Retirees ‘flying solo’ with finances

A large number of retired Australians are independently navigating their way through their retirement finances with the majority not involving professionals and many not even involving their life partners, according to new research from global asset management firm Franklin Templeton.

The research shows that while nearly half of Australian retirees believe a financial adviser is important to their retirement planning and generating income in retirement, only 24 per cent of them are working with a financial adviser. This is the lowest incidence among global peers surveyed, with 57 per cent of retirees in Canada and 47 per cent in the US working with an adviser.

According to the YourLifeChoices Retirement Matters survey, 55 per cent of members said that they had or would consult a financial adviser about their retirement.

Only 54 per cent of Australian retirees with a spouse or partner say they coordinated their retirement planning with them prior to retiring, which is also the lowest among global peers, reflecting a potential lack of forethought when it comes to this important transition.

Franklin Templeton’s Manuel Damianakis said that while everyone should be encouraged to take a strong personal interest in their retirement finances, attempting a ‘flying solo’ approach may come at a cost.

“Eighty-one per cent of those retired have never developed a written retirement income plan and only 43 per cent told us they have a strategy to generate income for retirement that could last 30 years or more.”


Australians’ strong independent approach to retirement finance is not necessarily reflected in action, with around half of Australian retirees checking on their retirement savings once a month or more.

Furthermore, one in three retirees say that when it comes to spending their retirement savings, they don’t have a strategy – they just spend what they need each year and hope it will last.

Many also lack a contingency plan if they are unable to manage their finances.

“Given ongoing market volatility and protracted low interest rates, it would be unwise for retirees to adopt a set-and-forget approach to their savings and investments, and this is often where those working without professional advice become unstuck,” said Mr Damianakis.

“As an industry and as a society, we need to navigate a better path where all retirees can access professional advice and still feel they have sufficient self-management and control.”

This global survey was conducted in Australia for the first time in May 2019, through an online questionnaire with more than 2000 Australians.

Did you consult with your partner about your retirement income plan? Did you use a financial adviser?

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Written by Ben Hocking

Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.

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