Getting your money working when you’re not

Financial adviser and author Helen Baker tells what you should be doing to ensure your money is working hard for you in retirement.

Getting your money working when you’re not

Financial adviser and author Helen Baker lists the key things you can do to ensure your money is working hard to support you in retirement.


In retirement, it's normal to wonder if your money is working hard enough for you. We are constantly bombarded by financial news and all this analysis can lead you to wonder if you’re missing out on something. “Am I taking advantage of the interest rates? Should I find something that pays better dividends?” and the dreaded, “What’s my legacy going to be?”

It’s important to filter out information that doesn’t apply to you, or needs a bespoke retirement approach.

Take low interest rates for example. Low interest rates are great if you want to borrow to invest, buy a house or start a business. But is that you? For retirees, low interest rates are a good way to clear debt or if you are a pre-retiree refinance existing investments to boost your cash flow.

But any investment decision carries risks, and if you lose money in retirement it’s hard to replace. Everyone’s appetite for risk is different and depends on your individual circumstances.

There are a few key things to you can do to make sure you’ve spread your risk and your money is working hard to support you.

1. Get financial advice
A financial adviser can help you manage or invest your superannuation and other investments, maximise your tax and government incentives and help you develop long-term budget and investment strategies. Visit the Financial Planning Association website to find an appropriately qualified adviser and check you are getting all tax deductions related to service fees and commissions.

2. Diversify your investments
Diversifying your portfolio can help manage the risk of investing by ensuring your interests are spread across a range of asset types and industries. Some investments carry lower risks and lower rewards, while others have a higher risk and reward. There may be options for diversifying within your super fund and you can also look outside your super for other types of investments such as managed funds. There are many options and it can be daunting, so weigh it up and discuss the options with your financial adviser.

3. Know your entitlements and tax incentives
Unless you’re familiar with the language of government and taxation, this area can get overwhelming. A good financial adviser will help, but doing your own research is also important. The seniors card can be a handy cost saver, and there are services to help you pay bills or supplement carer fees. If you’re over 55 and not retired, look into a transition to retirement strategy, which can supplement your income with your super.

There are several government benefits for health-related expenses. Have a close look at your private health cover and make sure it suits your needs. The same cover you’ve always had may not be working as well for you any more.

4. Interrogate your investments
There are many options when it comes to retirement-friendly investments. All need thorough research and you must know exactly what you’re getting into. While property is often thought of as the go-to investment for wealth creation, in retirement it can be risky. Tenants who don’t pay or market fluctuations can definitely throw a spanner in the works and you can’t sell off a bedroom if you need some money to travel. Term deposits are a good way to keep cash accessible, but the interest rates now are small compared to property or shares. Blue chip shares will earn you some money and there are tax incentives. But like everything there are risks, which is why diversity is key.

Managed funds can be a good balance, but again, do thorough research. Look for funds with diverse investments. Having cash is a day-to-day necessity, so consider investments that pay dividends with franking credits.

5. Work part-time
The work bonus is a government incentive to encourage people to work past the Age Pension age without reducing the pension. Working will help you preserve your super and, in many cases, could also benefit your mental health.

Retirement is about protecting what you’ve built. Being too conservative with investments could send you backwards, but risky investments can hit hard when they don’t pay off. By taking the time to understand what your money is doing and developing a solid strategy to get it working harder, you can make your retirement a stress-free one.

Is your money working as hard as it should be for you? Are the low interest rates causing you concerns?

Helen Baker is a licenced Australian financial adviser and author of two books: On Your Own Two Feet – Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence and On Your Own Two Feet Divorce – Your Survive and Thrive Financial Guide. She is among the one per cent of financial planners who holds a master’s degree in the field. Find out more at

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    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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    The Sheriff
    19th Nov 2019
    This so called advice, in my view, is full of the usual platitudes. Financial advisers, I feel, are only interested in wealth transfer - your savings to them. Financial advisers, it seems to me, parrot what the self-appointed gurus from the major banks fulminate. One can read a computer screen giving market updates just as well as these work shy bludgers.
    19th Nov 2019
    Thanks Sheriff. Certainly something for me to think about. Might give it a go.

