As you move towards the later years in life, your circumstances and lifestyle can change significantly. While planning ahead can be a relatively straightforward process, recent research in NSW identified many barriers that prevent people from doing so. These included the fact that death, dying, and losing capacity were viewed as sensitive topics among some people who didn’t want to think about it, or talk to family and friends about their wishes.

Why plan? 

According to Andrew Creaser from FinSec Partners, retirement planning isn’t just important, it’s critical. And it is not just about the dollars and cents. It’s becoming increasingly apparent how many Australians have no goals or plans either for their money or what they seek to achieve in their later years. While money is undoubtedly important (it’s nice to be able afford to do the things on your bucket list when the time becomes available), for many, it’s actually time that becomes the issue. For instance, what will you do when the long holiday is over and the reality of not having to be anywhere kicks in? What is your plan to fill your day? Many people let their work define them – when it’s gone their self-esteem can take a hit.

Key planning elements

If you’re facing an upcoming retirement it’s advisable if you haven’t already done so to go through the exercise of both a retirement checklist and putting in place a retirement plan. Included in this should be an estate plan, preparation or updating of your will, and appointment of an Executor and Power of Attorney.

To plan successfully you will need to:

  • Assess your current circumstances and set your retirement goals
  • Balance your current position against your goals 
  • Convert your goals into a plan
  • Convert this plan into achievable steps

Professional advice

It’s often advisable to look at engaging a professional financial planner to assist in this process and ensure you’re effectively prepared. Important questions to ask include – are they licensed, what are their qualifications and experience, how do they access products and how extensive is this product list. Also how transparent are their remuneration structures. Most advisory firms will agree to meet with you for an introductory meeting free of charge. In this meeting a good financial adviser’s objectives will be to gain a comprehensive understanding of your financial situation. You can then discuss some preliminary ways in which the relationship could be beneficial. This is your chance to see if you have a connection with both the adviser and the services on offer – if you are going to share personal financial information with somebody, you need to feel comfortable and confident with them.

Key considerations

Andrew Creaser recommends two key retirement considerations among many as hard asset protection and family. Make sure that you have the right general insurance arrangements in place for cars, boats, holiday homes, principal residences and contents. It may or may not cost a little more, but many a retirement plan has come unstuck because an unforeseen event has meant that funds have had to be redeployed from retirement income to asset replacement. And do your children have life insurance? Retirement plans can also easily unravel due to the trauma and financial hardship of dependants. It may be hard to plan for, but it is worth discussing points of view before the situation becomes a necessity.

This article was written in partnership with Over60.