Teach us finance say seniors
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