In your 30s and 40s, you have a lot going for you. You might be starting a family or a first-time homeowner, and you’re in one of the most unique financial positions of your lifetime. You’re likely starting to see salary increases or promotions, and you still have plenty of time left before retirement.
This puts you in the perfect situation to double down on your superannuation, and learn some of the best practices for landing a secure retirement for yourself. Luckily, we can make that easy. Most people aim to retire at 65, so let’s take this time to talk about some super tips to put you on the path to success in your 30s or 40s.
1. Write Down Your Goals
This is just a good idea in general, whether it’s for financial goals or otherwise.
Short-term goals are the easiest ones, as they don’t require much commitment, they’re easier to plan out and stick to, and you get to feel the reward of achieving them even sooner. These goals can be whatever you want, but first should be developing the right savings habits! “I want to put away this much money every month into my savings or super account, starting now!” That’s a good start, but not the only kind of goal.
The benefit of long-term goals is that you don’t have to put in too much effort all at once, and the reward is much better when you achieve them. However, these are the ones you really need to write down, so you don’t lose track of them, as that’s all too easy to do.
Have a 30-year mortgage? A goal of paying that off before retirement age is excellent. When that time comes where you get to enjoy your home without a mortgage for an extra 5 years, you’ll be glad you put that little bit of extra money in over the long haul.
Want to save up for your children’s college? Start a business? These require long-term financial and strategic planning, so there’s no time like the present to get started.
However, you need to find the right balance between your long-term financial goals and successful retirement. This means keeping your super as a priority along with any other long-term goals.
2. Increase Your Contribution
In your 30s and 40s, this is when salaries tend to increase pretty steadily. Find the income you need for your budget and see how much you can afford to add to your super. As your salary increases, try increasing the percentage slightly, as opposed to the amount. By doing this, you will actually save money on taxes every year as you increase your contributions, and you’ll still be getting the money later on.
3. What About Insurance?
Only 46% of Australians left their last job because they reached retirement age. Many left because of illnesses they faced, and none of them planned on that. However, you should. Find out what your super insurance covers and if it’s right for your financial situation.
What about the unfortunate possibility of untimely death? If people rely on you for their financial stability, who will pay for the family’s expenses? What about in the event of permanent disability? You need to find out if there are premiums for these in your super insurance. Review your options and choose wisely.
4. Clear Your Debt
Clearing yourself of debt will allow you to refinance your loans like your mortgage, which will put more money into your pockets when you’re saving for retirement. It could also build your credit score for future loans you need to take. If you have credit card debt, take care of this first, as it tends to have the highest interest rates.
5. Have Super Strategies In Mind
For your super, make sure that you have savings goals in mind. If your job has predictable salary increases, incorporate this into the plan. Not only will this make it easier to follow along with over the course of time, but it will give you an idea upfront of how much you’ll have saved up by the time you decide to retire.
This may include voluntary contributions periodically, you could even do this in one lump sum every year by taking it out of your tax returns. However, it could also include simply upping the percentage from your salary and clearing your debts before retirement!
Having milestones to follow is a great way to look at it. “I need to have $90,000 by the time I turn 45, and $200,000 by the time I’m 55.” This is a great way to figure out if you’re on the right track when you check in on the fund.
6. Take Some Government Money
Do you like free money? We thought so. Believe it or not, you may be eligible for some government-sponsored contributions to your super. While it depends on your income, you may be eligible for a $500 grant once a year if you make personal contributions to your fund.
On top of that, there is the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset (LISTO), which, if you are eligible for it, will just deposit $500 directly into your fund. Remember, $500 now will be more in 20 years, so don’t just glance over these opportunities.
7. Check Periodically
Check your super fund every once in a while. It will feel painfully slow if you check it every fortnight. However, checking every few months and seeing how it’s doing is a good idea, and it will feel good to see if you’re doing it right! If you aren’t, then it’s even more important to know.
8. Choose A Beneficiary
Nominate a beneficiary to your super account in case anything goes wrong. The beneficiary will receive your super funds and any life insurance payouts in the event that you die.
This is just another way of protecting yourself and your family from the worst possible scenarios. It’s a simple step that comes with enormous benefits.
9. Contribute To Your Spouse’s Super
In certain cases, it may be beneficial to make contributions to your significant other’s account. You may receive the same tax breaks, and keep both of you around the same level in case anything goes wrong.
10. Get Professional Help
While your employer can make automatic contributions, and you can check your super at any time to do the same, there really is no option more beneficial to your financial future than getting expert advice. Professional financial help is the best way to ensuring you reach your retirement goals.
Your retirement is such an important thing to plan for, so don’t take it all on yourself. Contact the professionals today to get the right help for your financial security.
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