RE­TIREES' VOICE

Teach us fi­nance say se­niors

The West Australian - - FRONT PAGE - Peter Milne

The lack of fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion in the WA pop­u­la­tion was a key theme that emerged from the Re­tirees’ Voice sur­vey.

The sur­vey re­sults showed that less than 20 per cent of pre-re­tirees and re­tirees feel their in­vest­ment knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence is strong or very strong.

That leaves the re­main­ing 80 per cent lack­ing to vary­ing de­grees in in­vest­ment con­fi­dence.

That is un­der­stand­able. Su­per­an­nu­a­tion is seen as hugely com­plex, which is why many peo­ple bury their heads in the sand and are only mildly in­ter­ested when their an­nual su­per state­ment ar­rives in the mail.

Eighty-five per cent said they be­lieved su­per funds should sup­port them in plan­ning and man­ag­ing their re­tire­ment. And that’s ex­actly what they’re there for. So, what can you do to be­come more su­per savvy?

Speak to your su­per fund.

Ask friends and fam­ily to re­fer their fi­nan­cial ad­viser, then make an ap­point­ment.

Dust off your last su­per­an­nu­a­tion an­nual stsate­ment and ac­tu­ally read it.

Take time to visit your su­per fund’s web­site. At­tend free sem­i­nars and in­for­ma­tion ses­sions of­fered by your su­per fund.

Ac­cess free on­line re­sources (for ex­am­ple, mon­eysmart.gov.au and ato.gov.au).

These are all ef­fec­tive meth­ods in get­ting a ba­sic fi­nan­cisal ed­u­ca­tion, and most of these are easy to ac­cess.

Re­mem­ber fi­nan­cial ad­vice is al­ways an op­tion too. Don’t dis­count this valu­able al­ter­na­tive to ob­tain ex­pert ad­vice lead­ing up to your re­tire­ment — it is money well spent ac­cord­ing to those who use a fi­nan­cial ad­viser.

And as your own fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion im­proves, consider how you can be­gin to ed­u­cate your kids on fi­nan­cial mat­ters — they will thank you for it, in the long run. Two in five WA re­tirees would pre­pare for life af­ter work dif­fer­ently given a chance, the Re­tirees’ Voice sur­vey found, show­ing the im­por­tance of putting a plan in place now.

The sur­vey last month by The West re­vealed that se­niors were of­ten ill­pre­pared and felt that they needed bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion about fi­nance in or­der to make the right de­ci­sions about their re­tire­ments.

The more than 5500 re­tirees and pre-re­tirees who re­sponded to last month’s sur­vey re­ported:

More than one in four be­lieved they have poor in­vest­ment knowl­edge.

A quar­ter have never re­ceived ad­vice from a fi­nan­cial plan­ner and half of them would not even consider it.

Fi­nan­cial plan­ners were the most pop­u­lar source of ad­vice for se­niors, fol­lowed by the me­dia and then su­per funds.

Most who used a fi­nan­cial plan­ner be­lieved they were get­ting good value.

There is a vast ar­ray of fi­nan­cial plan­ners, su­per funds, banks and me­dia that ad­vise se­niors on how to plan for their re­tire­ment.

This makes it dif­fi­cult to know what first step to take.

Fi­nan­cial plan­ner and Your Money colum­nist Nick Bru­in­ing said the Mon­eySmart web­site, run by the Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties and In­vest­ments Com­mis­sion, was a good place to start.

Mon­eySmart ad­vo­cated list­ing the value of your as­sets and work­ing out from their on­line cal­cu­la­tor at what ages you can ac­cess your su­per and re­ceive the pen­sion.

Mon­eySmart’s on­line bud­get plan­ner is a sim­ple way to track your money by in­putting your in­come and ex­pen­di­ture over what­ever time pe­ri­ods they oc­cur: the fort­nightly pay cheque, monthly mort­gage pay­ment or the an­nual coun­cil rates.

Un­der­stand­ing where your money is go­ing may al­low you to spot sav­ings you can make now.

It is also a good start to bet­ter un­der­stand your cost of liv­ing in re­tire­ment.

This was the main is­sue those sur­veyed said would in­crease their con­fi­dence in their re­tire­ment plan­ning.

To find a fi­nan­cial ad­viser, Mr Bru­in­ing rec­om­mended re­fer­rals from friends and your own age group.

Close to three-quar­ters of those sur­veyed who are re­ceiv­ing ad­vice are likely to rec­om­mend their fi­nan­cial plan­ner to fam­ily, friends and col­leagues.

The Money Smart reg­is­ter of fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ers al­lows you to check an ad­viser’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions, pro­fes­sional mem­ber­ships and ar­eas of ad­vice of­fered.

An ad­viser’s fi­nan­cial ser­vices guide will de­tail the ser­vices of­fered, how they charge and their links with providers of in­vest­ment prod­ucts.

Mr Bru­in­ing said an ad­viser should con­cen­trate on giv­ing ad­vice, not sell­ing a prod­uct. “Good ad­vice isn’t

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