How to Plan Your Finances Before You Retire

Retirement is a time for spending time with family, relaxing and doing the things you’ve always wanted to do. The earlier you put some thought into your retirement money the better.

Retirement is a time for you to do everything you wanted to do but never could because of family and work commitments. If you invest your savings and superannuation wisely, you could retire with no stress if you’ve secured a reliable nest egg for you and your partner.

After being in the workforce for most of your life, you deserve to be rewarded with peace of mind and security in your retirement. Generally, for most people, retirement occurs during their 60’s, but in some cases, people retire earlier. No matter when you stop working, one thing stands true - it is a time in your life when you can spend more time with your family, take on new hobbies and activities, or do more travelling. As they are your “golden” years, they are the years you should really take advantage of.

Virgin Money Super

Virgin Money Super - Lifestage Tracker (1969 - 1973)

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Virgin Money Super

Boasting competitive fees and a choice of eight investment options, Virgin Money allows you to tailor a superannuation investment plan that meets your needs. Earn Velocity Frequent Flyer Points on eligible contributions (T&Cs apply) and receive personal advice through Virgin’s Helpline Advice Service.

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Choose the right super fund

Name Product Past Performance - 1 Year Past Performance - 3 Years Past Performance - 5 Years Calculated fees on $50,000 balance
New fund
New fund
Earn Velocity Frequent Flyer Points for making contributions to your super. T&Cs apply.
Enjoy discounted rates on banking products with ME Bank and health cover with GMHBA health insurance.
Choose between 14 different investment options, including a socially responsible option.
Socially responsible and ethical investment options available.
Pay no entry, exit or switching fees and enjoy a range of different investment options with QSuper.
Earn a Retirement Bonus of up to $4,800 when you open a new Income account. T&Cs apply.
Get access to one-on-one professional advice at no additional cost.
Choose investment options that align with your personal values.
Access offers, deals and discounts through the BT Super Benefits Now program.
Enjoy discounted health insurance with HCF.
Get fee-free advice on your superannuation as a BUSSQ member. T&Cs apply.
Receive a complimentary financial planning session with a Suncorp financial planner.
Enjoy discounted rates on banking products with ME Bank.
Access simple personal advice at no cost.
Gain access to lifestyle offers and benefits on NAB financial products and services.
Earn rewards and vouchers through the AIA Vitality program.
A flexible industry super fund for people who work in Australia’s higher education and research sector.

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The information in the table is based on data provided by Chant West Pty Ltd (AFSL 255320) which is itself supplied by third parties. While such information is believed to be accurate, Chant West does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in such information. Chant West’s Financial Services Guide is available at . Finder offers no guarantees or warranties about the data and we recommend that users make their own enquiries before relying on this information. Performance, fees and insurance data is based on each fund's default MySuper product. Where the performance, fees and insurance data for the MySuper fund vary according to the member's age, results for individuals between 40-49 years of age have been shown. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

*Past performance data is for the period ending December 2018.

Work out how much retirement money you’ll need

Firstly, consider your lifestyle. Will you be travelling? Or moving overseas? Maybe you’ll be living a similar lifestyle but with a few trips interstate? Will you have a single source of funds or do you have a partner? Once you have figured out what you want from your retirement years, you’re ready to consider your expenses.To enjoy your golden years, you will need to consider how much money you will need in retirement. You will need to figure out how long you’ll be in retirement, what type of lifestyle you want and any future costs (like medical expenses, inheritance, or debts you will need to pay).

List the expenses you already know you will have to pay on an annual basis. This could include things like water and electricity bills, groceries, healthcare, transport, personal expenses (clothing or beauty). After you’ve calculated regular expenses, list estimated expenses for things like travel, entertainment (movies or musicals), hobbies, or possibly even buying a new house or car. Don’t forget any outstanding debts, or any inheritance funds you wish to leave to your family. It’s important that you try and budget for as much as you can, so you get a more reliable figure.

Once you have sorted out the expenses, you can calculate how much money you will need to fund them and your desired lifestyle. To do this, you will need to know at what age you plan to retire (the retirement in Australia currently stands at 65). The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) recommends that if you retire at 65, you should multiply your desired annual income by 14. This means, judging by your expenses, if you estimate you will need $60,000 a year to fund your lifestyle, multiply this by 14. You will need to have $840,000 in your retirement fund for you to live comfortably and do all of the activities you accounted for in your expenses.

Although this will give you a rough estimate of what you will need, you should also consider the rate of interest you are making on your superannuation fund. The higher the rate of interest, the more you will be able to save. Make sure you know the balance of your superannuation, what interest it is making and how much you will earn by your retirement age.

