As we wait for the Retirement Income Review report to be released, we thought we’d ask one of our very own, George Georgiou, how he feels personally about getting closer to retirement and find out just how good the superannuation system, in particular, has worked for him.
George, please tell us a bit about yourself. What are your likes, dislikes?
I’m in my 60s and married with 3 adult daughters. I enjoy spending time with family and watching my beloved Tigers. What I dislike is spending time commuting and seeing the Tigers lose!
What’s your dream retirement?
It’s important to me to retire with good health, and not ‘work myself to death’, so whilst I am feeling ok and making a contribution I will keep working. The move to working from home has helped me a lot, not having to travel for 3 hours a day. This has been a factor in my thinking about transitioning to retirement in a stage approach. Once I retire, I think there will be some travel, local and overseas, but spending time with family and friends will be important to me.
Are you likely to live out your dream retirement?
I hope so – the cost of living is going up all the time, so I keep trying to put money into areas that will save me money once I am retired – home renovations are top of the list.
What will be most important to you in retirement?
The most important things for me will be good health – to be able to do the things I want to do; no pandemics to interfere with my holiday plans; and an income – that supports the lifestyle I want to have.
Have you planned for your retirement and if so, how?
I am putting some extra dollars into super each pay day to help boost the final balance. I am making sure that I don’t take have any debts when I get to retirement age. Also, we are looking to manage our lifestyle to spend less each week.
What has the current pandemic highlighted for you and does this affect your plans?
The pandemic has made me realise how much time was lost travelling into the office every day. Working from home will now be a constant part of my remaining work life. I feel that I now have the ability to work longer than might have been the case if I had to continue to commute every day to work.
How do you feel about getting closer to retirement?
I am reasonably confident as my super balance has not been greatly impacted by the pandemic – a zero return for the last year is about all I could have expected. Using the calculator on my fund’s website says I need to keep contributing a little extra regularly to my super to ensure my retirement income meets my lifestyle.
What has your experience of the superannuation system been like?
Super is a very major part of my retirement planning. I only moved from a retail fund to an industry fund 5 years ago and, looking back, I wish I had moved earlier. The clarity of the reporting from the industry fund has made it much easier for me to understand where my money is invested and the returns it is generating – this was not there 5 to 10 years ago.
I feel that having the flexibility to choose where my money is invested is a positive feature, especially if you believe that you would prefer your savings to be invested in the industries you support rather than those selected by your fund’s investment committee.
As you get closer to retirement, what message do you have for people younger than you?
I encourage everyone to look at the lifestyle of your seniors or parents, and ask if they have the lifestyle that you would like to have when you reach their age.
Consider how they have achieved that lifestyle, positive or negative, and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from their position. Then, set the plans in place to achieve your preferred retirement lifestyle.
By George Georgiou (Principal Consultant)