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Are you thinking about retirement? It's no secret that most of us are so overwhelmed by the topic, that we'd sooner mow the lawns of every local park, than give it a moment's thought! But, it doesn't matter if it's one, two, or 30 years away, the time to start planning for it is now. Funding your lifestyle through a long period without an income is integral to retirement planning.  Here are few of the questions that often serve as roadblocks, and how you should go about them!

How long do I need to prepare for?
The average Aussie male is expected to live to 81 and for female's it's 85. However, it is entirely possible that with a healthy lifestyle, you could live to 90 and beyond. We all know that our health is critically important, so understanding the relationship between how healthy we are, and what our life expectancy might be, directly ties into the equation of identifying how much Super you will need. So, if you're a non-smoker who's fond of kale smoothies and is regularly active, you'll need to ensure that you account for a long future of R&R! 

How much do I need?
Luxury for some, might be modest for others. A comfortable lifestyle for one couple might mean $60,000, whereas another couple might need $150,000+ in order to live, what for them, is classed as a 'comfortable' lifestyle. Start by breaking down your desired lifestyle, thinking about the cost of everything from food and groceries, to travel (you've got to have fun, after all!), to the activities that you choose to undertake daily, weekly and monthly. By understanding the cost of your desired lifestyle, it makes understanding how much Super you'll actually require a whole lot easier!

What about my family?
How much support do you want to provide your wider family? Do you aspire to help them with the mortgage, or possibly treat the grandchildren to a cruise throughout the idyllic South Pacific? How about the types of activities you'd like to be able to support your family with? Once again, this directly impacts how much Super and savings you'll be needing in the future.

Will I take claim the Age Pension?
If you're considering supplementing your income with the basic Age Pension, it's important to note what that means  for you. It represents just over $20,000 for a single person, and $33,000 for a couple per Annum (which is just 27% of the average Australian's income).  It is important to keep in mind that your current investments, assets, and super balance may impact your Age Pension entitlement as well, so it is worth getting some advice on how this could impact you.

Accidents are Devastating

How would six weeks without pay impact your family if it started from Monday morning?  Tragedy doesn't have to strike for a workplace or other accident to cause personal and financial  stress within the family.  Importantly, self-employed people are not covered by workcover, which means that many tradesman and small business owners can be severely impacted by injuries that are as innocuous as a broken leg from a trip or fall on site. The unfortunate reality is that 6.4% of people will experience a workplace incident that could cause time off work or worse. (http://bit.ly/1M1PYoK)

Our message to everyone is that the best course of action is to ensure you are prepared for such tragedy, at the same time as taking on Webcke's message about taking time to be safe at work.  

Prevention and preparation are key to avoiding a situation like this.  Talk to our team at HHH Partners today.

Advice you can Trust

Advice on your financial life is critical to the goals you set out.  Advisors, financial planners and general insurance specialists are there to help you make important decisions that can have a critical impact on your future.  Unfortunately, in this industry, it is common for people in these positions to steer your decisions in a direction that benefits them.  These benefits come in the way of products in exchange for the decisions they guide you into making.  Naturally such transactions are not in the best interests of the client and can often result in conflict.

When visiting a doctor, you wouldn't expect them to receive a commission from the pharmaceutical company.  Surely, you would be horrified if they did.  However, that is exactly what happens at many financial advice firms.  The financial services industry has been is built on many conflicts similar to this.  For you, this means you may just be getting advice that is not in your best interests.  

Many clients have been convinced that this is normal and that it doesn't cost them any more.  The reality is that insurance products have higher premiums to cover the commission; loan products have inbuilt fees and extra interest to cover the payments to the broker and your superannuation fund has higher fees to pay. 

If you are looking for professional, transparent advice, free of conflicts, contact us today.

Former Brisbane Broncos, Queensland and Australian Rugby League Star, Shane Webcke, has an important message for us all: "I lost my dad in a workplace incident, so I know first-hand that family and loved ones are the most important reason for work safety."  Having been affected by something that we should all guard against, be aware of and unfortunately be prepared for, he has since gone on to become an ambassador for Workplace Safety.

Workplace accidents take the lives of hardworking sons, daughters, mothers and fathers all-too-often.  In addition to the heartbreak that comes from such a tragedy, the havoc of losing the main income from the household adds unnecessary additional stress.

