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How good are the calculators super organisations use as a reasonable tool for forecasting the length of time one's money would last? Do they take into account not only inflation but also the fact that in pension mode, the percentage that needs to be withdrawn each year increases as one gets older?

How good are the calculators super organisations use as a reasonable tool for forecasting the length of time one's money would last? Do they take into account not only inflation but also the fact that in pension mode, the percentage that needs to be withdrawn each year increases as one gets older?

The calculators you mention are a useful guide but they are no more than that. This is because the amount of money you need in retirement depends on a range of variables that include the rate of inflation, the earning rate you can achieve, how long you will live and the state of your health. This is why it is important to have an annual check-up with your adviser to ensure you are on track to reach your goals and to change strategies when appropriate.

I wish to retire next year when I will be 63. I'm a member of the defined benefits fund and am planning to take a lump sum of $100,000, plus an indexed life pension of about $2100 a fortnight. Our total financial assets should be about $200,000. I have looked at the Centrelink website but find it difficult to determine how they treat defined benefit income streams. Will I qualify for a part-pension?

The income test cut-off for a couple is $63,824.80 a year and, with a pension of $54,600 a year and deemed income of about $7300 a year, you are very close to that. However, indexed pensions may have a deductible portion that will reduce the amount for Centrelink purposes. The only way to find out this figure is to talk to your super fund's trustee. It should then be an easy calculation.

Advice is general and readers should seek their own professional advice. Contact noel.whittaker@whittaker macnaught.com.au.


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