Noel tells when you can retire

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For many people, understanding and juggling retirement income – or lack of it – is a challenge. Personal finance expert Noel Whittaker answers members’ questions and shares his 20 commandments of wealth for retirees.


Noelene: Everyone is worried about the coronavirus, and that includes me. I’m worried about having enough money to retire. How do I know when I can retire?

Noel Whittaker: That’s a huge question, but the longer you can work, the longer your money is going to last and probably the longer you’ll live. So, the ideal situation would be to try to plan a retirement where you wind down your hours. You don’t wind them up.

With compounding, all the growth happens in the last few years. If you have to harvest superannuation early, you are losing the big growth part it. The longer you think you can delay drawing down, the more money you’ll have.

Continue working if you can. If you’re 60 or 65, there’s a good chance you’ll live for 30 more years.

Peter: How do I judge my spending in retirement, so I don’t die with loads of money in the bank?

NW: On my website is the retirement drawdown calculator. You put in how much you’ll have when you retire, enter the expected earning rate and it will run the calculations for you. It’s very simple.

Noel’s 20 commandments of wealth
Practise the guaranteed secret of wealth.

Keep in mind that income seldom exceeds personal development.

Have adequate insurance.

Use the magic of compounding.

Understand the basics that never change, and take advice on the things that do change.

Use the Rule of 72.

Take advice before the deed is done – not afterwards. It’s hard to rewrite history.

Always judge an investment on its merits – any tax benefits should be regarded as the cream on the cake.

If a person contacts you by phone with an offer of an investment, or even to help you pay your mortgage back faster, hang up.

One of the most expensive evenings you can go to is a ‘free’ investment seminar.

Borrowing for investment is a great strategy, because it puts assets at work for you early in your life. But keep in mind that it speeds up whatever is going to happen – wealth or poverty.

It’s better to get rich slowly than go broke quickly.

Becoming wealthy depends more on how you manage your money, than how much you earn.

Don’t pick a fight with the tax office.

Make sure you set goals – they are the essential ingredient in your success.

Remember that financial winners borrow for investments that grow in value – the battlers borrow for consumer items that depreciate.

Every year assess your net worth.

Ignore the prophets of doom – they are always with us and usually wrong.

Don’t follow the herd and back last year’s winner – that’s a recipe for disaster.

Never stop learning.

Are you a confident money manager – even in these times? Where do you seek advice?

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Financial disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for the ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.


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In the past decade a 30-year trend to earlier retirement has been reversed.

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Almost 40 per cent of recent Australian retirees are struggling to make ends meet

Written by Noel Whittaker


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