Shane Webcke now works with Workcover QLD on campaigns to help raise awareness of Workplace safety. To see more on the campaign, visit http://bit.ly/1JKVL3s.

Preparing for Retirement

Being ready for retirement is necessary to ensuring the positives of change far outweigh the negatives.  We have explored in our blog post, 'Retirement: Is it all good?' the issues associated with retirement and the need for advance preparation.

What can you do?
Firstly, get your financials in order.  Understanding your financial position and capacity upon reaching retirement is one stress you don't need.  Getting the advice and knowledge you need starts with developing the right relationship with a professional financial advisor who can assist in your preparation and step you through the process.

Secondly, it is important to understand what is going to fill your time in retirement and what you really want to do with all that freedom.  Outside of work, think about what gives you the most satisfaction in life, the activities, pastimes and hobbies that you think will make your retirement both fulfilling and enjoyable.  There is little point in planning to buy a caravan to travel Australia, when what you really want to do is help out your friends from Rotary or spend time fishing with your grandkids. 

Finally, your social networks are going to be important.  Many of us let these drift a little owing to work and family pressures as we progress through middle age.  In retirement we have plenty of time to share with old friends, family members and others whose company we enjoy.  If you have started thinking about retirement,  it is a good time to start exploring these questions and issues and developing your plan for what should be a very exciting time.

Retirement; Is it all good?

For many years, researchers have grappled with the stress and other negative impacts of retirement.  It is an odd concept; something we have looked forward to for much of our working lives should be a time of great joy and excitement. 

The reality is that retirement is a major life change, and change, for many people, can be difficult to deal with. Where we were busy, there is now time.  Where we held a job in which we were relied upon, is now an abundance of freedom. The replacement of these activities and the associated mental and physical stimulation is a key challenge of retirement.

Why does such a good thing hurt so much?  In his book, 'Bounce', Matthew Syed delves into the science of winning in sport.  There are many parallels within regarding the way in which we approach retirement. Olympic athletes, as evidenced by Syed, work for four years, sometimes longer, toward their performance in one or a small number of events.  They will have a goal for what they want to achieve and for four years that goal consumes them.

What is astounding, is that often upon achieving that goal, an athlete will actually experience depression.  Naturally, there is that moment of elation, the emotion that is often emitted from the podium and the celebration that happens at the end of the tournament. But, after that there is a void, a space in their lives previously filled by devotion to one thing that is now gone.

Retirement is an achievement; it is something you have been looking forward to for a long time, it is something that is going to give you more time devoted to doing the things you enjoy and spending time with the people you love.

However, it is also a time of loss.  Like for someone who wins a gold medal, you will lose many things you have grown to rely upon in life. You don't have the job you had become good at, the challenges you are used to, or the routine you have relied upon for much of your working life.

To get yourself thinking about what you are going to do when you retire, ask yourself these important questions:
Do I know what my financial position means for my retirement lifestyle?
What am I going to do?  What is going to replace the fulfilment I get from work?
Who do I want around me?  Am I still close to the people important to me or do I need to spend time reconnecting with friends and family?

Retirement is much more complex than you might expect.  Preparing as soon as possible is the key to enjoying your hard earned break from work, that will give you time to do the things you love in life!

Are you thinking about retirement? It doesn't matter if it's one, two, five or 10 years away, the time to start planning for it is now. Addressing the issues associated with retirement, and funding your lifestyle through a long period without an income is integral to retirement planning.

What does your ideal lifestyle look like in retirement?  Luxury for some, might be modest for others. A comfortable lifestyle for one couple might require $60,000, whereas another couple may require $150,000+ in order to live, what for them, is classed as a 'comfortable' lifestyle.  Start by breaking down your desired lifestyle, thinking about the cost of everything from food and groceries, to travel, to the activities that you choose to undertake daily, weekly and monthly. By understanding the cost of your desired lifestyle, it makes understanding how much Super you'll actually require a whole lot easier!

How does  your health measure up? The average life expectancy for a 45 year old Australian today is 81 for males, and 85 for females.  However, it is entirely possible that with a healthy lifestyle, you could live to 90 and beyond. We all know that our health is critically important, so understanding the relationship between how healthy we are, and what our life expectancy might be, directly ties into the equation of identifying how much Super you will need.

