Christine and I have worked hard all our lives saving for retirement - Christine as a part-time receptionist and me as an IT manager. Anyway last year during a company restructure, I took the opportunity to ask for a redundancy and succeeded in getting myself a healthy package.
So after visiting a financial adviser to invest the money, and sort out our accumulated super, Chris and I were sitting pretty for an early retirement. Nevertheless, you never know what life is going to throw your way so when Alicia mentioned it may be a good idea to have a chat with our children about their insurance needs, Chris and I decided to make it a priority. Alicia told us it wasn’t uncommon for accidents to strike, leaving grandparents to foot the bill with their retirement savings.
Well we were more concerned about our children’s families and how they’d cope if something were to happen. So we offered to pay for both Christine’s daughter Julia and my son Michael to see our adviser and pay the premiums on any protection he suggested.
Devastatingly, that turned out to be the best move we ever made. Michael died last year in a motorbike accident, leaving Sandra without a husband and their two kids without a father. But as bad as it was it could have been worse if Sandra didn’t get a large payout from her insurance company. At least now she still has her independence and doesn’t haven’t to move in with her parents-in-law. And I don’t have to go back to work so I can help her out with the grandkids as much as she needs it.
I’ve never been the type to worry about the future too much but when I turned 55 last year, it dawned on me that that this is the age people start retiring. Well I love my job and I’m certainly not ready to stop working yet but it’d be great to be in a position to retire in the next ten years. So I figured it was time to get my act together.
I went to see Jill in August last year. My salary is fairly good and I had just been hit with a whopping tax bill so I thought that was a good a time as any to get my finances sorted. Jill said I was wasting a lot of potential retirement saving paying tax at my marginal tax rate and helped me come up with a plan to minimise tax and boost my super instead.
Basically all I have to do is salary sacrifice a large chunk of my salary into super, and this money is only taxed at 15% as long as I wait until I’m 60 to draw it out. Amazing - that means I can save around 30% more money. And since I’m over 55 I can use a pre-retirement income stream to top me up, so my take home pay stays the same.
I’m glad I went to see Jill, she’s got me on track to a better retirement without me having to lift a finger.
Ian and I have both been married before so we started off our life together a little behind the eight ball. So now even though we’re both over 60, we’ve still got about $100,000 to pay off on our mortgage.
We’re not too worried about it because we’ve been seeing our financial adviser Ben for years now and built up quite a substantial superannuation balance between us. He’s had Ian salary sacrificing extra money into super, and because I’m on a lower salary even making spouse contributions for me.
Anyway, last time we went to see Ben we told him that we’re thinking of retiring in the next couple of years and that we’d like to have our mortgage paid-off before then. He suggested we roll our super balances into income streams and use the tax-free income to make additional repayments on our mortgage.
By his calculations, we’ll pay off our mortgage in the next three years, which as far as I’m concerned is a double win. By using tax-free money to make repayments we save tax and pay off our mortgage sooner, saving us interest in the process.
Joe and Marie's story
Joe was really looking forward to retiring when he turned 65 and so was I. With three kids to raise and all his long hours at work, we've spent precious little time together these past twenty years. At last we'd be able to spend some quality time together. Things don't always turn out the way you plan of course. At 60, Joe had a nasty stroke. Thank God we had disability insurance because he was off work for about 4 months.
Our adviser, Christine, was worth her weight in gold at this time. I'd never had to worry about financial matters at all before this. Joe took care of all that side of things.
Well Joe recovered quite well eventually and he really wanted to go back to work until he was 65 like he'd always planned, but he really wasn't up to it. So Christine advised him to go back three days a week. It's worked out brilliantly.
Before he went part-time, we sold our home (which was far too big for us now anyway) and bought into an over-55s resort. The extra money we put into superannuation, which has saved us an absolute fortune in tax. Anyway Christine took care of everything for us. It's all worked out beautifully. I really don't know what we would have done without her.