Sometimes things go wrong. If an earthquake strikes, our house burns down, our car is in a crash or we fall ill, we might be faced with large costs that we can’t afford. We can help each other by spreading the risks among us as a group, and that’s what insurance does.
Ridding your house of clutter feels good but knowing you can pay your bills and enjoy retirement in comfort brings priceless peace of mind. No matter how big or small your savings and investments, the key is to make decisions that maintain and protect them across your retirement years - which may be 25 years or more.
One vital lesson we want to pass on is that it's never too early to start preparing for retirement later in life, when your working situation and income levels will change. It's all about choices.
If you ask people towards the end of their lives what was most important, they mention many things, but no one ever seems to wish that they had worked harder.
Watch recordings from the Money Talks series – find out some great tips on getting motivated to save.
Why exactly is planning so challenging? It’s because in our minds, the future is nowhere near as vivid as the here and now. Rewards that are decades away simply don’t have a chance compared with rewards that we can get immediately.
There are three main stages of retirement that roughly correspond to ages 65–74, 75–84, and 85 plus. And they’re quite different, so it helps to consider this when you’re planning for what are “the choice years” – a fantastic time of life, although with a lot of choices to make over what could be 20 or 30 years.
I’m a big fan of being present in each moment and “living in the now”, as they say. But sometimes the best way to spend a moment is to look to the future and set yourself up for it right then, right there. If you’re investing for retirement, we know that we’re living longer, so we all want to make sure we’ll have an income for as long as we’re around.
Risk comes in many forms, but let’s keep things simple. Basically, risk is the chance that you might not reach your goal. Wherever you set it – putting together a house deposit, your child’s education fund, a retirement nest egg – the question is, what are the chances of you not making it across that line?
If we think about the amount of money we’ll need when we retire, it’s enough to stress anyone out. It’s far more important – and less stressful, to think about how much you’ll need as a weekly amount. Once you know what NZ Super will give you (currently $401 a week for singles), you can start to consider how much above that you’ll need.
Just as no one would try to teach a four-year-old to brush their teeth by explaining to them how grateful they’ll be when they’re 50 or 80, it’s hard to learn to save by thinking about some future far away. Saving just needs to become a habit.
If the idea is to spread your risk and not “put all your eggs in one basket”, why not split your savings among different providers? KiwiSaver may be just one provider, but you actually have different teams of experts working for you to make sure you get many, many pieces of the action.
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