Glass half full

Glass Half Full Catalyst

Perpetual Private Insights

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In the 125 years to 2015, life expectancy in Australia increased by 33.2 years for males and 33.7 years for females.

These numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics are extraordinary. Yet being able to live longer is only half of the story. What the data doesn’t show is how we feel about getting older.

We wanted to know, so we asked 2,700 Australians as part of Perpetual’s ‘How do you feel?’ project. Our results show a select group of Australians are far more comfortable about growing older than everyone else.

What sets this group apart and can we learn anything from them?

Introducing the 4Cs

The ‘4Cs’ is a term we coined for Australians who described themselves as calm, capable, confident and comfortable. When grouped together, 67% felt positive about growing older, compared to 49% of the broader Australian population. 

“We wanted to know why they were more optimistic about the future. Was there anything different in their behaviour and attitude to life?” said Gary Lembit, Perpetual’s Client Insights Manager.

The fears we face

We asked what worries people about retirement. From a financial perspective, the 4Cs were far less concerned about running out of money – yet this was one of the leading concerns for everyone else.

Interestingly, when the 4Cs were asked how often they thought about their finances, it was less than the rest of Australians. Their financial position was important, but so was the time they spent with their family and friends. Consequently, they were far less worried about losing touch with friends and colleagues in retirement when compared to the rest of the survey group.

“How were they able to balance their financial and personal lives so much better than everyone else? Their secret was a simple one – they were better planners,” said Gary.

Planning makes all the difference

The French author Antoine de Saint-Exupery once quipped that a goal without a plan is just a wish. The people in our survey may not have heard of Antoine, but among them there appears to be a lot of wishing and very little planning.

“One of the most surprising results is just how poor we are at planning for our financial future. There was no increase in planning as people moved through their fifties and sixties, despite this period being the lead up to retirement. People only started planning financially in their seventies, when there was a sharp spike in activity,” said Gary.


The 4Cs are twice as likely to have a financial plan – we think this is one of the reasons why they are more positive about the future. The process of creating a financial plan helps you to see the big picture and better understand what you need to do to realise your aspirations.


    A financial plan could also help you to:

  • Build your wealth faster by improving your cash flow with better tax planning and budgeting, allowing you to pay off debts sooner and increase your investments.

  • Maximise your super with better planning in response to recently introduced contribution caps, creating a larger nest egg in the tax effective super system.

  • Retire or scale back on work sooner allowing you to spend more time with friends and family or pursue other interests like philanthropy.

  • Protect yourself and your family against the unexpected with insurance options to relieve financial pressure should you suffer an illness or injury.

  • Smooth transfer of your wealth with an estate plan that protects your legacy in a tax-effective way, underpinned by thoughtful planning rather than being created under the emotional weight of an emergency.

Let's plan together

Creating a financial plan may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. It starts with a simple conversation about your goals for the future. Our experienced financial advisers would love to help you get the ball rolling.

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Perpetual Private advice and services are provided by Perpetual Trustee Company Limited (PTCo) ABN 42 000 001 007, AFSL 236643. This information was prepared by PTCo. It contains general information only and is not intended to provide you with financial advice or take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider, with a financial adviser, whether the information is suitable for your circumstances. To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted for any loss or damage as a result of any reliance on this information.