Ron is 76 and wants to retire, but how?

Noel Whittaker tells how best to use the money Ron has saved.

How do I retire at 76?

Ron is 76 and, due to some financial challenges, he has just started thinking about retirement. He asks Noel Whittaker how best to structure the assets he has in order to maximise his income.


Q. Ron
I turned 76 in July and I’m thinking about retiring. However, it seems that because of my age, I am not allowed to put money into super, so I have to find some other way of getting a regular income to see out whatever life I may have left.

My wife died five years ago and investments since then – including in a taxi before Uber – have cost me dearly. Currently, I have a small management rights business, but feel it's time to relax a bit and do some more travelling.

I will probably have only about $550,000 to invest, and naturally want to find a way to safely maximise my income, including whatever Age Pension is available. I don't care if I buy a cheap house, unit or a caravan, or maybe rent somewhere. I’m just hoping to have enough coming in to see me out.

A. As you are now single, you are getting close to the cut-off point for the Age Pension. Certainly, if you buy a cheap unit you will be turning an assessable asset into a non-assessable asset and this should increase your pension enormously. To do the calculations, just go to my website and play with the Age Pension calculators. You will need to use the deeming calculator first to work out what notional income will be applied to your remaining financial assets. Don’t worry about superannuation – it’s mainly about saving tax, and in your situation, tax should not be an issue for you.

You can also find out if you are eligible for an Age Pension here. And YourLifeChoices’ RetirePlanner™ tool will help you plan your retirement.

Do you have a question you’d like Noel to tackle? Email us at

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature, and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions.



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    18th Sep 2018

    If you have a total of $550,000 and no existing house then buy a house and then apply for the pension.

    If you have a house then consider updating the house to get you under the asset limit and then apply for the pension.

    If you intend to travel work out how much this is going to set you back and then be prepared to hold this money aside (for travelling) and sacrifice a small amount of pension until you've spent this money at which time you will get the full pension.

    With any money left over consider buying into a managed share fund which returns at least 10% pa and has capital growth. Always leave a small amount of cash in a bank account for emergencies (30,000?) and you can get around 3% for that.

    Good luck.
    18th Sep 2018
    I maybe mistaken. But I thought Centrelink may go back 5 years and not allow the OAP for him. Someone I know had a large cash payment from car accident but wasted most of it over few years. When they went later to Centrelink for such as newstart or something similar. Centrelink said where is that $500K ?? And disallowed the newstart allowance.
    Anyone know about that ??
    Old Geezer
    18th Sep 2018
    Last place he should put his money is super so it's a blessing he can't put his money into super.

    With that level of assets he will get full pension and live the life of Larry.
    18th Sep 2018
    Put money under bed, you'll get more money on pension than interest.

    18th Sep 2018
    At 76, he shouldn’t be too concerned with investing for high returns
    Get an apartment for $300k and divide the rest over life expectancy say 15 years . With the full pension he will have more than enough to enjoy retirement with overseas travel
    18th Sep 2018
    You’d be crazy buying into property at the moment. If he buys an Apartment for $350k , he will lose about $30k in managed share fund income, PLUS he’ll pay at least $8k PA in body Corp, rates etc....all for a property that would rent for about $17k PA. So he finishes @$20k worse off than renting,,and the property market is on the skids anyway. The Aged Pension won’t get anywhere near covering that.

    He’s gain won’t be an issue, he doesn’t need to be involved in shitty body corporate meetings,,and he’d better get travelling soon.
    The clocks ticking.
    18th Sep 2018
    Depending where he wants to buy the apartment. I live near the ocean in a unit on ground level and my body corp and council rates come to about $85 a week (with pension rebate from council). Just do not get into high rise apartments with lifts and swimming pools, that where the money disappears.
    18th Sep 2018
    Now is the time for discontent so do something about it!
    It is time to kill off this insane hugely expensive pensioner whacking bureaucracy.

    It is time for all of us (and yes that means you) to rant at our MPs and Senators daily to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

    A pension is not welfare.

    Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules.

    Hiring more Centrelink staff will only increase taxpayer’s costs for processing the creeping insane red tape monster system politicians and well paid bureaucrats have created.

    Help scrap it now. Become a hero.

    Even poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension so it is cheaper and user friendly.

