Are you worried about making the right decisions with your money?

We all want to make smart choices so we can feel comfortable and secure in later life, but navigating superannuation funds, retirement pensions and downsizing can feel overwhelming.

We need to protect our financial health the same way we would our physical health – by devoting regular attention to it and planning according to our needs.

Here are some quick tips to help you get started.
 

Talk to someone you trust

A great place to start planning for your future is identifying a trustworthy person you can talk to about your financial concerns. This could be a financial advisor, a lawyer or a loved one. These people can help you start to think about your answers to the right questions, such as:

  • When do you want to retire?
  • What do you want retired life to look like for you?
  • Do you want to move to be close to your family?
     

Get the right documents ready

Drafting up a will that you’re happy with can ensure even if something happens to you, you have full control over how things play out.

You may also want to consider enacting an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA), which allows you to nominate someone to make legal or financial decisions for you when you need extra support.

Having an EPOA can reduce financial stress, but you should still be involved in any decision-making regarding your finances. 

Check your bank statements regularly, and if you want to give your nominated person access to your bank accounts, consider putting a limit on how much they can withdraw at once. Your bank can help you with this.

 

Be careful with gifts

If you’re thinking about downsizing, you might also be considering moving back in with your family and giving your children some money for a car or property.

While it’s wonderful to want to help your loved ones, it’s important to make sure your rights are protected and doing this doesn’t jeopardise your security.

Seeking legal and financial advice before signing anything or handing over money or property can make sure giving a gift doesn’t affect your pension or living situation.

Make sure any agreement you make with a family member is written down in advance so you can refer to it later. These formal family agreements can help you stay protected.
 

Plan and live within your means

Taking some time now to plan and budget your upcoming expenses can save you a lot of stress in the future. Some ways to reduce your financial stress are:

  • Have a budget so you know you can afford your living expenses
  • Make sure all your debts are paid off before you retire
  • Downsize to a more suitable accommodation.

If you’re planning to let any family move in, make sure they can contribute financially. That way, you can all live more comfortably and be prepared in case of an emergency.
 

Keep important assets safe

It’s important to protect your important documents and money and ensure they're stored in a safe place. You can protect your assets by:

  • Not sharing your passwords or leaving important documents lying around
  • Not signing any documents you don’t understand
  • Keeping any cash at home in a safe.

Pay attention to your instincts when it comes to requests for information or a loan from family or friends. If it feels wrong, don't be afraid to say so.

 

When it comes to being financially secure in later life, the most important thing is to make sure you’re making informed decisions.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Your bank and/or superannuation provider will probably be able to answer some of your questions, and organisations like Services Australia can also give you more information.

If you are experiencing financial hardship and need support, our financial counsellors can help. You can call 1300 063 232 to set up an appointment.