Having a solid financial strategy in place is crucial for staying buoyant now, and well into the future. To make sure you’re able to live comfortably for your whole life, not just now, here are 3 goals your financial strategy should address.
1. Growing your wealth
According to the Financial Resilience Index most employed New Zealanders have less than 6 months’ worth of expenses saved, and 2 in 5 would be unable to access $5,000 if something unexpected were to happen. Growing wealth not only helps you become more financially resilient, also allows you to have more options when it comes to your lifestyle now, and in the future.
Build your cash surplus.
If you feel like you’re living paycheck to paycheck, building a cash surplus may seem like a daunting task – but it’s not impossible. Look at where you’re spending money, where you’re spending unnecessarily, and where you can cut costs.
Reduce your debt!
Especially short-term debt. If you have credit card debt or personal loans, find ways to pay them down faster. There are lots of tactics you can use, like debt consolidation, credit balance transfers or using a ‘snowball’ or ‘avalanche’ approach to paying down multiple debts. And, if you have a mortgage, look at how you could pay this off faster. This will give you more freedom to divert that money elsewhere.
Build a diverse investment portfolio.
You work hard for your money, so make your money work harder for you. Look at what investment opportunities there are available to you, whether this is investing in property, managed funds, or something else.
2. Preparing for retirement
No matter your age, it’s never too early to start preparing for retirement. It’s also seldom too late. And let’s face the facts: we’re all going to retire one day, and we’ll all need money to live. As of April 1st, 2022 NZ superannuation sat at $24,073 for a single person, living alone, or $37,035 for a couple. Could you live off that? If not, what can you do now to top that up a bit?
Grow your wealth while you’re still earning
Find your cash surplus and start putting it to work. Whether this is saving for your first home, paying off your mortgage faster, or getting smart with investments, the time to start building up that retirement fund is while you’re still bringing in money.
Calculate what you’ll need during retirement
If you want to continue living the life you’re living now during retirement, that will give you a good indication of how much you’ll need each year throughout your retirement. If you plan to retire at 65 and expect to live until you’re 90 – you’ll need 25 years’ worth of finances to get you through. Based on how much you’re earning today – what would that number look like? It probably looks like you need to start saving…
Set your decumulation strategy
With all this planning for saving for your retirement, you may be forgetting one crucial step – how you’ll access those funds during retirement. It’s likely a sizeable part of your retirement fund will be tied up in investments – like a house or investment portfolio. How will you liquidate these assets to fund your retirement, and at what point?
3. Leaving behind a legacy
For some people, growing wealth and saving for retirement is just for them, so they can go gallivanting around the world, or retire next to vineyard on Waiheke. For others, having a little leftover to give away needs to be part of the calculations. This legacy could include any savings you have, property, investments, or even your business.
To effectively factor this into your retirement plan, you’ll need to decide what this legacy would ideally be – the family home, a lump sum of money, or a healthy investment portfolio. Then, ensure it’s excluded as an asset you can liquidate when calculating what you’ll need to fund your retirement.
While your situation may change and it’s good to be flexible, these three core lifetime goals should always be part of your overarching financial strategy to set you up for financial success.