Don’t let your Golden Years become Grudge Years

Planning for life beyond full-time work can sometimes seem too difficult or time-consuming. But it needn’t be – and unless you take action now, your ‘Golden Years’ could turn into something very different.

Sadly, for many of us there will be a big gap between our ideal and real retirement ages. This will see the emergence of a Grudge Workforce’ of people who’ve had to keep working far longer than they wanted to because they don’t have enough money to retire on.

The oldest employee in town…

There are good reasons why some people prefer to keep working beyond age 65. But imagine having no choice but to work well into your 70s, faced with age discrimination and health constraints – especially if you’re in a physical profession. Imagine having a boss young enough to be your grandchild.

But don’t panic. Whether your retirement is an unimaginably long way off or just a few short years away, there are steps you can take now. Evasive action, if you like.

How to avoid being a grudge worker

  1. Let Centrelink look after youYou could of course stop work as per your original plan and rely on the government age pension. And that’s fine if you’re happy living off $21,000 a year.* (This assumes you’ll even be eligible for the pension, which is means-tested. Bear in mind too that the pension age is rising to 67 by the year 2023.)
  2. Start topping up your super

If the age pension doesn’t appeal, you’ll need to do something now. There are lots of things you can do, but the big hitter in potentially avoiding the grudge years is simply to start putting more money into your account.

Obviously, the more you pay in, the faster your savings will grow, but even small regular amounts can make a big difference – especially if time is on your side. For example, topping up your super with just $20 a week from your before-tax salary (‘salary sacrificing’) can really help.

Assumptions: The age 25 figure is based on an initial super balance of $10,000 and salary of $40,000 per year. The age 35 figure is based on an initial super balance of $30,000 and salary of $60,000 per year. The age 45 figure is based on an initial super balance of $75,000 and salary of $80,000 per year. Each super fund earns a rate of return (before earnings tax) of 6.5% per year. Earnings are calculated at the end of the financial year. Retirement is at age 65. Figures are expressed in future dollars. Salary, Super Guarantee (SG) and salary sacrifice are indexed annually at 3%. Top up is annualised and contributed at the beginning of the year.

Take evasive action – get on top of your super

  • Learn more about salary sacrificing and other ways to grow your super
  • Start salary sacrificing – just ask your employer’s HR or Payroll department to divert some of your pre-tax salary into your super account every time you get paid.
  • Let us find out if you’ve got any lost super. (There’s $18 billion of it out there!)^
  • Download a free super guide – and don’t worry, they’re quick and easy to digest.

Want a chat about how to get started?

Talk to one of the friendly team in our Super Concierge Service on 1800 191 517. We’ll allocate you a dedicated expert – so you’ll have a regular ongoing contact person if you need to call us again.

Want a personalised report and financial plan for your super?

Try our Super Advice Tool, which you can access via your online account. It gives you a tailored statement of advice, including:

  • an investment choice recommendation mixed from our six single sector investment options
  • a projection of your super balance at retirement, how long this amount may last you and how these are affected by making extra contributions
  • the types of extra super contributions you can make and the effect they’ll have on your take-home pay, income, overall tax and super
  • a recommendation for death and total and permanent disablement insurance cover.



*As at 20 September 2013. The age pension is $21,000 a year for a single person and $16,000 a year for each member of a couple. Figures are rounded down to nearest thousand and include a pension supplement of $61.70 and a clean energy supplement of $13.70 for a single person, and $46.50 and $10.30 respectively for each member of a couple.

^Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report 2011-12

Tags: Super