For many people, the decade between ages 50 to 60 represents a time of significant change. Some changes may be welcome, while others may be more difficult to manage. Either way, it is as important as ever to plan your way through this time of greater freedom and opportunity but also of uncertainty.

What sort of lifestyle do you want?

Sometimes life has been so busy there has been limited time for choice – the kids' school, sport and social activities, mortgage payments, maybe a home renovation, and work pressures have been enough to worry about. Once you start to wind-down in your 50s and 60s you might be faced with a few choices that weren't really an option only a few years ago. Do you want to sell the house and downsize? Maybe you want a change of scenery or to be closer to family? Perhaps you're not ready to give up work entirely and would like to earn a part-time income? Between age 50 and 60 it can be a challenge to choose what you (and your partner) really want for the next few decades so this should be one of the first things you think about and consider together.

How much do you need in retirement?

This will depend on how you live. Setting a budget for your life in retirement is a vital step in achieving your retirement wealth target. Will you have enough invested to fund your entire retirement, which could be as long as 20 or 30 years?

Are your investments suitable?

Now is the time for you to ensure that your investments are working as hard as possible for you. Review your portfolio to determine that it still holds the most appropriate assets.
If you have life and income insurance policies, do you have the right level of cover for your current circumstances? There is no point paying premiums for cover you don't need – but on the other hand, take care in cancelling cover just as you reach an age when you might need it.

Are you taking full advantage of superannuation?

Superannuation is clearly the most tax-effective way to accumulate money for retirement and provide capital and income in retirement. Taking advantage of investing in super can make a big difference to reaching your retirement target, but there are many rules and regulations you must be aware of. Find out more from the Australian Taxation Office.

Have you planned beyond your lifetime?

As you move through your sixth decade, how is your family changing? Are grandchildren starting to appear? Or perhaps you have more than one family after separation, divorce then a second marriage. Taking time to think about how you want your assets to be distributed after your death can save a lot of heartache for those left behind. Don't forget that the payouts from life insurance policies and superannuation don't necessarily form part of your estate and may need to be distributed separately from your Will.

This information provides general advice only. We do not provide advice based on any consideration of your personal objectives, needs or circumstances. Some content reproduced with permission.

Published: Monday, 22 Aug 2022