10th Apr 2012

How retirement is supposed to be

Debbie McTaggart

Thanks to careful retirement planning, no expensive children and a healthy pay cheque, Ron and Sue Hogg are the type of retirees the Government is hopeful will become more the norm for future generations.

Through careful planning, watching their spending and starting a super fund during the boom of the 80s, the Hoggs have even managed to survive the financial mire of the Global Financial Crisis. With everyday Australians having thousands of dollars wiped from super fund balances, this is indeed an achievement.

With years of planning and hard work, their self-managed super fund is now valued at over $1,000,000, a position which most of us can only dream of, and they hope never to have to claim the Age Pension, unless they fall on extreme financial hardship. This hard work and good fortune has led to early retirement at 62 and 54 on an annual pension of $65,000. At 54 Sue Hogg will soon be able to withdraw from her employer’s pension, further boosting the couple’s income.

This is the retirement we all hope to have, yet few will achieve.

Read how Ron and Sue Hogg managed to achieve their retirement utopia at TheAge.com.au 

Is this the type of retirement for which you had hoped? Or does this simply highlight the gap between those who have and those who have not?

While Debbie applauds Ron and Sue’s clever retirement planning, she can’t help thinking that a retirement such as this is unachievable for most working Australians. Do you agree?

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10th Apr 2012
Yes, it is achievable for people in there circumstances who start planning early enough.
As for the vast majority, some of the basic numbers are missing; ie: two large life long incomes.
You can plan all you like but the necessaries need to be there.
Congratulations to all who can, they have worked for it and they take some pressure of the taxpayer.
10th Apr 2012
It is achievable but most people are not prepared to put in the time and make the sacrifices along the way to make it happen. In 1973, I arrived in Australia as a 25 year old hippie with $50 in my pocket and no qualifications, no relatives or friends to fall back on. Coming from a non-English-speaking background, the language was foreign, too. I got a job in the iron ore industry in the NW of WA, eventually got married and raised a family. Our combined incomes allowed us to set money aside for our retirement and I always made sure I put in more than just the compulsory contributions. After the sale of our house in Port Hedland, we were able to retire on our savings. I was 62 and my wife 58. We will be living on our savings until I am 65 or 66, when we will start drawing from our super. Our main problem will be managing to live long enough to spend it all!
Now, many Australians would not be prepared to go and suffer in the heat of the Pilbara to get that kind of income. Even when they do earn a lot, they prefer to spend the money on 4WD vehicles, boats, big TVs, gadgets, holidays, entertainment, etc. rather then putting it into super. Retirement seems so far away when you are young, far enough away to be ignored.
10th Apr 2012
No children? I'd rather have the kids than $1000000.
10th Apr 2012
I don't have any where near that sort of money,but I have never had so much fun since retiring.Every day is a public holiday!!!!
10th Apr 2012
For the current generation of seniors, especially those 70+, we were brought up with the understanding that when you left school and got a job you paid your income tax so that when you were older you received the age pension. Tax was high, superannuation wasn't compulsory, the majority of married women gave up their jobs to raise children. For younger people it would be foolish not to plan for their retirement- but for us oldies, leave us alone. We didn't get a huge baby bonus, our children didn't get the school dental service, there was no youth allowance or any support for our children for their secondary or tertiary education etc. etc. etc. so the age pension we receive is the one and only personal benefit we have from all our years of paying taxes. We've even missed out on respect! As children we treated oldies with respect, gave up our seats to them on buses and trains, listened to what they had to say....now that I am an oldie I find that age pensioners are considered to be a burden on the taxpayer, we oldies are considered to be a danger on the road etc etc. Even the old saying (which I have never agreed with) "children should bve seen and not heard" has probably changed to 'seniors should be neither seen nor heard'.
10th Apr 2012
Congratulations Ozimarco you have done what I have been saying you planned the financial side of your retirement
10th Apr 2012
I just noticed my website is www.yourlifechange.com.au
10th Apr 2012
Guess what? My husband and I (like Jude) are both in our 70's and lived with much the same financial conditions. When we married in 1960 we had virtually nothing. We raised three children, bought a seaside shack for our holiday needs, owned our own home - we were careful with money without being stingy. One of our self-imposed rules was to never buy anything we couldn't pay cash for, so the only debt we ever had was our mortgage; and that was paid off as soon as we were financially able to do it. My husband earned a very average wage, and I worked part-time. He was compulsorily retired at age 56, without a generous golden handshake. I have continued to work, although nowadays on a casual basis which doesn't amount to a great deal.

My husband had always paid into superannuation, albeit at the minimum rate of 5%. I set up a super fund for myself quite late in my working life, but put in a higher percentage plus salary sacrifice. As a result of our lifestyle and financial decisions we are now in the position of not qualifying for any aged pension at all due to our income and our assets - and that is not a complaint! My feeling is that if we very ordinary people could set ourselves up so comfortably, then barring personal disasters surely most others could too.
10th Apr 2012
Planning for retirement is a long life achievement. You don't think about it when you're in your twenties or even thirties. I was in the same situation as ozimarco, arrived in this country age 25 with US$50 in my pocket with a suitcase of clothes and personal belongings. I have just recently retired (age 60) receiving a pension from a defined benefit superannuation which I may call God send. I get an income more than enough for our daily needs. It costs a lot to pay after 55 but it was all worth it at the end. We owned our home and no debts. Life is a bliss.
10th Apr 2012
All the best to those who have succeeded with their plans & financial arrangements, but Govt should look to Seniors who are on Centrelink payments to receive money equal to the Maternity allowance being paid ,and if Govt is able to guarantee Bank deposits, then Govt should be able to offer that same guarantee to people who have Super with Banks, and their Super fund departments. Banks got off "scott free" in Global Fin Crisis 2008 and no one turned to help , I bet Politicians super not affected by GFC !
11th Apr 2012
I am a divorced woman and turn 60 this year. Luckily, I have paid nsw state super for over 20 years and will manage, but I do have boomerang children, one following the dream of being an artist. Its not all about just surviving and spending in retirement. That seaside shack that someone mentioned would now be $500,000 plus and my kids will never have that. They may not even have a mortgage because they won't be able to afford a $300,000 mortgage. Many of the employed here in Australia earn minimum wage in non-permanent positions and will live hand to mouth all their lives. The young generation will rent all their lives. We may even have to live in an extended family situation forever. It won't be good for everyone
13th Apr 2012
I understand what you are saying dee. What we were able to achieve in our time doesn't have much relevance to the young ones nowadays. My comments were directed toward many of today's retirees and soon-to-be retired, who seem to be the ones making the loudest complaints. The point I was trying to make is that you will reap what you have sown - if you spend all you make and go into debt for what could be called luxury goods and services, then you will be less able to accumulate funds for your future. Like you, I fear for the future of my own grandchildren who are now beginning to enter the workforce, and wonder how they will live.
24th Jan 2013
I believe that careful planning and hard work will give you a graceful retirement later. But with current economic situation and Global Financial Crisis we cannot clearly estimate how much of our retirement savings could save us in the future. According to a new study from the financial advisory firm HelloWallet, more than $70 billion is drawn out of retirement accounts each year in cash or loans to pay for non-retirement needs. People in their 40s are the worst violators, with nearly a third raiding their retirement accounts for daily expenses. Read more here....

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