No such thing as an off switch



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Longer lives mean people reaching retirement age don’t switch off, they just focus on different things. Making the most of this freedom involves calculated financial decisions.

According to a recent Australian Bureau of Statistics study, Australia is one of just six countries where both men and women can expect to live until they’re 80, but instead of extending retirement, demographic change has changed retirement.

“These days, people don’t want to be pensioned off,” says Anthony Lam, a Senior Adviser with Perpetual.  “What should be retired are old ideas of retirement – ideas about slowing down and quiet afternoon teas. For many, later life is a time to get out and see the world again.”

Perpetual specialises in financial advice for professionals, business owners, successful individuals and families. “If you’ve spent your whole career making decisions, you’re not going to stop running the day after your 60th,” says Anthony. “These people don’t have an off switch – they just focus on different things.”

This change in attitudes has also changed the role of the financial adviser.


According to Vicki Mounts, a Perpetual Adviser in Brisbane, one of the main roles of a financial adviser is to act as a sounding board during key decisions. “Often a couple will come to me saying they want to work out their finances because one or both is considering retirement. The first question I ask is: “So what are you going to do with your time?” For many clients the answer to that question is far more important than the money questions.


A ‘transition to retirement’ strategy allows you to move to part-time work and replace the forgone income with drawdowns from your super. The big benefit is that you maintain your income while changing how you spend your time. “It can be the perfect solution,” says Vicki. “You keep the ties to your colleagues and career, but have the time to shift your focus to other things – whether that’s charitable work, family or travel.” 


The chance to give back to the community is an opportunity more Australians are taking as they get older. Transition to retirement strategies or tax-effective income and cashflow management can help by giving people the money and time to volunteer for charities, work for not-for-profits or on long-held passions – whether they’re charitable, social or political.

“One thing we can do is introduce people to the idea of charitable foundations,” says Anthony Lam. “For the right person or family, there are different structures that tick a lot of boxes. They can give to a cause they care about, choose their level of day-to-day involvement, involve their children in a philanthropic activity that extends even beyond their own lives – and do it all tax-effectively.”

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