News » Our Smart Money Planner After Retirement

February 16, 2024

Retirement isn’t just a new chapter in life; it’s a significant transition demanding careful financial planning and adjustments. The journey quickly involves adapting our approach to spending, saving, and generating income, laying the foundation for a comfortable and secure post-retirement life.

To help you with this process, our experts at Apsire2 Wealth Advisers have put together our smart money retirement planner, going beyond simply accumulating savings and focusing on strategically managing and utilising these funds to ensure long-term comfort and stability.

Step 1. Adapting Financial Perceptions Post-Retirement

Rethinking Spending

Retirement will prompt a significant shift in your spending patterns. Transitioning from a regular paycheck to relying on savings, pensions, or other income sources necessitates re-evaluating how one spends money on a monthly, weekly and even daily basis.

We must all align our expenditures with the money coming against the rising cost of living, balancing essentials with the pleasures of life. If you aren’t sure whether you will have enough to do this, you might ask the question, ‘Can you earn money after retirement?’ We explore this more below.

The New Saving Strategies

Retirement savings strategies undergo a transformation once you step into retirement. The focus shifts from accumulation to preservation and a diverse, distribution of assets. Understanding the nuances of superannuation funds, high-interest savings accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate, annuities and more, and how you can optimise each one in retirement, is going to make all the difference. It culminates in strategising withdrawals and investments to ensure financial longevity and security.

Generating Income in Retirement

Retirement doesn’t necessarily mean the end of income generation. Many retirees explore avenues to supplement their income, be it part-time work, freelancing, or other ventures.

However, it’s important to understand the legal and practical aspects, such as, ‘How many hours can I work after retirement in Australia?’. While technically there is no limit to the hours you can work, but if you would like to receive the Age Pension, then your earnings will impact the amount you receive. If you are over 65, however, then you should still be able to access your superannuation; you just might need to undergo several tests if you intend to make further contributions to your account.

Step 2. Calculating Your Retirement Needs

Retirement planning is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour, and a crucial aspect of our money-smart retirement planner is accurately calculating your financial needs during retirement. While the sum doesn’t have to be exact, ensuring a reasonably accurate estimate will allow you to allocate sufficient funds to cover your lifestyle without the risk of outliving your savings.

Some common areas to review include:

Housing Costs

Housing is often the most significant monthly expense for any Australian, but especially retirees. Whether you own your home, carry a mortgage, or plan to rent, when estimating these costs, consider future scenarios like downsizing, relocating to a more affordable area, potential home maintenance and repair costs, and possible rises in interest rates or rents. Anticipating these expenses will help you create a more accurate retirement budget.

Food and Grocery Expenses

Your food and grocery bills may change in retirement, often becoming more consistent without the fluctuation of any work-related dining expenses. Planning for this expense requires realistically assessing your eating habits and preferences, considering any dietary needs that might arise as you age and the potential increase in food costs due to inflation.

Utilities and Bills

Utilities and other recurring bills, such as electricity, water, internet, and phone services, have all risen in recent months and years, so the estimates in your retirement budget need to reflect that. While some of these costs may decrease (like commuting expenses), others might increase (like heating or air conditioning usage). Be sure to include a buffer for unexpected hikes in utility rates!

Healthcare Costs

Healthcare is a critical cost factor in retirement planning. While many health-related and aged care services are available across Australia, estimating future healthcare expenses can still be challenging when you have to consider your current health status, potential future medical needs, and the cost of health insurance premiums, medications, and out-of-pocket expenses. Try to be as comprehensive as possible.

Leisure and Travel

With all the above, it can be easy to forget that this is a time to enjoy yourself. Budgeting for your favourite hobbies, entertainment spells, and maybe even ongoing travel will help ensure a fulfilling retirement lifestyle. Estimate these costs based on your interests and desired lifestyle.

Step 3. Legal and Practical Aspects of Working After Retirement

The landscape of post-retirement employment is driven by nuance, balancing legal constraints with practical considerations. For many, continuing to work after retirement is a financial necessity and a way to stay active and engaged.

Work Hour Limitations – Can You Earn Money After Retirement?

As we have mentioned above, a common question for struggling retirees in Australia is, ‘How many hours can I work after retirement in Australia?’

The government supports senior citizens who wish to continue working by allowing them to retain more of their pension even while earning income from work, including recipients of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, or Carer Payment. If you do want to earn money after retirement, you just need to be aware of two things:

Pension Income Test

The pension income test encourages pensioners to augment their pension with additional private income. There are specific thresholds – $204 for single-rate pensioners and $360 for couples (combined) from 1 July 2023 – up to which private income does not affect the pension rate. Beyond these thresholds, the pension is reduced by 50 cents for every additional dollar earned.

Work Bonus

Exempts the first $300 of any fortnightly income from work from the pension income test. Any unused portion of this $300 allowance accumulates in a Work Bonus income bank, up to a maximum of $11,800. New pensioners over Age Pension age start with an initial $4,000 in this income bank, accumulating to offset future work income normally assessed under the pension income test, carrying forward indefinitely if not used.

Income Sources and Tax Implications

Retirement income can come from various sources such as part-time work, rental income, investments, small business, and so on. Each of these sources has distinct tax implications. Understanding how this income affects your taxes and retirement benefits is crucial for maintaining financial stability and avoiding unexpected tax liabilities. Work with an accountant who can personalise a strategy to maximise your financial position.

Step 4. Organising Your Finances for Retirement

A cornerstone of a comfortable retirement is robust retirement finance planning. With the above points in mind, here is a list of steps to take to get you started:

  1. Develop a Comprehensive Budget: Start with a detailed budget that accounts for all your expected expenses, income sources, and savings. Your budget should be flexible enough to accommodate changes in your financial situation.
  2. Consolidate Retirement Accounts: If you have multiple superannuation and retirement accounts, consider consolidating them for easier management and to potentially reduce fees.
  3. Understand Your Pension and Benefits: Be clear about what you’re entitled to receive from government pensions and how other income might affect these benefits.
  4. Plan for Tax Efficiency: Consider the tax implications of withdrawing from different retirement accounts and investments, planning your withdrawals to minimise tax liabilities.
  5. Review Your Investment Strategy: As you transition into retirement, your investment strategy should shift to focus more on income generation and capital preservation.
  6. Estate Planning: Ensure your estate affairs are in order, including your will, power of attorney, and any trusts.
  7. Seek Professional Advice: Don’t hesitate to consult with financial advisors for tailored advice on retirement finance planning.

The Role of Retirement Planning Services

Navigating the complexities of retirement finance planning can be daunting. Fortunately, professional retirement planning services can offer tailored advice and strategies to meet your unique retirement goals. From optimising your income streams to ensuring your estate is managed as per your wishes, retirement planners can provide the expertise and guidance needed to secure a comfortable and fulfilling retirement.

If you would like to learn more, please speak with our specialists today.


This content contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information. If you decide to purchase or vary a financial product, your financial adviser (Aspire2 Wealth Advisers, 08 9322 7028), and other companies within the AMP Group may receive fees and other benefits. The fees will be a dollar amount and/or a percentage of either the premium you pay or the value of your investments. Please contact us if you want more information.