Before you retire you’re going to want to make sure you’ve everything taken care of. Here is a retirement checklist to help you plan and enjoy your retirement.

Keyword(s): Retirement checklist

With stark warnings that many Australians aren’t saving enough for their retirement, a proper retirement checklist could help you avoid the pitfalls and plan ahead.

You’ve probably been looking forward to these golden years for a while, but the transition can be quite a sharp change from your working life.

So it’s important that everything is sorted out before you retire – to save you stress and hassle, and ensure that you get to retire when you want to.

Here’s our detailed retirement checklist, which covers all you’ll need to know for a stress-free retirement.

Your Retirement Options

Your employer(s) will have most likely been contributing towards your superannuation fund during your working life. You’ll choose where to invest the money, and you may want to take some advice to make an informed choice on that.

But you can also save towards retirement yourself using your own retirement savings account. This can help to fund a more comfortable retirement.

Once you’ve built up a fund, the question is – what to do with the money?

You can choose to trade in your money for a fixed income for life (an annuity product), but this fixed income may not be enough for you. So you could choose to leave the money invested so it carries on growing, and draw it down as necessary.

The Australian government runs the MoneySmart service, which offers information on options for people looking to retire. But this is just general guidance – if you want more detail on what you can do, you should consult with a professional advisor.

How Will I Be Taxed During Retirement?

Withdrawals from your superannuation retirement fund are free of tax for people aged 60 or over, but you’ll be taxed 10% of the earnings paid into the fund, and there’s a 15% capital gains tax on profits when you hold an investment for a year or more.

If you’re between 55 and 59 when you start to take money from your super, there may be a taxable component of these payments. This will be taxed at your normal marginal tax rate – minus a tax offset of 15% of the value of the payment.

Of course, if you have any income from part-time work during your retirement or from investment properties, you may still pay tax on this.

Retirement Budgeting

No retirement checklist is complete without a good budget in place. It’s extremely important that you plan out your expenditure before retirement.

You should work out how much you will receive each month from investments and pension payments, and use this to write out a careful budget of exactly how much you have to live on each month.

Remember to factor in essentials like home and car insurance, as well as your utility bills to this calculation.

When you’re on a salary, it’s easy not to think about the things that are usually covered at the start of the month – but when you’re retired and don’t have the same level of income, these will mean a lot more in terms of your budgeting.

So make sure your budgeting is really comprehensive.

Emergency Savings

You need to know that there’s enough cash left in your rainy day fund to cover emergencies. But it’s difficult to know how much emergency cash you should hold, as everyone’s needs are different.

For example, you might need to repair your car after a sudden breakdown. If you don’t have enough cash to hand, you might struggle to get the funds together.

You need to think about the ‘worst-case’ scenario that wouldn’t be covered by insurance, and calculate how much that would cost to fix. Ideally, that’s how much cash you should keep aside – just in case.

Retirement Investments

Some people continue to invest money throughout their retirement to fund an income.

Some will have built up a portfolio of rental property during their working lives, and may sell a portion of this when they retire to receive a lump sum of capital. Others keep renting out the homes to ensure a steady income.

And many people look to invest their cash in shares which can provide them with an income. These are ‘income’ class shares, as opposed to ‘accumulation’ class shares, which aim to increase in value over time and can be sold for a profit, but don’t pay out a regular income.

People holding accumulation shares may sell them off a bit at a time to generate an income, but this will diminish their overall investment holdings over time.

Writing a Will

A will is a document which shows how you’d like your money, property, and other possessions to be distributed after you pass away.

It’s not necessarily the most pleasant thought, but a will can prevent adding to your loved ones’ stress during a very difficult period.

Dying without a will is called dying ‘intestate’ in the legal profession. In this case, the law will have the final word on where your money and possessions will end up. This will probably delay the process of your assets being distributed.

It may also result in certain people receiving things you didn’t intend them to – as your own wishes weren’t made clear.

It’s normally a good idea to consult with a solicitor before writing your will, so that you can be certain it is valid. This will also help to make the distribution process as smooth as possible, and avoid the delays of having the courts involved.

Your Retirement Checklist

If you’ve reached the end of this retirement checklist and you think that everything is in order – congratulations. We wish you the best for a stress-free retirement.

But if you need a little more help with deciding exactly how to plan for retirement, we can help. Our qualified and experienced accountants can help you decide how to act to secure a financially sound retirement.

Our personal wealth portal means you can keep a close eye on your income, expenses, and that all-important retirement budget.

Sign up today to take full control of your financial future.