Retirement planning checklist
There is currently no compulsory retirement age, but some of the things to think about before you retire include work, expectations, lifestyle, money and estate planning. This checklist may help you prepare for the retirement lifestyle you want.
15–20 years before retirement
- Start to think about:
- what you expect from retirement including travel, hobbies and other activities
- where you want to live when you retire
- learning any new skills through your job that may be useful when you retire.
- Develop financial plans based on your personal and financial goals. Speak to a financial adviser if needed.
- Consider volunteering and other interesting activities.
- Consider your family circumstances. Are you supporting any children financially or otherwise?
- Prepare or revise your will and choose an executor.
- Organise an enduring power of attorney and an advance health directive.
5–10 years before retirement
- Revise your financial plans, keeping in mind:
- how much money you will need for retirement and how much money you will have
- how to reduce any gap between how much money you want to live on and how much you will have available for retirement
- a possible retirement age—consider when you will be eligible for the age pension or to access your super
- retirement investment options
- your superannuation plan
- tax issues
- what government assistance is available.
- Try a few new activities before retirement and make new friends and contacts.
- Think about:
- what skills you can use to earn extra income when you retire—and if you need to update these skills
- where you want to live when you retire. Do some research, especially if you’re thinking about moving to another town or state.
- Talk about retirement with your partner—agree on the timing of retirement.
- Revise your will if needed, especially if your personal or family circumstances change.
1–2 years before retirement
- Review your financial plans and budget with a firmer idea of your retirement plan.
- Try a few new activities—like volunteering—that you may enjoy in retirement, and make new friends and contacts.
- Retirement can give you time to learn new skills. Consider ways to keep your mind active and alert through education, work, starting a business or learning how to use computers and the internet.
- Talk about your retirement plans with your employer.
- Think about:
- working part-time during the last few years of your working life—your superannuation fund can advise you of any repercussions
- taking long service leave or a holiday before you retire permanently
- the timing of your retirement—can you afford to retire when you planned or do you need to stay working for longer?
- Update any skills you can use to earn extra income when you retire.
- Think about where you will live in retirement:
- Does your home need any major repairs or maintenance to meet your needs in retirement?
- Do you need to build a workshop or shed or clear a space for your planned retirement activities?
- Does your car need replacing?
- Do you plan to travel? Start collecting brochures and look for less expensive times to travel.
6 months before retirement
- Review your financial plans and budget, and make any changes:
- get your superannuation fund statements and search for any lost superannuation
- review any life insurance schemes.
- Try a few new activities that you may enjoy in retirement and make new friends and contacts.
- Review your planned retirement date to check that it is still suitable. Talk with your family.
- Have a thorough health check and review your health insurance.
- Prepare or revise your will and choose an executor. You should review your will every 3 to 5 years.
- Organise an enduring power of attorney and an advance health directive if you haven’t already.
3 months before retirement
- Check if you are eligible for any payments and services from the Australian Government including the Age Pension. You can apply for the Age Pension 3 months in advance.
- Review your financial plans and budget, and make any changes.
- Get your superannuation fund statements and check for lost superannuation (if you haven’t already).
- Review any life insurance schemes.
- Money Smart, an Australian Securities and Investments Commission website, has free and impartial financial guidance and tools to help you secure your financial future.
- NT Government – Seniors works to provide Seniors Month, seniors card, concessions and events for seniors.
- Australian Human Rights Commission works to promote equal opportunity and protect people from unlawful discrimination, vilification and sexual harassment.
- Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission promotes equal opportunity for all Territorians. Established in 1993, we aim to eliminate discrimination from happening by raising awareness about individual’s rights and responsibilities under the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Act 1992.
- Your Rights at Retirement guide, produced by the Australian Human Rights Commission, covers topics including health, aged care, wills and end-of-life decisions.
- Services Australia provides information about planning for retirement, free financial matters information and information about payments and services if you’re retired, planning for retirement or looking to work past Age Pension age.
- Financial Planning Association of Australia provides a list of authorised financial planners in your area.
- Association of Independent Retirees is a not for profit volunteer organisation for retirees who are fully or partly self-funded.
- The Smart Traveller website has information for seniors about preparing for your trip, staying healthy and getting help overseas.