    Why worry that few million$ earners get it too. That is peanuts to them, not enough for a good vintage champagne.

    Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be part of 3 million waiting queues and lost calls?

    Does your MP really like being part of the system that allows this indirect abuse of the elderly?

    This abuse is actually sponsored by our government and forced down to Centrelink and borders on a criminal act.

    Why do MPs normally compassionate persons let this Centrelink abuse happen at taxpayers’ expense?

    Some opposition and independent MPs stand to lose their chance at being part of the needed government changes

    We all (that means you) need to tell our MP and senators every day that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.


    Please help yourself and others today and every day, pass this demand on to all government, opposition and independent MPs and senators who could help us to get a fair deal on pensions
    19th Sep 2018
    Agree with Graycomputing. Its time for a revolution, how do we do that ??
    19th Sep 2018
    G'day to Ron;

    I wish you all the best on your retirement, whenever it does eventuate. Regarding how to invest your retirement nest egg adequately to gain a modest, though decent income stream, may I suggest an alternative to buying a modest home & hoping to be eligible for the OAP.

    On the web, look up the following " International Living Australia ". It is an expat living website that will provide you with easy reading, professionally researched articles on retirement living overseas; its pitfalls, advantages and how " very much greater value " your income stream gains you re - lifestyle compared to " just getting by as a retiree here in Australia.

    Many of the articles are, honest, down to earth contributions posted by retired Australians of all age groups, who have done exactly what many would consider insanity & fraught with danger, but have indeed found that isn't so, after having done their own diligent research & made a few applicable exploratory holidays.

    Cheers mate & all the best, whatever you decide to do.
    19th Sep 2018
    Hi Drewbie
    Did what you said and went to " International Living Australia "

    Now Im not sure cos most of what it said was follows :
    "International Living is a scam ….all it ever does is reiterate the same stories over and over ….there is no substance to anything they write …..savvy travellers would know or be able to find out on the net any of the hints that they offer …...SAVE YOUR MONEY ….its a scam
    I subscribed for 12 months and all I ever saw was the same stories written in different ways every month.
    scam scam scam scam , stay away , don't waste your hard earned money ...don't fall for their hype ..and that's all it is just over inflated HYPE , nothing solid
    Be warned , stay away from this ridiculous magazine"
    23rd Sep 2018
    Hi All YLC, I read these pages and comments diligently and find the open comments refreshing and mostly truthful, (a lot of laughs to be had with the comments) and I need some unbiased advice. My husband suddenly passed away last year. I am 57 working full time and I’ve had enough. I want to retire, to travel, spend time with the granddaughter, friends and family. I own my home, have no debt, some savings in the bank and will have $550,000 in super which I don’t want to touch til I’m sixty or when the savings run out. I’ve spoken to a financial advisor who assures me, I’ll be ok. Can anyone Trebor, OG and the like shed some light for me.....will I be ok financially (of course it’s the million dollar question) thanks, J
    23rd Sep 2018
    Depends on your requirements in retirement. Assets test will be OVER the threshold for the OAP, but you’ll live well on the Super income since you,have no debt.

    Here’s an idea, do what I did. I’m in a similar situation. Rent the house out and move to an exotic place in tropical SE Asia and live like a king. I’ll Never need the Super....the Rent Money more than covers my living expences.

    Whatever you do,,DO NOT buy property in SE Asia, too many issues. RENT is king, it’s cheap as chips. Been doing this for nearly 8 years. It’s a great lifestyle, you learn something new everyday.
    old frt
    12th Nov 2018
    Hi Jeanette
    By the time you reach 60 your super hopefully will have grown to about $630000 which according to Noel Whittacker's calculators (which are very good ) should give you about $32000pa for 30+ years on a 5% return & indexed at 2% ,plus what you have left in savings should give you a nice little top up to your super (everyone will tell you that you will get a much better return but rely on the minimum & be pleasantly surprised with the actual returns) Also depending on how much holidays and long service leave you have , see if your employer will let you take time off without pay (6months pref. ) then use your hol's and LSL for another few months ,this gives you 17.5% holiday loading 9.5% super contribution and stretching it out reduces your tax (alternately try going on hols. and LSL at half pay), and you will have had a good time to see if you are ready to retire GOOD LUCK .