How much support do you want to provide your wider family? Do you aspire to help them with the mortgage, or possibly take the grandchildren for a cruise throughout the South Pacific? Consider the types of activities you'd like to be able to support your family with as, once again, this directly impacts how much Super and savings will be necessary for your desired future.

Are you thinking about supplementing your savings with the Age Pension? The basic Age Pension represents just over $20,000 for a single person, and $33,000 for a couple per Annum ( just 27% of the average Australian's income).  It is important to keep in mind that your current investments, assets, and super balance may impact your Age Pension entitlement, so it is worth getting some advice on how this impacts you.

If you own a business, then the first thing you will need to prepare for is its sale.  See our article from last month on business succession for more thoughts on how to make the most of this hard earned asset.

If you'd like to have a chat about your retirement plans, your Superannuation, and how long it will last for you, give the team a call on 4983 9999.
Retirement should not be looked at from a pessimistic perspective; rather than simply signifying the end of your working life, it is the start of a new life.  Financial advice is key to planning your future.  The Canadian Financial Planning Standards Council (CFPSC) recently completed a wide ranging, longitudinal study which sought to understand the real value of financial advice.  The results proved that the positive affects of advice were even greater than initially expected.

The surprise came in measuring well being; it was found that a comprehensive financial plan lead to higher satisfaction.  The CFPSC measured emotional well being, financial well being, overall contentment and achievement of life objectives and in each case found that people with a comprehensive plan measured better.  A client of a Financial Planner is more confident in their financial situation and the direction of their retirement planning.  They also have a greater propensity to save.

This matches the findings of a Finnish survey which explored the impacts of stress on health.  The survey not only found that stress can impact health, but also that financial stress had the greatest impact on a person's health of any type of stress.

These findings align with our experience as Financial Planners.  Our clients are more confident in their future and have the knowledge and tools at their disposal to make the decisions that are right for them after having worked with us.  This results in a greater ability to deal with the challenges of retirement and living for, what could be, 30 years without an income like many of us will need to.
Do you stress about money, about not having enough in retirement?  Do you worry that you won't be able to enjoy your retirement, and the impact that has on your family?  Many of us spend time stressing about our financial future, especially when it comes to considering our retirement and how long our financial resources may last.

However, that stress could be costing you.  Stressing over your financial position may well be taking away the most important thing about your retirement, your health.  A recent study has reinforced the fact that stress impacts your health in a variety of ways.  The study, conducted by Finnish researchers (Source: http://www.rodalewellness.com/health/stress-health-problems), confirms that the health outcomes for those who are stressed, and in particular those who are stressed by their financial situation, are worse than for those who report lower levels and instances of stress.

Financial planning helps.  One of the key values of financial planning advice is that it aides in eliminating stress.  It takes away the unknowns that currently exist in your financial life. One of the rewarding elements of providing financial advice is seeing the stress relief from the client's perspective.

The Canadian Financial Planning Standards Council commissioned a longitudinal study of 15,000 people and the findings highlighted that people who engage a Certified Financial Planner experienced significantly higher rates of financial and emotional well-being.

Reduce your stress levels; If retirement is something that is concerning you, engaging with our team today could be the best thing you do for your financial future and your health.

Financial Planning eliminates Stress

Oxford Dictionary defines stress as 'a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.'  It has been reported upon countless occasions that finances are the number one cause of stress on individuals.  In the U.S., survey results showed that 76% cited finances as one of their major concerns (source: https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/economic-stress.aspx).

In order to eliminate these stresses, there are many ways in which you can assess, understand and take control of your financial situation.  Financial planning provides guidance on the best actions you can implement immediately to better impact your financial future.  

It is important to have a clear understanding of what is happening economically, but to not allow yourself to get caught up in it and panic unnecessarily.  Being aware of what is going on in the world of finance will assist you to make smart choices with your money and help to shape the way in which you plan your financial future.  

Recognize the ways in which you deal with financial stresses; the things that relieve your stresses can actually cost you, whether your relief is in the form of cigarettes, alcohol, emotional eating or even gambling.  

We offer comprehensive Financial Planning services.  Speak to one of our Advisors today for a stress-free future.
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