If you’ve ever been a sleepwalker, you’ll be familiar with the unsettling feeling of waking up somewhere you didn’t expect to be, wondering just how you got there, and how to get back to bed safely. That’s something the Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission wants those heading into retirement to avoid.
To this end, they recently released a report looking at how people draw down on the savings they’ve accumulated for retirement.
Insights from the report revealed people are “sleepwalking into retirement without appropriate guidance on how to manage their nest egg” – if they even have one. Because by the time you hit 65 – or whenever you decide you want to retire – you need to have accumulated enough to last you 25-30 years – and most Kiwis don’t have a plan for how to get there, or even know how much they need.
As KiwiSaver balances grow and people reach retirement with a larger nest egg, the Commission believes more guidance is needed to help people draw down their wealth in a way that means they’re not unintentionally running out of money and are able to enjoy their retirement.
While there are some ‘rules of thumb’ which can give an overview of how you could approach the drawdown of your retirement funds, nothing beats personalised advice that’s relevant to your situation and how you are wanting to spend your retirement years.
You need to consider different strategies based on the assets you have – for example, whether you’re relying solely on your KiwiSaver, or have a portfolio of savings, managed funds and/or investment properties. Knowing when to sell or begin to draw down on each asset will differ depending on where you are in retirement, your plans for the remaining years, whether you want to leave anything for the kids, and whether you can flex those plans to account for prevailing market conditions
It requires a mindset shift
Even those who feel they have enough (or are on track to have enough) have questions about how exactly to make that switch from accumulation to decumulation of their wealth.
This was highlighted by our recent Money Chats session with Hannah McQueen and Nicki Morsink where they talked about the mindset change that’s
needed as you head towards retirement – particularly the shift that needs to happen when you go from growing your wealth, to depleting it. Some attendees were worried about how they might feel watching it all slowly disappear once they were no longer earning, while others were still wondering just how much they would need to retire with, and the best ways for growing that wealth.
Your money doesn’t need to stop working just because you do
Just because you’re now retired and in ‘decumulation’ mode, doesn’t mean that your money shouldn’t be working as hard as it could – in fact it may become even more crucial that it does You can continue to grow wealth (and top up your retirement fund) – it just requires a slightly different approach.
Sleepwalking into retirement can become a bit of a nightmare – but you can avoid this by getting a better understanding of what you’ll need, what you’re on track to have, whether there’s a gap between the two and develop a strategy to bridge that gap as soon as you can. This will help ensure you have enough to enjoy your retirement and have the freedom to spend your money however you wish.
To get expert financial advice on preparing for retirement and ensuring you have enough, book a consultation with an enable.me coach today. They’ll take the time to diagnose where you’re at, where you’re on track to be, and help develop a plan that will see you reach your retirement goals.