Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
How often should I be looking at my super and investments? I used to never look, but I added an app to my phone that shows the balance, and now I find I’m checking every day.
Thanks for such a fantastic question. The super fund apps, and investment apps more broadly, are fantastic, but your observation is very pertinent.
The best-performing investments over the long term experience volatility in the short term. The greater return enjoyed by investors from growth assets like shares and property is the compensation they receive for tolerating this volatility. The best way to stomach this volatility is to not look at your balance very often, and just get on with your life.
It can be tempting to closely watch your super balance, but the less you think about it, the better.Credit: Simon Letch
On a spectrum ranging from never looking at your balance to looking every day, you would be best served being down the never-look end. Looking at your balance too frequently is likely to make you feel the need to act in times when markets are stressed.
Invariably that action will be to exit growth-type investments and move your money into more conservative options. Such moves will be completely against your long-term interests and hurt your ultimate retirement savings. They should be avoided at all costs.
If you’ve got an employer who’s a bit unreliable in making their super contributions, then the super fund app may serve a useful function in ensuring you’re not getting ripped off. But if its only purpose is to let you check your balance, consider removing it from your phone.
You’ll get annual statements, and you can always log into the fund’s website if you want to check more frequently than that.
I am 61, a single father with a 19-year-old finishing school this year. I earn $80,000 yearly with a fully maintained company car. I intend to work until 70 as my superannuation balance is only $139,000. I don’t have any assets and rent a unit at $380 weekly. How long will I be able to live reasonably well after I cease work, use my superannuation and claim the pension?
Your retirement income will be a combination of age pension, rent assistance, and superannuation drawings. By the time you reach 70 you will satisfy the age requirements for the pension, and it appears likely you will be under the means test thresholds.
The current single age pension is almost $1100 per fortnight. Rent assistance is a further $184 per fortnight. These will have increased by the time you reach 70, having been adjusted for inflation.
Your superannuation savings are likely to grow to about $250,000 by the time you are 70. With this balance, you could draw about $20,000 per year and it should last roughly 21 years.
Pulling this together then, you would have about $33,000 per year from Centrelink, topped up with around $20,000 from your super, giving you about $53,000 per year in 2023 money. That’s not a lot less than your current after-tax income, and you are now supporting the two of you.
Undoubtedly, the most impactful thing you can do here is remain in paid employment for as long as possible. The longer you work, the greater your superannuation contributions, the longer your superannuation savings have to grow, and the fewer years they need to support you.
So take care of your health, keep your work skills up to date, and remember that the journey is usually more fun than the destination.
Paul Benson is a Certified Financial Planner, and host of the Financial Autonomy podcast. Send your questions to: [email protected]
- Advice given in this article is general in nature and is not intended to influence readers’ decisions about investing or financial products. They should always seek their own professional advice that takes into account their own personal circumstances before making any financial decisions.
Expert tips on how to save, invest and make the most of your money delivered to your inbox every Sunday. Sign up for our Real Money newsletter.
Most Viewed in Money
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article