The way that older Australians are thinking about retirement income is changing, according to new research by National Seniors Australia. Older retirees have traditionally relied on the Age Pension as the main component of their income for retirement. However, the next generation of retirees see their superannuation as their main source of income. This reflects a growing awareness amongst older Australians that they need to be provide for themselves financially (at least in part) for retirement.

The survey of over 3,000 Australians aged over 50 also uncovered some other interesting findings, including –

• Many older Australians are still supporting other family members as they prepare for and enter into retirement. 30% still provided some level of financial support, mostly to children and grandchildren.

• Less than half of pre-retirees were confident that their superannuation would be adequate to fund their retirement.

• Uncertainty about changes in their health, family relationships and living arrangements affected how people felt about their financial security in retirement.

What can be done?

Being informed and planning ahead for any life stage can improve our wellbeing and sense of security. For retirement, some key things that can bolster a sense of financial security include –

• Making proactive decisions about our living arrangements. Decide ahead of time where you want to live, and tackle any major moves early. Moving is easier while you are healthy and independent, and things like living costs won’t loom as unknowns.

• Communicating and clarifying expectations with family members. Decide how much care giving and financial support you can provide, and talk honestly with your family so that everyone understands what to expect.

• Taking a pro-active approach to your health. While we can’t control unexpected health issues, understanding how to age well can minimise health costs.

• Sound financial planning and budgeting. This will provide a clear and realistic picture of how much money you will need for retirement and what your income is likely to be.

Uncertainty is inevitable, but you can act early and take a proactive approach to managing the risks and concerns that worry you the most.

Click here to read more about the research by National Seniors Australia.