Planning for Retirement

What is an SMSF? And should I have one?

An SMSF – or self managed super fund – is, as the name suggests, your own private super fund which you manage yourself.

It is an option for those who want to have complete control over their super, and because of this power, there can be a number of benefits with this kind of fund. Having said that, there is a lot to consider before you open an SMSF, both financially and legally.

It is beneficial to consult a financial planner to discuss your goals and motivations, and to decide whether an SMSF is right for you and your financial situation.

When can I access my superannuation?

You can access your super:

  • when you turn 65 (even if you haven’t retired), or
  • when you reach ‘preservation age’ and retire, or
  • under the transition to retirement rules, while continuing to work.

In extreme circumstances – e.g. disability, death and financial hardship – you may be able to access these funds earlier than outlined above.

How much money do I need to retire?

How much money you will need in retirement will depend on a number of different factors including your lifestyle, any outstanding debts, your life expectancy, health, and the projected cost of living in your retirement years.

It is best practice to look at current expenditure and decide how much money per annum you can afford to live on comfortably. A financial planner can help you calculate these estimates to help you plan for the future.

When should I start thinking about retirement?

From the moment you take your first job and your employer makes contributions to your superannuation scheme, you are passively working towards your retirement. But it’s important you take an active approach to your retirement plan and think about it beyond your regular pay cheque deductions. The earlier you start thinking about it, the longer you have to plan and set yourself up financially for those years you are no longer making an active income.

I have worked in lots of jobs and have no idea what superannuation accounts I have floating around.

With the help of a financial planner, you will be able to locate all your super funds, including those you’ve “lost”, with the aim being to roll them all into one fund. Consolidating your super into a single account will help to save you money on fees and therefore create a larger balance at retirement.

How do I transfer my UK private pension to Australia?

It makes sense to have your pension funds in the country in which you plan to retire – but more often than not, people move to Australia and leave their pensions back in the mother land. The Hopkins Group has a business partner in bdhSterling, a company specialising in cross border financial solutions and we work closely with them to plan a strategy for our clients to transfer their private pensions out here. For more information on bdhSterling, click here.