It is said the biggest financial risk anyone takes in their lifetime is the risk of running out of money before they run out of life. Everybody reaches the starting line for retirement in different financial shape. There are those with little in the way of savings because they decided to spend while they were still young enough to enjoy it, or because they were unable to earn enough to save. There are those who squirreled small amounts of money away and have a small retirement nest egg. Others come to the starting line with significant amounts through having been regular contributors to a subsidized superannuation scheme or through being the beneficiaries of a large inheritance. What you have at the starting line of your retirement life will determine your standard of living for the next twenty or thirty years. Those with little or no savings will have their standard of living determined for them by the controllers of the public purse strings, with inflation being their constant enemy. For those with money to invest, the challenge becomes one of making what they have last the distance. There are three stages of retirement; the ‘live it up’ stage when you spend money on enjoying life, the ‘fix it up’ stage during which your car, house and body need maintenance, and the ‘wind it down’ stage when you need to pay for care. Invest your money in three ‘tranches’; one for each stage. The first amount should be invested in stable, income producing investments for five or ten years, while the second and third amounts can be invested for ten to twenty years with low to moderate exposure to growth assets (shares and property) to help protect against the effects of inflation. This will reduce the risk of outliving your money.
The latest Government budget had something for everyone but while most households will be a few dollars a week better off, there are some clear winners and losers. In the winners’ corner are businesses, those on high incomes, and savers. The biggest losers are property investors who have built large portfolios financed partly by tax rebates.