Boomers’ biggest retirement fear

While many baby boomers are worried that they won’t have enough money for retirement, there’s something that worries them much more.

According to research released last week by insurance firm Apia, more than 50 per cent of those surveyed say that “sudden or unplanned financial expenses” top their list of retirement fears.

Head of Customer Value at Apia, Geoff Keogh said that these unexpected financial shocks, such as health scares or having to support family members, could easily ruin retirees’ finances.

“There’s an anxiety moving into the retirement phase on the basis of your ability to come back from an unexpected fall,” said Mr Keogh.

“You don’t have the benefits of time and as many options.”

The study also found that around three quarters of those aged 55 and over are already preparing for retirement, with 70 per cent believing they are on track to reach their retirement goals.

However, a senior financial adviser from Planning for Prosperity, Bob Budreika, claims his figures show that only 17 per cent of older Australians are actually ready for retirement.

“The rest are living in pixie-land,” said Mr Budreika.

“Until something serious happens like they run out of money or their investments are lost in a market downturn, there’s utter complacency.”

He went on to say that many retirees think they’ll get by on the Age Pension, but could be in for a rude awakening when they realise the pension will only be paying them half to one third of their pre-retirement income.

“Be realistic about what your living expenses will be – don’t just assume,” said Mr Budreika.

His figures mirror YourLifeChoices’ research, which shows that almost 80 per cent of retirees are worried that they will outlive their savings.

Other key findings of the Apia survey include:

  • 60 per cent of those surveyed said that being debt free is a primary retirement goal
  • 48 per cent were saving for retirement travel
  • one in three want to boost their savings accounts
  • in hindsight almost 40 per cent would have started saving earlier
  • one in three would have made additional superannuation contributions.

“Interestingly, one in 10 said they would have postponed their retirement until they were older or transitioned gradually through part-time work, reinforcing the value they place on ensuring they’re in a positive retirement position,” said Mr Keogh.

“This trend could also be linked to the health and social benefits of work, with good mental and physical health being the top priority for retirement.”

What’s your biggest retirement concern? Do you believe you can get by on the Age Pension? With the benefit of hindsight, would you have put off your retirement a little longer? And, if so, to what age?


Related articles:
Busting the $1 million super myth
Not enough money for retirement
How much is enough for retirement

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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