Retirement Planning
6 minute read

What are the steps of retirement planning?

Lifestyle communities steps of retirement planning

You’ve likely thought a lot about how you’ll enjoy your retirement. Travelling, hobbies, downsizing, relaxing; whatever your retirement goals and vision for the future looks like, the one key element many people fail to do, is actually thoroughly plan and prepare for it. The earlier you start planning for retirement, the more successful your retirement will be. Then you can thank Past You for sorting everything out, so you can enjoy your retirement to the max. The good news is that there are a few smart steps you can take now to ensure yourself a comfortable, stress free retirement.

Step 1: Figure out what age you plan on retiring

It may seem obvious, but giving yourself a time horizon to work towards makes the transition to retirement easier. As nice as it would be to wake up one random Monday and decide this will be your last week of work, the reality would be chaos. Giving yourself a dedicated window of time will ensure you have the scope to achieve goals, sort your budget, tackle tasks you want to complete, and will help you plan and prepare appropriately.
There are a number of ways to choose the Golden Number for retiring. Maybe you want to retire the day before your 60th birthday, so you never have to work a day of your life in your 60’s. Perhaps you’ve considered your savings and superannuation and can mark the year you’ll feel comfortable financially to step back from full time work. Maybe all your friends retired at 65 and you want to join them in that. Your financial situation, health, employment, and coordinating with your partner or friends, could all play a part in helping you decide when you will retire.

Step 2: Work out a retirement budget

Figuring out your cost of living and forms of income for retirement will help give you a framework for your retirement budget. Access to your super fund, savings, investments, Government payments, pots of gold at the end of rainbows, or anything else that could contribute to your bank account should be considered when you’re thinking about your budget.

This budget should be calculated just like a normal monthly budget would. If you’d prefer someone else to do the hard bit, you can use an online Retirement Budget calculator, you could seek financial advice from a financial advisor, or you could handball it to a loved one who owes you a favour (we don’t strictly recommend this one, unless that family member also happens to be a financial advisor).

Questions to consider around your retirement budget are things like; do you have additional income streams such as investments? Will you be receiving a pension, and if so, for how much? How much superannuation do you have, and can you access it yet? Do you have retirement savings to pull from? What are your day-to-day living costs going to be? Sitting down and working out your financial situation and goals isn’t fun, but it’s critically important to a successful retirement.

steps of retirement planning
steps of retirement planning

Step 3: Where will you live in retirement

Many people will actually physically move as they move into retirement. Retiring doesn’t mean you instantly have to take up knitting or shuffleboard as a hobby - unless you want to - but the world is suddenly your oyster. This is your chance to really live, not just in the weeks of accumulated annual leave, but every day. Making sure your living situation suits who you want to be in retirement will help you make the right moves.

Staying in your current home

You’ve loved your house. You may have raised your kids there, thrived as an empty nester and transformed old bedrooms into offices and gyms and free storage, spent holidays and birthdays with loved ones there. If no part of you wants to leave your forever house, then you don’t have to. Not everyone chooses to move as they transition to their next stage of life.

Downsizing

Oh, downsizing. The joy of low-maintenance living, with less cleaning, cheaper bills, and some extra money in your pocket. Downsizing to a smaller property will help save you time and money in the long run, and means you no longer have to spend so much time maintaining your property. We’re a little biased, but downsizing to a Lifestyle Communities home not only means you can spend less time worrying about cleaning, gardening, and maintenance, but also means lower insurance premiums (thank you, gated community!), no council rates, no water rates, and no stamp duty. You can also say goodbye to walking around the house turning off every light and grumbling about the electricity bill, because with sustainable features and energy efficient appliances in all Lifestyle homes, your bills will be as low as they can go. You can find out more about living bigger with Lifestyle Communities here.

Take it mobile

Ready for a step further than downsizing? Raring for adventure? See the sights of Australia and travel in style with a luxury motorhome - just remember to factor in gas to your retirement budget planning! You may also want to keep a more permanent home base, because even the best adventurers sometimes just want a night on the couch with the TV and snacks. Many people combine downsizing and travel during their retirement.


Retirement village

If you’re seeking a slower pace, a retirement village may be an option. With support close at hand, usually conveniently located to shops and medical centers, and often with options for independent living or assisted living, retirement villages can offer a safe and easy way to transition into your next stage of life. If you’re looking to transition to a retirement village, we recommend seeking financial advice, to make sure your pension or any other Government subsidies aren’t affected.

Step 4: Create a retirement plan

Put all your retirement planning decisions in one spot. Set your financial goals, decide on your timelines, and outline your future in a retirement plan to help make your life easier.

This plan should include:

  • Timelines
  • Budget and Financial Goals (including risk tolerance around your financial portfolios)
  • Living Arrangement Goals
  • Pre-Retirement Personal Goals
  • Retirement Goals
  • And any other information you deem important for your journey to retirement.

And any other information you deem important for your journey to retirement.
If you’re still a few years off retiring, you can use this as a guide to monitor your progress on an ongoing basis to understand if you need to adjust. Or, if you’re seeking to retire in the near future, this retirement plan will confirm that you’re on the right track and prepared for your retirement.

Planning for retirement can seem overwhelming, so break it down and chip away at it now, so you don’t have to worry about doing everything at once when you’re closer to retiring. Whilst planning for retirement definitely isn’t the fun part (the being retired and doing whatever you want all the time is), ensuring you’re prepared will ensure a seamless step into the future.