A poll of financial advisers in the AMP network, the largest in Australia, has found that achieving a good retirement is by far the most important goal for their clients.
Almost 50 per cent of advisers said their clients were focused on retirement, well ahead of other common goals for which people sought financial advice.
The second top priority for clients, at 13 per cent, was simplifying their finances, while the third was getting control of debt.
David Kennedy, an adviser for Hillross, part of AMP’s advice network, says that clients’ focus on advice around retirement reflected both changing expectations of what they would like to achieve in retirement as well as the increasing complexity of managing their income and investments to achieve a certain lifestyle.
“Most people will receive income from both superannuation and the aged pension and need to structure their finances and investments so that they can maximise both, against a backdrop of shifting rules and legislation” Kennedy says.
“At the same time people have come to expect that their retirement lifestyle will more resemble their pre-retirement, in terms of remaining active and engaged and achieving their desired goals.
“This redefinition of retirement is a real positive, but with longer lifespans, there are more financial risks that need to be understood and managed.”
"Almost 50 per cent of advisers said their clients were focused on retirement."
AMP Capital head of investment strategy and chief economist, Shane Oliver, says that an ageing Australian population and rising longevity will also make the task of achieving a good retirement more challenging in the future.
“At the moment there are four workers for every retiree. In 30 years’ time there will be only two for every retiree,” Dr Oliver says.
“This means that the aged pension is likely to be further restricted as governments struggle with a relatively smaller pool of taxpaying workers.”
Dr Oliver says people will also spend more time in retirement relative to the length of their working lives and will therefore need a larger savings pool to fund that retirement.
“You will find that part time work in early retirement will become increasingly common as people seek to increase their savings and make them last longer,” he says.
He also cautions that, over the course of a longer retirement, retirees need to plan for downturns in investment markets.
“Downturns have a big negative impact on retirees’ investments,” Dr Oliver says.
“You will need to plan to be able to ride out two or three major market downturns during your retirement.”
A good retirement is something you really need to plan for, says Dr Oliver.
“Start saving as early as possible for retirement and get advice on how to do that so when retirement comes you’re well placed to be able to achieve and maintain the lifestyle you’re hoping for.”
In this video, AMP client Paul explains what a good retirement means to him and why his financial adviser is integral to his plans.