going to be living longer.

If you’re 60 in 2045 (born in 1985), some estimate you’ll live a further 30+ years. So you’ll be 90+ before you’re gonzo.

If you retire at 60, your working life will be about 40 years. But your retirement life will be 30 years. Almost as long as your working life. That’s a lotta saving to do. Yowch 😷.

No pension plan is the plan

Many retirees claim an aged pension from the government at the mo. It’s one of the big ticket items paid by our big taxes.

The problem is, as we get on, there’ll be fewer of us working to fund the ageing population.
The number of working age people to support each retiree is 5 people today, and is expected to drop to about half, to 2.7 people in 2050. So it won’t be surprising to wave goodbye, at least to a big chunk of it 🙋🏻.

But a man is no financial plan

Ready yourself, because this stat is like a punch in the face 👊.

40% of single Australian women retire below the poverty line.

WTAF?

How’s that work? Well, as a woman, you’re much more likely to experience the pay gap (~18%), the savings gap (big culprits are clothes + homewares, thanks a lot ASOS), and the investment gap.

We’re way more likely to take breaks from paid work. Sometimes permanently.

More hard truth? At age 53, a quarter of all Australian women are separated or divorced 💔. Add to that women who are single, or widowed. And women outlive men. Longer life with way less money.

Don’t want to be a drainer but this is sh*t we have to be mindful of.

How much do I actually need then?

There’s no clean answer for this. Other than … probably more than you’re expecting.

The questions to ask yourself: how much do you want to spend in retirement? When do you want to retire?

You can’t predict how long you’ll live, but you can think about how much you spend today.

There’s a rule of thumb that you’ll need 65% of your current annual income in annual retirement income to keep up your current standard of living. If you earn $75K a year, that’s around $49K a year you want in retirement.

To calculate how much your current salary and super contributions suggest you’ll have at retirement, you can use this calculator.

Damn! So what’s the plan?

If you plan to retire, contribute as much as you can through salary sacrifice. If you’re self-employed, even more important. Pay yourself first 🎁.

Be conservative in your estimates of what you’ll need. When using super calculators, add a buffer 🙆🏽.

Watch out for exxy fees. A low-cost industry fund may make a big diff. Check out an analysis here that covers best performers too 🔍.

Got a while before retirement? You might want to consider growth investments (your super fund will probs offer a ‘growth’ fund. It generally means more of your pie going into shares.)🌱

What you spend today is like a blueprint for how you’ll spend tomorrow. Keeping your spending real is good for Future You ⏳.

There’s a cherry on top 🍒

It’s been a bit dreary so let’s get cheery. Firstly, we’re waaaaay better off than almost every other country because of our compulsory super system. Moreover: Retirement isn’t the be all and end all!

Yeah, maybe it’d be nice to take a decades-long holiday, but there’s tons of research that shows that working in our latter years, even part-time, is really good for our health and mental well-being. It keeps us happier and sharper. ⛹🏼‍♀️🗡

Plus, what about a sequence of multiple careers, rather than just one that you finish up when you’re 65? Imagine life with multiple short retirements, travelling the world and doing stuff you love while you’re young, as well as older! ⛵ Then re-skilling for your next career?

Sounds like fun to me!🍹

💜 jac+sar

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