3 reasons to start thinking about retirement in your 20s

If you make some small changes early on when it comes to your finances and your perception of retirement, you'll be miles ahead down the track.

You’ve just graduated from university and started your first job. The last thing you’re probably thinking about is retirement. Why would you when you’ve arguably got the best years of your life ahead of you, and the word retirement conjures up images of nursing homes and daytime TV? The thing is, if you make some small changes early on when it comes to your finances and your perception of retirement, you’ll be miles ahead down the track (and you’ll be thanking your 20-year-old self).

Sort Your Super Out Early

Spending a couple of hours to learn about your super in your 20s will be your secret weapon down the track. Take time to understand how it works, the companies to choose from and your investment and insurance options. Choosing a low-cost super fund with a solid track record, and providing every employer with the details for it, will ensure you are only paying fees for one account. Make sure that your employer is paying you the right amount of super, and if appropriate, consider different ways to boost your super like adding additional funds from your salary. Never forget that your super is your money, so take good care of it.

Invest Outside of Super for Flexibility

If you think you might like to retire before you reach your preservation age, aka the age at which the government says you can start using your super, it may be worth considering investing outside of your super. Whether you’re just looking to shave a few years off your retirement age or attempting to something more radical such as retiring at 45, start thinking about what your goals are now and how you can achieve them. We have some great calculators on our site, so you can experiment with different scenarios and consider what might be possible.

Reframe Your Views of Traditional Retirement

When it comes to your finances, saving and investing for retirement can seem like a daunting goal, and the stereotypical image of retirement doesn’t really help here. Over the last few years I have started to change the way I view retirement and reframed the goal as working towards financial independence. When you are financially independent you have much greater control over your time and the direction you take, and it’s not a matter of sitting at home watching Netflix all day. By reframing your personal views of what financial independence looks like for you, it adds an extra layer of context behind the purpose of your super and other investments.

Don’t let the negative stereotype of retirement prevent you from taking small steps today, that will have a massive impact down the track. It’s never too early to start preparing for the future, no matter how distant it may seem.

Click here to access the InvestSMART retirement calculator.


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