The road to retirement - ask an adviser

There’s plenty to consider in the lead-up to retirement. We get some tips from financial adviser Derek Gascoigne.

In part three of our interview, we discuss options in the lead up to retirement.

When does super become a retirement income (a pension)?

Generally speaking, super can become a pension (also known as an income stream) after you’ve stopped receiving a salary and are ready to pay yourself from your super. It’s a natural progression to convert your super into a regular income stream that pays you a nominated amount at a set frequency (usually fortnightly or monthly) to imitate your pay cycles during your working life. It can help you manage your finances and budget accordingly.

However, if you’re eligible, you might convert all or part of your super into an income stream before you stop working, such as under a Transition to Retirement (TTR) arrangement. This approach could be appropriate if you want to reduce your working hours but maintain your cash flow, accelerate debt repayment, boost your or your partner’s super, etc. However, TTR can be complex, and it’s worth seeking advice to discuss your situation before setting this up.

More broadly, it’s worth seeking advice before choosing and setting up retirement income streams. This exercise can be complex, and there are a few specific strategies or calculations to consider before you start that can deliver material and tangible benefits to you and your family. It’s also a great opportunity to see how much annual income is sustainable and achievable for you and how to invest it.

How important is it to review your investment strategy for retirement?

It’s crucial to check your investment strategy is aligned with your financial goals and risk tolerance. The market constantly fluctuates, and economic conditions can change rapidly, impacting investment performance. Therefore, monitoring your investments is essential to ensure they're still performing as expected and make necessary adjustments if required. Your financial goals and personal circumstances can change over time too, which may require a shift in investment strategy. For example, as you approach retirement, you may need or wish to adjust your investment portfolio to focus more on income-producing investments and reduce your exposure to high-risk assets.

How can a financial adviser help with planning for retirement, and when might be a good time to see one?

A financial adviser can help you make decisions about investing for your future, help you set goals and give you the strategies to achieve them, no matter what stage of life you’re at. This can include advice about super, retirement planning, insurance, and taxation. Importantly, there are emotional benefits as well. An adviser can help you feel more confident and less anxious about your finances.

Depending on your need, you can choose either general or personal financial advice. And any time is a good time to speak to an adviser. At UniSuper, our financial advice services cover everything from super basics to creating a full financial plan.

Our Select Advice service consists of a personalised assessment of your risk profile and UniSuper account. You'll receive help with a super or pension investment strategy to align with your risk appetite. The Select Advice team can also assist with a contributions strategy as well help with insurance in your UniSuper account.

Comprehensive Advice is when you need a complete financial plan – not just for your super. It’s a good option if you and your partner need financial advice on super (even with another super fund) or other topics like investing, retirement income, taxation, Centrelink, redundancy, estate planning, aged care, and insurance.

Our advisers can also provide emotional comfort if there’s heightened anxiety around financial readiness for retirement and can use sophisticated financial modelling to help project your trajectory to retirement. An adviser may ask a range of questions to better understand your financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance. Things like:

  • What are your financial goals? This can include short-term goals like funding a renovation, or long-term goals like saving for retirement.
  • What’s your current financial situation? This may include questions about your income, expenses, debt, and assets.
  • What is your general tolerance for risk? This will help your adviser determine how conservative or aggressive your investment strategy should be.
  • What’s your investment experience? Your adviser may ask if you’ve invested before, what types of investments you’ve made, and how successful they’ve been.
  • What’s your investment horizon? This can help your adviser determine what types of investments or strategies may be appropriate for your goals.

Advisers may also ask more specific questions about tax, super contributions, and potential inheritances. These questions will help your adviser get a better sense of your financial situation and help them develop a personalised plan tailored to your specific needs and goals.

It’s okay if you don’t know the answers to these questions — an adviser will talk you through the various considerations to find the answer. Or the answer might be determined by the outcomes of the advice itself — for example: what sort of retirement income can my savings support?

Derek Gascoigne State manager advice, Vic/Tas

Derek Gascoigne

State Manager Advice, Vic/Tas

Derek Gascoigne has been working in super and financial services for around 25 years. He’s the state manager of UniSuper’s Comprehensive Advice team in Victoria and Tasmania and has been with UniSuper for 13 years.

He loves meeting with clients and managing a team of dedicated and passionate financial advisers.

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Are you ready to talk to an adviser?

UniSuper’s award-winning advice team can help. You can choose either general or personal financial advice from an adviser, depending on what you need. Call us or talk to one of our financial advisers.

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The information is of a general nature and doesn't consider your personal circumstances. Before making decisions, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for your circumstances otherwise seek financial advice.
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