Thursday, November 12, 2015



  1. Consolidate your super accounts.  Multiple accounts means multiple fees.

  2. Make sure you have all your super entitlements.  Go to SuperSeeker to find any lost accounts.

  3. Top up with voluntary contributions; it is one of the best investments you can make.

  4. See if you are eligible for the Federal Governments's co-contributors scheme, which can deliver a 50% boost to deposits.

  5. Check that the insurance in your super meets your needs.

  6. Tailor your investment risk to your age.  In general, young people should be more prepared to take on risk then older people.

  7. Think twice, and maybe even three times, before setting up your own self-managed super fund - and source quality advice.

  8. If you are over 55, consider a transition-to-retirement strategy.


Australians short of money in retirement

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


AUSTRALIANS have fallen more then $800 billion behind where they should be if they want to be financially comfortable in retirement.  And the gap between what you have saved and what we need is growing by about 5 per cent per year, according to new figures from research group Rice Warner.  

AustralianSuper chief executive Ian Silk said older Australians were among the most disadvantaged.  Women too were at a disadvantage as they were paid less and spent most of the time out of work-force to raise babies.

"The many baby boomers retiring now have only had the benefit of compulsory superannuation.. for 23 years and it began at just 3 pre cent" he said "the system has several decades to go before it reaches full maturity".

Rice Warner releases a Retirement Savings Gap report each year with the Financial Services Council.  The latest published results for June 2014 show the gap grew from $727 billion to $768 billion in just 12 months.  Unpublished estimates put the figure at more then $800 billion at June 2015.

"fundamentally we are not saving enough"

The super shortfall is also effected by longer life expectancies and tougher age pension rules.

The latest ASFA Retirement Standard says a retired couple needs an annual income of $58,784 to live comfortably while a single needs $42,861. To achieve this a couple would need savings of $640,000 when starting retirement, while a single would need $545,000.

- Anthony Keane-



How to move your SMSF into Pension Phase

Saturday, August 01, 2015



Moving accumulated superannuation benefits to pension phase is a common way to fund retirement income. If you have a self managed superannuation fund (SMSF), there are a few things you should think about when starting a pension.

What is an account-based pension?

An account-based pension is like a personal retirement income account operating in a superannuation fund. You receive regular income payments, while at the same time your account may earn investment income. Any investment income earned in pension phase is generally tax free.
Note that before you can start to receive a pension with your super benefits, you must have met a condition of release.
The most common conditions of release are:
 Reaching your preservation age
 Permanently retiring after reaching preservation age
 Reaching age 65, or
 Permanent incapacity

read more


How much money do I need to retire comfortably?

Monday, July 06, 2015

How much is enough to retire on- “How long is a piece of string?”

The English language is a filled with wonderful idioms one of my favourites being the sub-title to this discussion. When it comes to the question of how much money one needs to be able to retire comfortably today there has probably never been a better answer except perhaps the old stalwart of the legal profession “it depends”.

The question is of course on what does it depend

The answer to this is simple; it begins with the kind of lifestyle you wish to have or maintain in retirement. 

  • Where you want to live, 
  • what you want to do, 
  • Right down to what you want to eat or drink. 

Of course you also need to build in a big enough buffers for uncertainties such as illness and the replacement of major lifestyle assets like cars and homes. 

It’s an intensely personal question and can only be answered through a structured process with a professional of thinking through what you really want and how this relates to what you are able to afford based on your assets and savings patterns.

That said one of the most important outcomes we look for when working with our clients is to ensure that they understand how the eventual move into retirement works in practical terms including how the various elements of our retirement system work together. This includes not only the personal wealth that they have accumulated in superannuation and other investments but how these relate to Government benefits and how you move from growing your wealth to living on your wealth. The all important question being how long what will you have accumulated in retirement last?

Often we find that working through the process with clients yields many surprises for them in terms of what they are able to afford to retire on when what they have accumulated with is pared with the available Government benefits.

With the full aged pension now set at $33,035 pa for a couple and $21,912.80 pa for a single home owner even with superannuation benefits of only $250,000, it is possible to enjoy a fully indexed income in retirement of around $48,200 per annum for 20- 27 years depending on investment performance etc, from a combination of your own resources and the aged pension. In the following table we have shown the potential income available to three retiree couples based on various levels of retirement wealth and assuming that they have a 20 year life span in retirement from aged pension age:-

Retirement wealth Annual income (Combined)


  Retirement Wealth Annual income (combined)
Couple 1  $250,000  $48,200
Couple 2 $500,000 $59,500
Couple 3 $1 Million $79,000

When it is considered that the above incomes will essentially be tax free and that many other valuable concessions are available to assist in retirement it is clear that a comfortable retirement is within reach of most Australians. The key element though is to plan early to accumulate as much as possible in the most efficient way over your life times and to understand how the financial aspects of retirement all fit together. When it comes to planning for the future you really need to guidance of experts.


Living longer means changes in Super

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to superannuation and aged pension policy.

Do you know how much money you need to maintain the standard of living you’re used to when you retire?

According to the latest Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA figures), a couple currently aged 65 wishing to live a comfortable lifestyle need an annual income of $58,444 – and under the current age pension assets test framework that means they’ll need a joint superannuation balance of at least $510,000.

However, nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to superannuation and aged pension policy. Recent industry discussion about changes to aged pension entitlements and the potential to reform superannuation tax concessions means it’s more important than ever to ensure you are financially self-sufficient for your future.

Why are changes required?

As the Government’s 2015 Intergenerational Report highlighted, Australians are living longer – and this will place increasing unsustainable pressure on our aged pension system. By 2055, the average woman in Australia will live to 96.6 years and men to 95.5, and the gap between life expectancy and the age of pension eligibility is widening. Meanwhile, the proportion of people aged over 65 will continue to grow.

There are several ways to address this. First, it is likely Australians will continue working for longer. Government policy is also likely to continue to encourage more people to be self-funded retirees – while making changes to the system to ensure it is fair for all.

Minor moves for the greater good

While the 2015 Federal Budget avoided ‘tinkering’ with the superannuation system, it did announce stricter asset testing to determine eligibility for the age pension. Now, retired couples with more than $823,000 of assets (excluding the family home) will no longer be eligible for the government pension, and others will have their part pension cut. This means those affected may need to make sure they top up their super – or delay their retirement.

It’s a clear sign that people are expected to take control of their own financial future, rather than depend on public support.

Your superannuation is still the best way to save for retirement, and it will continue to benefit from attractive tax concessions. It may be worth considering putting extra money into your fund to benefit from the effects of compound growth, and new measures to make it simpler to find lost super should help consolidate accounts to reduce costs.

The budget changes will not kick in until January 2017, so there’s still time to re-think your retirement strategy. And if you’re thinking about changing your goals, it’s a good idea to talk with your adviser first.