Finance: Be wise now to enjoy later

By Jeremy Tauri

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How much are you saving for your retirement?

The subject has been in the news lately because of a Massey University study that found exactly how much people really need to enjoy life after work.

It found a two-person household would need $241.35 a week for a very basic lifestyle in Auckland or Wellington. In the regions you'd need $244.24 a week. If you want luxuries - a bottle of wine, the occasional dinner out - you'll need $761.56 in the cities, or $693.83 in the regions. That doesn't include costs of housing such as rates, mortgage or rent.

What do you spend now?

How much of that is rent and basics and how much of what you spend now is on luxuries?

You might not want to be out partying every night when you're 80, but you don't want to find your lifestyle hugely downgraded when you sign off at work.

And how much do you need to save to get that $761 a week? According to Sorted, you and your partner will need more than $200,000 between you at 65. That's assuming the pension is still available to future generations, which I think is becoming more and more unlikely.

The good news is that for young KiwiSavers, that's doable. A 30-year-old woman on an average salary of $50,000 who started contributing when the scheme started and maintains her 2 per cent contribution, plus her employer's contribution throughout her working life, will retire with $251,627.

But for older people, if you haven't got much of a pot saved up, you need to fix that as soon as you can. If you're 40 and earning the same $50,000 salary, contributing from today until you retire at 65 will mean you'll save $129,713. But if you're already 50, you'll only save $62,366.

If you're within a couple of decades of retirement and don't have enough money saved to support the kind of lifestyle you want, I'd recommend getting some good financial advice. Perhaps it's more about looking at what you can do without now so you can have that dream lifestyle in your retirement later; you may need to budget, cut or focus on debt that's excessive and expensive.

You can spread your savings across a range of different vehicles, both to safeguard your investment and to access different rates of growth.

- Hamilton News

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