Crucial steps to take 15 years from retirement

Retirement is only around 15 years away and it will be here before you know it, so now’s the time to act. By incorporating these five steps into your current financial routine, you can put yourself on the right track, and take time to plan the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. 

Key learnings covered in this topic

  1. Debt management
  2. Maximising super
  3. Optimising tax benefits
  4. Assessing risk
  5. Seeking financial guidance

1.    Aim for zero debt

Ideally you want to enter retirement debt free, so if you’re currently paying off a mortgage or any other large debt, you should get serious about your repayments. Many Australians will enter retirement owing money, in fact, nearly 10% will still have a mortgage . Using your super to pay this off means you’ll reduce your nest egg, you may have to rely more on the Age Pension, and you could be setting yourself up for a less comfortable future.

2.    Take advantage of tax savings

In your 50s your career could be reaching its peak, the kids might be off your hands, and you find yourself with a bit more cash. By contributing more into your super now rather than later, you can take full advantage of the tax incentives on offer through salary sacrificing, after tax contributions, and spouse contributions. The earlier you start contributing the less tax you may pay, and crucially, the more time compound interest can work to build you a bigger balance.

3.    Determine how much super you’ll need

Whether it’s international travel, a sea change, helping the kids out financially, or buying a caravan, you’ll need to plan and save for your ideal lifestyle. Writing down your goals can help form your vision and give you the motivation you need to get started. Then use the Retirement Income Calculator to get an estimate of your income in retirement, and help you understand the actions you can take now to achieve the lifestyle you want.

4.    Get your risk right

How much risk are you willing to take to achieve your retirement goals? In general, the higher the risk, the higher the expected return. But, at 15 years out from retirement, it’s important to think about your reaction to market volatility. As history has shown us there will be market highs and lows, along with unpredictable world events over this time, so you’ll need to decide how much risk you can take and still sleep soundly at night.

Not sure of your appetite? Take our Risk attitude quiz in MemberOnline.  

5.    It’s never too early to talk to the experts

Through your CareSuper membership you have access to financial planners who can provide super specific advice over the phone, at no extra cost to you.* We can help with boosting your super and saving on tax, determining your risk appetite, your insurance needs, and importantly, helping you understand if you're on track for retirement.

If your advice needs go beyond super, you have access to a team of comprehensive financial planners, with commission-free costs communicated up front.^  We'll consider your whole financial situation, including your spouse, any assets you have outside super, your debts and your financial goals to help you plan your ideal retirement.


*Financial advice obtained over the phone, or through MemberOnline, is provided by Mercer Financial Advice (Australia) Pty Ltd (MFAAPL) ABN 76 153 168 293, Australian Financial Services Licence #411766. 
^Advice is provided by one of our financial planners, who are Authorised Representatives of Industry Funds Services Limited (IFS). IFS is responsible for any advice given to you by its Authorised Representatives. Industry Fund Services Limited ABN 54 007 016 195 AFSL 232514. 

Information correct as at 19 April 2024.