    This reply relates to your reply to my post
    12th Dec 2019
    Hello everyone feel free to reach out to Mr barry on Barrysilbert540 @ gmail . com if you need help or guidance on how to recover your lost fund using good strategy and how profitable trades is been done. And also if you want to recover your lost funds using his masterclass strategy he can help you. I'm earning $10,250 weekly using his masterclass.. you can also reach him out on whatsapp + 4475 0829 8691. you can also reach out on this email expert.traders4u @ gmail. com.
    19th Nov 2019
    How do i keep my head above water? It's all very well to say term deposits are the safest way to invest, even on these low interest rates, but the Centrelink takes their 3%, and my investment for my future reduces each year. I am scared stiff to put my investment into shares, second mortgages etc as my late husband lost thousands doing that, although he was very successful before the GFC. I never has any superfine and making ends meet with my aged pension and having my son share with me.
    I'd love to know if there is a 100% guarantee of increasing an investment.
    The Sheriff
    19th Nov 2019
    Nana, I know you do not want to invest in shares. However, the 4 major banks are great investments, paying dividends in excess of bank interest rates. If the major banks collapsed so would Australia. For example, NAB's shares this morning cost $27.22.. 100 would cost you $2,722.00 plus brokerage. At Commsec about $10.00. At their last interim dividend rate per share of around 83 cent you would receive $83.00 twice a year, fully franked. I hope this helps.
    21st Nov 2019
    Nana should understand there are no guarantees before investing in shares. She needs to be aware of the risks when investing in shares and be comfortable with price volatility. Since your post when NAB was at $27.22, its price has fallen 89 cents to $26.33 wiping out the dividend. Two months ago tho it was worth $29.73, a year ago $24.01 and about $30 the year before that. In the past year it has traded in the range $22.52 to $30.
    19th Nov 2019
    this is not telling anything new, rather a 'plug' for financial advisors.
    Golden Oldie
    19th Nov 2019
    On the website for financial planners they only list advisors in southern most parts of Melbourne. I checked for 10 km from where I live, near Epping. None. Checked 50 km and came up with a heap in Mornington, Frankston, geelong, Bendigo, Dandenong seemed the closest. None in the CBD or in Northern suburbs.
    19th Nov 2019
    If Your Life Choices allows useless articles like this they should headline it for what it blatantly is : Advertising
    12th Dec 2019
    Hello everyone feel free to reach out to Mr barry on Barrysilbert540 @ gmail . com if you need help or guidance on how to recover your lost fund using good strategy and how profitable trades is been done. And also if you want to recover your lost funds using his masterclass strategy he can help you. I'm earning $10,250 weekly using his masterclass.. you can also reach him out on whatsapp + 4475 0829 8691. you can also reach out on this email expert.traders4u @ gmail. com.
    Chris B T
    19th Nov 2019
    There are safe Place's To Park Your Money, but to obtain it within a short Time Frame is another thing. Shares go up and down usually Bi annual Distribution, some have Franking Credits. Timing is the key to Obtain Your Money when Needed.
    At these low returns from Financial Institutions, the Mattress Bank is looking Good.
    Ease of access for 1, and the same amount be there until next withdrawal.
    No adviser Fee's.
    19th Nov 2019
    Might have to be a fire-proof mattress - maybe a container wrapped in alufoil, who knows.
    Chris B T
    19th Nov 2019
    At least you weren't Burnt By A Financial Institution.
    Plus Smoke Alarms Help.
    19th Nov 2019
    Not much of anything in that story other than the same rubbish they all tell you.
    A bit like complaining about the hole in your shoe and being advised that new shoe laces make shoes so much more comfortable. Its BS. Why bother running this.
    19th Nov 2019
    Too right Mick. When the time cane round I ask the C/L information service, learned a bit there and then made up my own mind. Stuffed up a few times in my life as well but was not always better off with professional financial advice which I had to pay for.

    23rd Nov 2019
    It’s very hard telling the authenticity of this online platforms only if you’ve had a bad experience with them after trading or doing any form of business with them.
    If you have ever been scammed by any fraudulent broker; firstly you will have to document everything. The very first thing to do is to make records of everything you can. This includes the brokers, or SSP’s, terms&conditions, copies of any emails/Skype/live-chat you have had with them, confirmation of your deposit, turnover requirements for bonuses and your trading history. No matter what you do next, this information will be required in order to get satisfaction. What you do next will depend on the type of scam you have fallen prey to.
    i’ll advise you file a complaint with instantfundsrecovery /DT/CM and provide them with all necessary informations that will aid your recovery process
    1st Apr 2020
    I made deposit of $10,000 into this broker on 1st December, then I got a call from the account manager telling me about my account and the bonuses I could get if I put in more money. He was really good at convincing (maybe he brainwashed me ) I later put $86,000 in total.
    Then I sent all of my verification documents such as proof of address, ID and Bank card detail (I sent without CCV) and Declaration form . Also I received lots of emails from them about verification and activation and etc. During first 3 days which my account was funded and was ready to start; they called me many times to re-invest and increase my amount and I refused cos they got too pushy about it. I
    figured something was seeing wrong when I requested for a withdrawal and was told I had to reach a deposit target before I can make withdrawals.
    So I couldn't trust them as they changed their word and I asked adviser I want to close my account as my account is verified and it's ready. I already told him I can't put more money and now I change my mind and I want to withdraw my money and close my account.
    I send lots of email, chat, request, text, call and etc and asked them to call me and explain but nobody answer and reply to me even through email (Used to be emailed straightaway) Now I want to withdraw all of my money but I can't go through my account. THEY NEVER CAME BACK TO ME. TEL, ADDRESS AND COMPANY AND ALL ARE SCAM.
    Until I was introduced to a recovery company that helped me out FASTFUNDSRECOVERY AT PROTONMAIL

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