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The lowdown on retirement across Australia

If you’re expecting spare change from your sea change, it pays to know how different retirement locations measure up for cost of living, median house prices and more. Discover what the latest research reveals about how moving, or staying put, in retirement can affect your finances and lifestyle.

Balancing your budget: cost of living in retirement

We’re all aware that where you live can have an impact on living costs. Cities are known for being more expensive but this is usually balanced out by higher salaries for those choosing to live and work there. For retirees who are no longer working, and have different spending priorities, these cost of living expectations can be very important. So how far can you expect your retirement budget to stretch in the cities and regional areas of Australia?

Differences in retirement living costs can vary by as much as $10,000 pa depending on where you live.

The latest quarterly report from the Milliman Retirement Expectations and Spending Profiles Survey tells us differences in retirement living costs can vary by as much as $10,000 pa depending on where you live. An Australian couple aged 65-69 living in Canberra have the highest average cost of living at $42,941. Compare this to an expected annual budget of $32,762 for a couple in regional South Australia1, and you can see how location in retirement has the potential to affect how much you’ll spend.

Not everyone gives up work altogether in retirement and many plan to put off retirement.

Still in the job market beyond 55

If you’re approaching retirement age and deciding where to live, job prospects and salary expectations might not seem like things you’ll need to consider. However, not everyone gives up work altogether in retirement and many plan to put off retirement until long after they’ve reached the age where they’re eligible for government benefits and access to their super.

In our survey of more than 1000 Australians aged 55+, the average expected retirement age was 702. More than 47% plan to continue working until this age due to financial need. At 48%, the figure is slightly higher for those staying in work because they enjoy it3. So the type of jobs available and the salary you’re likely to earn are both things you may want to look at when you’re planning a move around the time of your retirement. Speaking to local recruitment agencies and checking job listings online for different cities and regions can give you a good indication of what sort of roles are on offer and how often they come up.

It’s worth weighing up a few facts and figures before deciding to downsize.

Making the most of your biggest investment

One of the biggest costs you’ll need to cover at any time in your life is the roof over your head. If you own your home and you’re thinking about moving, you may be motivated by a change of scenery. Or perhaps realising the value in your home to boost your income is part of your financial plan for retirement. In either case, it’s worth weighing up a few facts and figures before deciding to downsize:

  • Median house prices where you’re selling and where you’re planning to buy or rent.
  • Moving costs - including stamp duty, agents’ fees, removalists, conveyancing etc.
  • Any impact the sale will have on your eligibility for government benefits.

The value of research and advice

Upping sticks and moving always takes a big investment of time and money. That’s why it’s so important to be certain you’re making the right decision. Take time to research your chosen location to make sure it’s the right kind of place for the lifestyle you’re planning for. Whether you decide to move or stay put, seeking professional advice to make sure everything adds up financially is also a good idea.

Need help managing your money?

Getting expert advice can make a big difference to how prepared you are for retirement - both emotionally and financially. By discussing your lifestyle goals with a StatePlus financial planner you’ll have a much better understanding of the super and income you’ll need to make retirement a positive change in your life.

For more tips and tools, download our free Retirement guide or call us on 1800 620 305.

1 Milliman Retirement Expectations and Spending Profiles, Q2, August 2017, page 25, TABLE 6, Age 65 – Median Annual Spend By Location
2 3Cs Research Backgrounder and Topline findings, 7 September 2017, page 2, expected age of retirement
3 3Cs Research Backgrounder and Topline findings, 7 September 2017, page 2, primary reason for working until this age
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"They do spend a lot of time trying to get to know you and ensuring that your retirement reflects your priorities in life." Victor, Aware Super client.

Aware Super Pty Ltd ABN 11 118 202 672, AFSL 293340, the trustee of Aware Super ABN 53 226 460 365. Financial planning services are provided by our wholly owned financial planning business Aware Financial Services Australia Limited, ABN 86 003 742 756, AFSL No. 238430.

This information is of a general nature only and is not specific to your personal objectives, personal situation or needs. Before making any decisions based on this information you should consider its appropriateness to you. Every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate. We strongly recommend that you consult a financial planner before taking action and review the relevant Product Disclosure Statement.

Past performance is not an indicator of future performance and future performance is not guaranteed.

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