If you’re organised enough to take advantage of all that retirement transition offers, good on you. Even if you had a late start with superannuation, this is a time when you can give it a final boost. The transition period is also an excellent time to evaluate your life and your home. It’s time to choose what is more meaningful for you and time to work out how you can continue to have the lifestyle you want within what will likely be a restricted income.

Top 5 tips to transition to retirement

You have a lot of thinking to do. In the meantime, here are some of our top tips to help you in this transition period.

1. Practise living on your planned retirement income

We think (and you might beg to differ) that a gradual transition will lead to a smoother retirement journey. If you have a rough idea of what your post-retirement income will be, practise living on that amount. That includes budgeting for holidays and emergencies.

2. Salary sacrifice into super and take advantage of government policy

While you’re practising living on a reduced income, use the extra money to top up your superannuation through salary sacrifice. There are tax benefits, as I’m sure you’re aware, and more super means more retirement income.

Take advantage of government tax policy

We aren’t financial advisers so we can’t recommend any financial strategy. However, there’s a great government website, moneysmart.gov.au that has terrific information on Transition to Retirement strategies.

3. Carry out major renovations now and make major purchases

You might be looking at adapting your bathroom so it’s “elder friendly”. We have friends only in their late 50s who’ve already added a walk-in shower to their bathroom. They call it future-proofing. You might choose to redesign your kitchen so the flow is better for you as you age. For example, you might want an island bench, pull-out pantry drawers and pretty much everything at lower heights. (I don’t want to frighten anyone but we do shrink as we age. Sure, you might be cycling or running half marathons but you need to think ahead.) If you missed it, read our article about 8 things worth owning if you’re over 60.

4. Consider selling to rightsize your life

Anyone who’s undertaken renovations knows how painful the process can be. And what if your current home now longer suits your needs? The transition to retirement period is a great time to sell up and consider your options. You might want a ‘lock-and-leave’ property so you can spend much of your retirement travelling. You might want a tree change with acreage and some animals to keep you company. Bottom line: you’ll find it much easier to get finance while you’re still employed.

5. Learn how to live in luxury on a budget

It might appear as if retirement is going to be one long exercise in compromise. Well, luxury doesn’t have to mean ‘money’. Luxury is the ambience, textures, flavours, scents and sounds that can improve your life. And it’s about spending wisely.

How to achieve luxury on a retiree budget

These are only some ideas. I’m sure you can come up with many more.

Clothing: Buy two or three good pieces that go with anything and that make you feel fantastic. Check your local op shop for bargains but go for quality that will last.

Property: Sell your home and buy a duplex or a dual-occupancy property. You can live in one and rent out the other half to supplement your savings.

Mood lighting: Swap harsh overhead lighting for task-oriented or mood lighting.

Ambience: Keep a bowl of flowers or fruit on your table to make you happy.

Indulgences: Use group-buying sites to indulge in experiences that would otherwise be out of your budget. Think high tea, spa days, parasailing, sports events or banquet meals by the ocean.

Events: Take advantage of free or subsidised events or experiences: the beach, outdoor cinema, council-sponsored classes and concerts.

The key is smart spending. Do you want to blow your budget on one expensive restaurant meal or would you rather pitch up for happy hour five times to catch up with friends?

Can we help with advice on downsizing?

Having navigated the home sale and downsizing process not only for our real estate clients but also for members of our own family, it’s an area in which we’ve amassed a wealth of knowledge. So don’t hesitate to seek out our help – no obligations.

Free downsizers guide

Michael & Rhiff Larkings

Michael & Rhiff Larkings

As a specialist team, focused on Caringbah South and the surrounding suburbs, we've been providing real estate services for over 20 years. With numerous real estate awards to our name, we're in the top echelon of licensed real estate agents in the Sutherland Shire. We regularly set new street, suburb and area sales records. Most importantly, we understand that real estate is a ‘people’ business where the development of relationships and trust, with both our clients and purchasers, is vital to achieving your all-important sales result.

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