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.
Super Tips For Your Early 30s
By far, the best time to get started planning for your super is as early as possible. If you’re reading this because you just turned 30 (congratulations), then now is the perfect time to begin. People are often scared of turning 30, but for your retirement planning, now is just the beginning!
Make sure that your employer is contributing a portion of your income to your super fund. If they aren’t start the process right away. If you don’t have a superannuation fund, try getting a self-managed super account for your own use, and try to make contributions as regularly as possible!
Understand Why You’re Doing This
Why is your super important if you’re going to receive an age pension? Well, the age pension simply isn’t enough. The maximum basic rate for a single person is $838, and $654 for each member of a couple, paid every fortnight. That’s enough to feed you and pay a few bills, but is that enough to cover all of your needs indefinitely?
Will your mortgage be paid off? Do you want to leave money to your children? Even after you downsize, what will your monthly expenses look like? These are questions you need to ask yourself. You want your super to last for as long as you need it because the government pension system simply isn’t enough to live off of forever.
This is the big one. Everybody should be thinking about this from the time they are 18, in an ideal world. If you’re in your 30s or 40s, the time is definitely right now to get started saving for retirement.
You’re going to need to retire at some point, and that peace of mind when the time comes that you’re entirely prepared is worth the long-term planning. Of course, your employer is putting money into your super, but you have to ask yourself if it’s enough.
Write Down Your Goals
This is just a good idea in general, whether it’s for financial goals or otherwise. With everything you already have in your head and goals, you may get inspiration for after reading this list, keep a little notebook with you. These goals can be anything you want.
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. You don’t want to look at your super in your 60s and find out that retirement isn’t in the cards for you.
Increase Your Contribution
In your 30s and 40s, this is when salaries tend to increase pretty steadily. Well, if you’re living comfortably with your current income, as your salary increases, so should your contributions.
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. Win-win.
Understand The Time Frame
Especially in your 40s, it’s important to understand how soon retirement could be for you. You’ll be eligible for the age pension at 65 and a half, and you probably remember plenty of things from 20 years ago. Ask yourself: how quickly did that fly by?
Well, it may be time to really focus on saving for this. You have no idea how long you’re going to live after 65, so don’t plan for a specific time. Plan to be the first person to live until 150.
What About Insurance?
Well, 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.
Clear Your Debt
We mentioned how beneficial it would be to pay off your mortgage before retirement age, but it’s very beneficial to your super fund to pay off and avoid all debt.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but it is important. Not only do you not want to find yourself using your pension to pay off your loans, but freeing yourself of this burden now will allow you to make more contributions overall into your super.
Clearing yourself of debt will also 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.
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.
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.
Check your super fund every once in a while, but don’t drive yourself crazy. 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!
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.
You’re young enough that you can get away with making riskier investments with higher yields, like buying stocks. Doing this later in your life is not a wise investment, but right now, you still have enough time at work to make up for any losses you may accumulate.
If you are saving up money, feel free to put some of it into the stock market or make other investments. There are apps like Acorns that help you get started if stocks aren’t your thing. They just link to your credit card and round up your transactions to the nearest dollar and accumulate over time in stocks. You won’t even notice it.
Weigh out the risks before making any investment, including your super, and make sure it’s right for you.
There are also general savings accounts, government bonds, and plenty of other safe options for purchase. Wherever you decide to have your alternative savings, just find a rhythm and stick with it.
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.
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.
Don’t Put It Off Any Longer
Now that you know a few helpful super tips, the best time to get started is now. The longer you wait, the less secure your financial future will be.
If you need help on finding the best practices for making halal contributions to your super, check out our helpful guide, and keep up to date with our latest financial news so you can stay secure until the end!
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Islamic Money Expert
Fatma currently leads Crescent Wealth’s Operations, including strategic business planning, project management of major projects and management of key stakeholders.