Falling interest rates have hit retirees hard, and according to forecasters even more cuts may be in the pipeline. Particularly for self-funded retirees, it is now more important than ever to make retirement funds work harder.
Making smart choices about personal savings and savings products is vital, according to Greg McAweeney, Executive General Manager of RaboDirect Australia and New Zealand.
“Take the first step by moving excess money from your transaction account into a high interest savings account,” McAweeney says. “Aussies are losing out on billions of lost interest by leaving their money in low interest accounts. Take control of your money by doing the simple things.”
Generating higher returns
Chasing higher returns can be a dangerous game, particularly when you don’t have another 20 to 30 years of working life to cover any losses.
Instead, set an investment strategy with diversified investments while ensuring optimum tax and social security outcomes. A typical portfolio might comprise 50 per cent Australian shares, with the remainder made up of overseas managed funds, property and fixed interest.
“Blue chips” such as bank stocks have been popular with investors recently due to their high yields and fully franked dividends. According to a recent study by the Australian Securities Exchange, shares outperformed other investments including residential property, fixed interest and cash over the 20 years to December 2011.
Gavin Madson, Director of Infrastructure and Fixed Income Research at FIIG Securities, says the latest cut to official interest rates made most short-term rates unattractive.
“Investors should be out of short-term fixed investments, be they bonds or term deposits, which will reflect the drop in rates fully, and instead invest in bonds around the five-year maturity mark, which are offering stronger returns on the higher base rate,” Madson says.
As well as inflation-linked bonds, he suggested indexed annuity bonds that offer an annuity-style payment stream from infrastructure projects at attractive rates.
It is possible to extract wealth from your home using a reverse mortgage. Generally, the older you are the more you can borrow, with a 70-year-old likely able to borrow around 25 to 30 per cent of the property’s value.
The 2013 Federal Budget also introduced an incentive for retirees to downsize. Under the scheme, retirees can invest up to 80 per cent of the profit to a maximum $200,000 in a special account for 10 years and still receive the pension.
Even if ineligible for the pension, the government offers a range of benefits for retirees covering travel and medicine costs. There are also incentives for working past the pension age, including the mature age tax offset and transition to retirement.
Make sure you don’t run out of money in retirement by maintaining a mixture of income and growth assets. By maximising returns, it can be possible to enjoy the lifestyle you deserve.
This article is presented to you by Australian Business Times in conjunction with RaboDirect. For more information about investing in term deposits or utilising self managed super funds, visit RaboDirect.