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ASK NOEL

WE ARE a couple aged 31 and 37. We came to Australia in 2009 and will be staying. We are planning to buy a house and our monthly mortgage repayments will be $3000. Our combined income is $110,000. We don't have children and we have only $15,000 combined in super. We have ailing parents who live abroad and we visit them every year. We need your advice on how to save for our retirement.

WE ARE a couple aged 31 and 37. We came to Australia in 2009 and will be staying. We are planning to buy a house and our monthly mortgage repayments will be $3000. Our combined income is $110,000. We don't have children and we have only $15,000 combined in super. We have ailing parents who live abroad and we visit them every year. We need your advice on how to save for our retirement.

This is the perfect time to be forming a relationship with a financial adviser, who should be able to help you clarify when you want to retire and how much you will need at that time. As a general principle, I feel your first step should be to get your mortgage under control and then think about diversifying into growth investments such as shares.

I am 23 and earn about $55,000 a year. I have a HECS debt of about $20,000 and also a first home owners savings account. The government is offering a 10 per cent discount for all voluntary HECS repayments. I am yet to start making payments. I am planning to travel in the near future and will not be earning money during this time. I am in a position where I could pay off my HECS debt in total. I am not sure if I should put my money towards this debt or if I should keep it in a high-interest account and just make compulsory HECS repayments once I re-enter the workforce after travel.

My advice is to pay off the HECS debt and enjoy the 10 per cent discount, then you can make future plans secure in the knowledge that your HECS debt is gone for good.

Noel Whittaker, AM, is a co-founder of Whittaker Macnaught. Advice is general and readers should seek their own professional advice. Contact noel.whittaker@whittakermacnaught .com.au. Twitter: @NoelWhittaker


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