If your funds do not seem to be growing towards your desired budget, you may need to reconsider your superannuation fund and how much you are regularly contributing to your nest egg. Shop around for the best rate of return to ensure you retire as comfortably as you can possibly be.

To get a rough calculation for your retirement fund, use the ASIC Retirement Planner. It will estimate how much money you will have by your retirement age and what actions you can take to get your superannuation fund on track.

Budgeting for your future is imperative if you want to retire without the stress of worrying if you have enough funds or not. You want to spend your retirement years relaxing, not worrying! Draw up a budget, or talk to a financial planner to make sure you will be able to enjoy your retirement years.

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What are your retirement options?

Before you retire, you will need to consider where your source of income will come from. There are a few different options you can choose from, so you need to decide which type of funding will best suit your desired lifestyle.

  • Age Pension. This is an allowance given to you by the government. The amount you receive will depend on what income you are receiving from other sources, as well as the value of your assets. The age requirement increases each year, so be sure to check with ASIC about how much you can earn depending on your birth year.
  • Superannuation. This is becoming the main source of income for retirees. Money is contributed into your super fund by your employer and is usually 9%-11% of your salary or wage. You can choose to make additional contributions to the fund if you wish to. You will have access to this fund when you have reached your retirement age.
  • Investments. Other than your superannuation, you may have investment properties, shares or high interest term deposits. It is important not to put all of your eggs in one basket as this gives you a better chance of making a good return on your money if one of your investments does not pay off.
  • Personal Savings. Some people choose to start a separate fund account to manage their money other than their superannuation fund. If you find the right type of savings account, this could be a great contribution to your retirement years.
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Ways to prepare for your retirement

In order to achieve your goals for retirement, you will need to make a plan to ensure you will have enough funds. Here are a few steps you could follow:

  • Consider your lifestyle. It’s important to have a rough idea of what you will be doing to make the most of your golden years. Whether it be travelling, buying a boat, or moving closer to loved ones, your lifestyle choices will affect how much income you will need.
  • Choose the year you will retire. This will give a clear indication of how many years you will be in retirement and how much time you have to save up until that year.
  • Clearly list your goals and budget. Include how much income you will need per year.
  • Work out where you will be getting your funds from and how much access you will have to these funds. You will need to consider whether your superannuation will be enough and whether you will need to start a separate savings account or consider investments.
  • Talk to a financial planner, or contact your superannuation host. It’s always a good idea to get a professional opinion especially if you are unsure that you will be able to meet your goals.
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The best way to retire

Your retirement years are your time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. You shouldn’t need to worry and stress over where you will get your income, so it is important to get your funds on track as soon as possible. Make a projected budget, organise your superannuation and investments and talk to a financial expert as soon as you can.

For some of us, retiring might seem far away, but the more prepared you are, the more you will be able to get out of your golden years. So don’t put it off and start planning today. You’ll thank yourself when you’re jet setting around the world, or relaxing with your family on your new boat!

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    CarolJanuary 30, 2019

    Can I withdraw all of my super as I have retired? I am 70. I would like to put it in another credit savings.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniFebruary 2, 2019Staff

      Hi Carol,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      You may withdraw them. As per this ASIC page, you may take some cash and convert the rest to a pension. Most accumulation accounts and some defined benefit funds will allow you to do this. This gives you the flexibility to take a holiday, renovate your home or upgrade your car, for example, but still receive a regular income. Most account-based pensions will also let you withdraw lump sums in the future so you don’t need to make these decisions straight away.

      I suggest that you seek professional help from a registered financial adviser on this matter.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


  2. Default Gravatar
    DelwynJuly 14, 2017

    Good Morning , How do i apply for release of my super as i have returned back to New Zealand and was informed i was not of age at the time of my return home i have turned 56 years of age this month July 3rd 2017 I did have my reference numbers etc but all was lost in a burglary where some of my personal papers were taken please help me through the process I will be much appreciated

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJuly 27, 2017

      Hello Delwyn,

      Thank you for your inquiry today.

      You need to contact your super fund to know how the process works.

      If you wish to know more about the valid grounds for early release of super, you can refer to this page.

      Hope this helps.


  3. Default Gravatar
    MartinMay 17, 2017

    what paper work do I need to supply with my application for the aged pension?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayMay 17, 2017Staff

      Hi Martin,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      The Australian Age Pension eligibility requirements are listed on this page, which includes the documentation. On that same page, you will also find a guide on how you can apply for the Age Pension. In case you need direct assistance and have general enquiries on the application process, you’d be best to speak with the Australian Government Department of Human Services.


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