Why asking the right questions can help unlock your dream retirement

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By Toby Perkins, Financial Planner, NGS Super

Retirement planning isn’t just about numbers, it’s about unlocking possibilities.

Those in the 55 to 65 age group are likely the first generation to have had the benefit of compulsory superannuation throughout most of their working life – a powerful tool that can help build a solid foundation. And if you’re starting to think about retirement, whether you were born in the later years of the Baby Boomer generation or the early years of Gen X, you’ll be facing unique circumstances.

First, the pension age, which is now 67, is higher than it’s ever been. There are also the rising costs of housing and living. And statistics show you’re more likely than the generations before you to be supporting adult children.

But while these circumstances do need to be factored in, the good news is that there are strategies you can explore to navigate these challenges so you can build a future filled with the experiences you value most.

Asking The Right Questions

While personalised advice from a financial planner is the gold standard for superannuation planning, most of us could kickstart our retirement journey by asking ourselves the right questions. Here are some for you to consider:

1. Are you on track?
There are many free resources online that help you estimate retirement readiness. It might feel a little confronting at first, but exploring these tools can give you a surer sense of where you stand, and how much you may want to ramp up your super planning.

2. Do you know what your current lifestyle budget is?
You may have a good general idea of your monthly spend, but understanding the specifics can take your retirement planning to the next level. If you haven’t already, try tracking your spending for a month. Having a clear, detailed picture of expenditure will help you think about what can be adjusted to free up more for super contributions or savings.

3. What’s your ideal retirement lifestyle?
Would you prefer to travel the world or walk the garden path? What types of hobbies will you pursue – and how expensive will they be? How often will you treat yourself to dinner at your favourite restaurant? Be honest about how your retirement ideal compares to your current spending and adjust your expectations if needed.

4. Do you have specific financial commitments that might limit cash flow?
As you head into retirement, are you still paying down a mortgage? Or perhaps, like many other Aussies in your age group, you’re helping adult children with a deposit for a home. Some financial commitments can impact how much you can put towards saving for retirement, so speaking to an expert adviser can help you decide on a tailored strategy to work around these challenges.

5. Are you open to downsizing?
Downsizing your home can free up capital to boost your super for a more secure income. Plus, lower living costs in a smaller space could mean more room for travel, hobbies, unexpected expenses, or an extra dinner out every week.

The Time is Now: Make the Most of It
As you head closer to retirement, the next few years are crucial. Don’t wait! Asking yourself these questions is a great first step towards putting a solid plan for your super in place. Once that’s done, you can start making the most of options for maximising wealth accumulation, superannuation, and tax-effective strategies to save for retirement. For more tailored advice, a chat with a financial advisor is the way to go.

The key is to take charge of your financial future by asking informed questions, seeking personalised guidance, and taking action. With a clear plan and some smart strategies, you can bridge the gap between your current reality and your dream retirement.

About Toby Perkins Toby Perkins is a financial planner at NGS Super, with over a decade of experience in the industry. He specialises in superannuation, retirement planning and wealth accumulation, and is accredited in aged care financial planning. Toby enjoys getting to know members and their own unique circumstances in the process of helping them achieve their lifestyle goals and objectives.

This information is general information only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information or making an investment decision, consider your personal circumstances and read our Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination at

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