Redefining retirement – changes boomers need to make

Reimagining retirement is very much a necessity.

A woman approaching retirement age looks out the window with uncertainty

Despite what is reported in the media, the majority of today’s baby boomers don’t have millions of dollars stashed away in retirement savings. If they’re lucky, they will have a modest sum saved in super and own their own home, but, increasingly, this is not usually the case.

For those Australians contemplating their future in retirement, it will most likely have a very different look and feel than they imagined. And so, reimagining retirement is very much a necessity.

Age Pension

The Age Pension, at a grand total of $22,542 per annum (if you’re eligible for a full Age Pension), doesn’t even cover a modest standard of living based on the figures collated by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA). For a single person, ASFA calculates that you need $23,695 per annum to live a modest lifestyle and $42,962 for a comfortable lifestyle.

Over the last few years, changes to how income and assets are assessed have meant that those on a part Age Pension have seen their payments reduced or have been unable to switch certain investment products that have been grandfathered under previous rules. This may have resulted in those in retirement having less income to live on than they had previously thought.

Changes scheduled for 1 January 2017 will also impact the retirement income plans of boomers, with assets thresholds changing and the taper rate doubling for asset values held over the threshold.

Investments and financial advice

A perfect indicator of the impact of share market volatility in investments is the turmoil that has been experienced since the start of the year. Baby boomers planning to retire in the next year have seen thousands of dollars wiped off their nest eggs.

The lack of trust in financial planners compounds the problem, with many Australians not knowing to whom to turn or who can be trusted. Financial planning in the retail sector has especially suffered with the numerous instances of planners associated with the big banks providing flawed advice and in some cases undertaking fraudulent practices.

The onus is very much on individuals to ensure to the best of their ability that the person or financial institution responsible for their investments is indeed acting in their best interests. While certain safeguards have been put in place, such as the Financial Advisers Register held by ASIC, the information input by planners is not verified: they simply don’t go far enough.

Financial planning myths busted

Working longer

The age at which you can apply for an Age Pension is gradually increasing and will reach 67 by 2023. However, plans for the government to raise the age to 70 by 2035 have been well documented, if not legislated. While people are being expected to work longer, the lack of suitable jobs could become a problem. Even the healthiest of individuals can’t be expected to do the same kind of work in their late 60s as they did in their 40s. Yet the opportunities to switch careers are limited, notwithstanding the fact that many older workers face discrimination when job seeking and take considerably longer to secure a position.

Living longer

With men now expected to live to 84 and women to 87, the time actually spent in retirement is a lot longer that it used to be. This means your money has to last longer and you also have to have plenty to do to keep you active and healthy. You’ll also have to make decisions about aged care – whether you’ll be able to remain in your current home and be cared for there or put provisions in place should you require residential care.


For many different reasons, people can find themselves in new relationships later in life and this can bring a change in lifestyle. It may result in a blended family, or maybe even having a second family, for which you will need to be provide. You may also find yourself not quite where you had hoped to be financially, as you may have had to split your assets. This can delay when you planned to retire or change the type of retirement lifestyle you can afford.

Just the two of us


Gone are the days when people entered retirement owning their homes outright and having no personal debt. Many older Australians are facing retirement while still paying a mortgage and debt, and many are entering this stage with no property and will need to continue paying rent.

Has your view of retirement changed? Did you have time to make effective changes to improve your retirement?


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    4th Feb 2016
    The "Boomers" better pull their fingers out, as over 40% of them have already reached retirement age. Wait any longer and it will be retirement management by crisis as they are now in damage control mode.
    4th Feb 2016
    The pension for a couple mentioned above, is incorrect. It is $1,307.00 multiplied by 26 fortnights =$33.982! Boomers may be retiring now, but those who were born before them( called the " builders" generation) are having a harder time of it, as they had NO super at all!
    If it's possible to own your home, that is the only way retirees can have a decent standard of living!
    4th Feb 2016
    I was born before the Baby Boomer Generation and I have superannuation. Get your facts straight.
    4th Feb 2016
    So was my dad but he didn't
    4th Feb 2016
    the figure mentioned is for a single pension only.
    4th Feb 2016
    The majority of those who are currently retired had no superannuation. Until very recently, it was only government workers, a few who worked for certain large corporations, and those who were wealthy enough to start their own funds.
    8th Feb 2016
    I started my private superannuation back in 1972, I wasn't wealthy just financially literate due to sound advice from my dear old dad.
    I contributed what I could monthly and now I am self funded in retirement.
    Those that cry that they never had access to super are the same ones that now cry that the Tax Payer of today wont give them more.
    The real battlers are the low income WORKERS trying to provide for their families while propping the drones who never had the brains to provide for themselves in retirement.
    4th Feb 2016
    I don't think the boomers will be like previous generations, when it comes to what they will be doing in their retirement. A black and white TV set, cigarettes and regular trips to the bowling club just doesn't appeal to everybody, things change. The things boomers want to do in retirement are probably the same as the things they liked doing when they were younger, just not so much of it.
    4th Feb 2016
    If the government would stop tinkering with super, so that we could have some consistency, then perhaps we could plan for retirement. I am age female 63, with limited super, still working, and trying to plan. But just wish they would stop changing things!
    5th Feb 2016
    Sorry Debbie, but the days when people entering retirement have their own home and no debt are NOT gone - I am a baby boomer, we own our own home outright and have no debt. Between us, we have a healthy (but not huge) super, which should allow us to live almost the same lifestyle we have now. I guess it depends on the individual, and their circumstances during their working life, and I appreciate not all can be as lucky as we are. However, let's get rid of the ridiculous claims that do nothing but inflame the argument.
    7th Feb 2016
    give the pensioners who have worked all there lives the same rates and perks that are handed to former members parliament after a few year in the so called job referred to as life time perks
    the only non employees to be payed by their past employer wagers and other perks for not working in the job

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