Unless you plan for your retirement years in advance, your future might teeter on a small balancing point, like the famed “Devil’s Marbles” pictured above. There is too much at stake not to plan ahead. But there is too much to plan to cover in just one short article.
Therefore, we’ll cover three key areas you need to consider if you are planning to retire in Australia (while moving to Australia at 55 or older to retire is common these days, we are thinking of natives and long-term residents here).
1. Your Retirement Account
There are a plethora of retirement account schemes out there, but one of the best is the self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF). These funds allow you to be the sole trustee or one of at most 4 trustees, and thus, give you greater control. By reading Self Managed Super Funds: The Complete Guide you will learn that they also offer significant tax advantages and many other benefits.
The ability to pool resources with other trust fund members to increase the fund balance while keeping the number of members low enough that you have significant control over how the fund is managed is the main advantage. This gives you optimal investment capability. You can diversify your portfolio in virtually any direction and reap the benefit of higher returns come retirement time.
2. Your Dietary Nutrition
A very different but also very important consideration in preparing for retirement is keeping up your health by eating healthy and getting all your vital nutrients in sufficient quantities. The most complete health survey ever taken in Australia, the 2011 to 2013 Austrian Health Survey, shows we Australians are falling short.
Carbs take up 45% of Australians diets, which is not bad in itself, but considering half of those carbohydrates are sugar, and much of that from junk food, a real problem exists. Soft drinks especially are detrimental to one’s health. On the good side, Australians drink plenty of water, owing no doubt to our very dry climate, but far too much coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages are also consumed.
Most of us also do not eat enough vegetables, though we do a bit better on fruits. Fibre was also lacking. The point is that you can’t overcome the effects of a poor diet for years and years in a day; you need to eat healthy if you plan to maximize your chances of staying healthy for retirement.
3. Your Health Insurance
In Australia, most of our healthcare expenses are covered by Medicare, but there are holes in the forms of copayments and out of pocket expenses. And things like your dental and vision care (plus ambulance service) are not covered at all.
Thus, you cannot just rely on the universal care system without getting some health insurance to make up the difference. After all, even a small percentage of many forms of care amounts to an unmanageably high bill.
Medibank is the largest health fund by far, taking up a full 30% of the Australian market, but fully private insurance can also be a good option if it focuses on a specific region or demographic you are in, offering special discounts. Shop around early since, though age will not usually decrease your benefits, it could increase your wait times. And you don’t want to suffer penalties from being uninsured with a preexisting condition for too long before signing on to a policy.
Keeping up a healthy diet to avoid health problems, being fully equipped with health insurance when medical problems do strike, and investing in a SMSF style retirement fund are three excellent ways for Australians to come to retirement 100% prepared.
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