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How much is enough for retirement?

Did you know that the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) recommends that for a “comfortable” retirement, a couple will need $60,000 a year, and a single $44,000?

That’s a total combined superannuation of $1.24 million for a couple or $880,000 for a single. However, the average Australian retires with $320,0000 in their super, which is less than half of what ASIC recommends.

Retired couple sitting together.

Obviously, our super savings alone are not always enough to fund retirement.

So, it is critical to supplement your retirement income with investments which deliver great returns. It’s also important that you know the specific income figure that you want to retire on, so you can work out the dollar value of your investment target.

In short, you need to begin with that end amount in mind!

The process of building wealth is like operating an excavator truck. There are various levers we can push or pull, which affect the intricate movement of the digger. Let's discuss each of these levers below.

The Four Levers of Wealth

Lever 1: Income

It’s very easy to put a dollar figure on how much you earn today, but what will you earn in the future? Great investing is all about managing cash flow long term. Will my income gradually increase, or will I see a large fluctuation overnight, like a bonus? Perhaps my income will adjust backwards at times for maternity leave or if I take a sabbatical.

Income fluctuations are normal, but they need to be planned to avoid disrupting your overall investment strategy. Knowing when you should be aggressively investing and when you should be more conservative is a key factor of successful investing.

Lever 2: Expenditure

What do you spend your money on? Do you need to pull that lever towards yourself and rein it in a little? Less sangria, more savings, or less brunch to balance the books – sound familiar?

Expenditure is a great lever because it’s the only one we each completely control. Because spending has a direct impact on the wealth we’ll each have in retirement, it needs to be considered in the short, medium and long term.

So, do I foresee the need to upgrade the kitchen, buy a new car, or invest in private schooling? We can each make small habitual adjustments to really affect wealth outcomes in the long-term.

The surplus you can create by pulling back the lever on your expenditure is how you build up your property investment fund. The aim is to create as wide a gap as possible between income and expenditure so that you are putting away significant savings every week.

Lever 3: Time

How much time do you have between now and retirement?

If you’re 30 and want to retire at 65, that’s a good 35 years of working life left to accumulate and build your investment portfolio.

However, if you’re first considering this at 45 of 50, then you’d need to work harder on other levers to achieve your target amount in the shorter timeframe available to you before retirement.

Lever 4: Target

How much money do you actually want in retirement?

This will vary by person depending on the lifestyle that you’re used to, how much you earn, how much you spend, and time. We can push and pull each of these four levers or fine-tune them in relation to each other to achieve our goals.

You may need to ramp up the income if your time is running short or rein in the spending. Perhaps you need to adjust your target to something more realistic. It’s important to tailor these moving parts to each of our unique circumstances to secure your financial future in retirement.


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