Many of our new clients come to us with around $700,000 in assets and about ten years left of their working lives. Their goal is to make sure they have enough money in order to live a good lifestyle during retirement. The first question we ask them is: how much money do you spend now? This is important, because we find that nobody wants to downgrade their lifestyle once they retire. So, to know what you need in retirement, first work out what you need right now.
Towards retirement, we always discuss assets and liabilities with our clients. Many of them talk about their house as an asset and part of their retirement savings. But there is a problem with this. Unless their plan is to sell the house before or during retirement, this is not an asset that will generate an income for them to live off.
Today we discuss an urban legend that is actually true – the story of Van Halen and their brown M&Ms ritual.
It can be difficult to own a money-generating asset – historically speaking, too. You can’t drive past a successful business and just go in and buy part of it. On the flipside, you can buy a part of some very big companies online – in fact, you can simply get on the internet and buy a share in companies like NAB and Amazon at the push of a button. And the best bit about having these shares is that you can own part of the biggest companies around the world without having to know what they are or how they operate. To buy an asset and sell it later at a profit is the best way to make money – and this is often what happens with shares.
We find that tax deductions are often the least understood area of finance. People often spend money simply because it’s a tax write-off. But what they don’t consider is whether that expense will help them in some way in the future.
Most people have some money saved for their retirement. Whether this is in superannuation or across other investments, they have generally thought about their retirement and are preparing for it. The issue is that many people are not proactive about their super. Each year, or each month, they get a balance statement, and if they see it has gone up, they are happy and think ‘I’m on track’. Unfortunately, that is not enough. The fact that the balance has gone up is actually irrelevant to whether or not it will be enough for them to retire with.
This is a pretty common question we get from our clients. It’s an understandable fear, given that market volatility is real. Fortunately, the situation is not as dire as it seems – even if you happen to retire the day before a big crash in the market.
We’re going to get a little philosophical here and make this statement: people in the modern world want lots of choice in their lives. They want options when it comes to making decisions. And with modern technology, information is abundant – providing so many options for everything we do.
This week, we have a listener question from Linda. Linda and her husband live on the Sunshine Coast and are 5 years away from retirement. They have $200,000 in cash and her question is whether they should invest the money into superannuation, or use it to build a 2-bedroom cottage on their existing acreage, allowing for dual occupancy. The detached cottage would provide an income stream for Linda and her husband over the next 5 years and continue into their retirement. Linda and her husband might move into the cottage later on in life and rent out the main property instead, for about $600 a week.
We received another listener question today, from a small business owner called Kerry. Kerry is in her early 60s and, like many in her situation, she is close to retirement but only has a small amount of money in her super. Her husband is not able to work, so they rely solely on her income.
Dallas Davison, Michael Hogue and Ali Hogue.