If you are 65 and already have several millions to play with, questions raised in my previous post on Getting Started are not so much of a worry.

If you are much younger and are developing a “retirement vision” then START PLANNING NOW!

If you are fortunate enough to have a great super scheme already in place through an employer/former employer, then you are off to a good start. If you have run the numbers and figure what you have is enough to get you through, even better.

Whatever your financial situation, it’s worth speaking to an advisor to confirm or possibly improve your situation if you want to.

If you think you have very little, then definitely speak to an advisor; improvement and a little more independence in retirement is possible with some judicious thinking and smart actions.

MY DEFINITION OF AN ADVISOR is a person who provides an objective set of advice tailored to your circumstances and in your best interests and does NOT receive any benefit from your choice of investment, asset purchases or the way in which you structure your affairs. So-called advisors who take commissions for selling certain investments are SALES PEOPLE, they are not, and should not, be calling themselves, advisors.

Pay for objective advice.

Not to say you shouldn’t listen to the sales people, often their “advice” will be worth knowing, but check all facts and figures and remember the cardinal rule of investment – “past performance cannot be taken as a guarantee of future returns”!

Distressingly IMHO, we have returned to a world of Caveat Emptor – “Let the buyer beware”, if it looks too good to be true, then it most likely is! Don’t go there without gaining a comprehensive, objective understanding of the risks involved. Seek third party advice and if you’re being pressured into signing, walk away.

Aside from the fun bits about planning retirement, some of us need to look at setting up the following complementary aspects of our financial future in retirement:

  1. Legal Structures: what will best suit your circumstances in retirement? Family Trust, Company, Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) etc
  2. Legal Compliance: you must understand the obligations you have under the law. For instance, it is better to be well informed than have deal with an SMSF compliance issue with the Australian Taxation Office.
  3. Taxation: understand how your eventual income will be affected, before it gets to you, by taxation on your investments or within your legal structure.
  4. Investment Strategies: you need a clear idea of what your strategy and risk profile is as a guide to prudent management of your funds and investments. Also look at the investment time clock as a guide.
  5.  Investment Types and Mix: a smorgasbord of opportunities out there… equities, bonds, cash, trusts, under the mattress and so it goes on … many choices to make, and plenty who want your money, choose wisely.

It is important to understand your position very clearly when setting up Trusts, Self-Managed Super Funds and other investment vehicles to manage your, and potentially other family members, retirement funds.
You will have clear legal and legislated responsibilities alongside your moral obligations.

What has your experience been? Do you have a SMSF? Do you enjoy managing your SMSF?