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By Angela Saurine
Angela Saurine is a freelance writer, copywriter and editor based in Sydney, Australia who specialises in travel, lifestyle and social issues.”
Hopefully you are reading this sitting on the vine-covered verandah of a centuries-old stone villa in Tuscany, looking out over rolling green hills, sipping a glass of red and nibbling on locally-made cheese. You are in the company of a few good friends, who have made the long journey from Australia to Italy to celebrate this milestone with you.
As you know I’ve always been a planner, and spending a few weeks in Europe for my 60th birthday was on the bucket list for decades – to do Europe ‘properly’.
I hope I’m correct that at this age you’re still fit enough to travel, and are financially stable enough to do it in comfort. Don’t forget that in addition to Tuscany, I’d also like to incorporate hiking in Switzerland, visiting the underground cellars in Champagne in France, and maybe even a river cruise.
I'm lucky that my Mum always instilled in me the importance of a strong work ethic, and superannuation.
Despite raising me as a single parent on a low income, she still managed to pay extra into her super, especially as she got older. She always intended that it would pay off the mortgage on her beloved home she worked so hard for, and it did. It was always her intention for me to inherit the house when she passed away, and I’ve endeavoured to honour her extraordinary drive and dedication by using this legacy wisely and investing in my own property.
A 2017 survey by QSuper of more than 4,500 of its members found that funding retirement was the number one financial concern of the 35 to 54-year-olds1. Being in that age group as I write this, I can certainly relate. So, 60-year-old self, I want to reassure you that I’ve given you the best start in retirement I could, by also taking an interest in my superannuation at a young age.
As a point of interest, the 2017 survey found the top financial concerns across different age groups were as follows:
I began paying superannuation when I started my first job at the local supermarket as a teenager, and continued when I began working in a newspaper office at the start of my journalism career. I’ve taken an interest in where it’s invested, kept an eye on the fees, and tried to put a bit extra into it when I can. I plan to do this more the closer I get to retirement.
Having recently turned 40, and expecting my first baby within weeks, my finances have become even more of a focus of late. It feels like there are so many things to worry about at times – talk of interest rate rises this year, the ridiculously high cost of childcare that I will need to utilise to continue working and paying for my son’s school fees, uniforms, excursions and camps down the track.
I think about the cost of buying him presents like scooters and bikes for his birthday, extra-curricular activities I’d like him to be involved in, such as the Nippers Surf Life Saving program and Scouts, even how much he’s likely to eat as a teenager!
I think about the holidays I’d like to take him on, including an annual trip to the snow where he can learn and continue my family’s love of skiing. I’m blessed that this is something my parents prioritised, and I plan to follow suit. I’ve travelled a lot over the years (hopefully even more by the time you’re reading this), although I may have to cut back on that to concentrate on local trips for a while. But there’s nothing wrong with a summer break at a holiday park by the beach building sand castles and having barbecues.
As you’ll remember, when I fell pregnant I met with a financial advisor to get some tips on how to better manage my money, and the recommendations he made were invaluable. It’s amazing how making a few little tweaks here and there can make such a difference to your budget.
Try some online resources to help you with day to day budgeting, as well as longer-term planning. QSuper’s Budget Planner can help give you the confidence to manage your everyday finances.
I really want to do the best I can with my life to set you up for a good retirement. That includes staying as fit as I can. I love getting out and about going for long walks along the coast and through the bush, and going to weekly yoga classes that include meditation. I believe this is good for my mind, body and spirit. By now I know what works for me, and that’s gentle physical activity, not overly strenuous or competitive pursuits. They say the best type of exercise is one that you will actually do, and these are the things I love. Swimming in the ocean also refreshes me. These are all things that I plan to focus over the next 20 years, that you can then continue once you finish working.
I know my diet is not always as healthy as it should be, so I will also try to improve that. I will aim to eat more of the fruits and vegetables I enjoy, and cook more at home. Setting a good example for my son is something that is extremely important to me, and I know it will also be a bonus for me as I get older.
It’s hard not knowing how long you are going to live, so I guess I just have to plan to have enough money behind me to last as long as I can. Unlike the frugal generation before mine I’ve become accustomed to living a good lifestyle – dinner out with friends, splashing out on new dresses from time to time – and this is something I want to strive to be able to maintain in retirement. But I also hope I can give back to the community by doing volunteer work and will have the time to read the books that I am constantly adding to my list, as well as travelling.
Happy Birthday 60 year-old me. I wish you much happiness for your remaining years.
Lots of love,
1. Survey of 4,564 QSuper members conducted on behalf of QSuper by Colmar Brunton. Conducted 6-27 June 2017.
Personal view disclaimer
The views of the author are not necessarily the views of the QSuper Board and QInvest Limited Board. We’ve put this information together as general information only and you should get professional advice before relying on this information.
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