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Money wisdom, tips and insights from the SASS community.

Last edition we asked whether you’re planning to retire sooner or later than you expected. The results were a clear 50/50 split between those who said they are planning to work for longer and those who said no. Retirement used to be something we raced towards as soon as possible. But times have changed. Many pre-retirees are now part of the ‘sandwich generation’ where their responsibilities to children and older parents begin to overlap.

In this edition, we take a closer look at why some Australians are delaying their retirement, we explore the great generation divide and provide some tips on managing tricky conversations with adult kids still living at home. Plus, we delve into what it means to live and age well in the era of wellbeing. We’ve also replaced our regular poll with a quick survey on what you do and don’t expect from retirement.

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Striking a balance with family and finance

While it’s natural for parents to want to help their children, extra financial commitments can limit spare cash available to put towards retirement savings. We explore what retirement looks like for the ‘sandwich generation’.

Australia is well and truly in the era of the sandwich generation

For some time, baby boomers have been ‘caught in the middle’ caring for elderly parents while continuing to raise or supporting their own children. And with many children of Gen X parents now reaching adulthood but choosing to stay home, it’s becoming more and more common for a family household to include grandparents and/or adult children. It's a trend that’s been highlighted in a recent Australian Institute of Family Studies report. They found that:

  • Around 20% of people in Australia live in a “multi-generational household” with more than one generation of related adults living under the same roof1.
  • Children are waiting longer to leave the nest, with more than 40% of children in their early 20s – and almost 20% in their late 20s – still living at home. 

While some elderly parents are sharing a home with their grown-up kids, this data suggests the overall trend is being driven by young adult children sticking around for longer. 

Why is it taking longer for adult children to leave the nest?

A big factor is financial - in particular housing affordability. The rapidly rising cost of property has put home ownership out of reach for many younger Australians. The average house price in Sydney today is 13 x the average full-time annual income2. It’s no wonder Gen Y has become more preoccupied with spending on people and experiences over buying property3.

The issue of being able to afford a home isn’t just one for the 20-somethings and newly-weds. Even when adults have taken the leap and set up their own household, housing affordability can drive them back to their original family home, sometimes with their own young children in tow. This ‘Boomerang’ generation includes around 1 in 4 Australian adults who have moved back home at some stage4.

COVID has also played a part in adding to the Boomerang adults returning to live with parents. Some have lost their jobs and can’t afford to keep paying rent while others have been forced to move back to Australia from overseas. Research shows that 26% of all households have an adult child living at home. Of these households, 1 in 5 include a ‘kidult’ who recently returned home because of the COVID-19 crisis5.

Striking a balance with family and finance

While it’s natural for parents to want to help their children, extra financial commitments can limit spare cash available to put towards retirement savings. This can result in working for longer and delaying retirement or living less comfortably during retirement, with less money to spend.   

How can you make sure your retirement plans don’t get derailed by the extra family commitments you have now?

  • Take a look at your budget: what extra expenses are you incurring? Can your children contribute by paying rent and/or putting money towards household bills? 
  • Have a good idea of how much money you’ll need in retirement. As a rule of thumb most people need around 70% of their take home pay to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement.
  • Get your head around your financial options when it comes to Aged Care. If you are currently living with older parents, it makes sense to understand the costs involved and your options for paying for Aged Care.
  • Take a look at your investments. Is your portfolio still geared for growth? If you’re planning on working for longer you’ll want to make sure your investments match your life stage not just your age.

We’re here to help

With the help of an Aware Super financial planner, you can make sure your spending and saving is on track to help you reach your long-term goals, whatever they may be. Call us on 1800 620 305 to book an obligation-free appointment.


Is delaying retirement a good idea?

More Australians are either choosing to – or having to – work for longer. We cover some things to think about if you’re thinking of retiring later than you’d planned to.

Why more Australians are staying in the workforce

For most of us, choosing to work longer – or going back to work after retiring – comes down to financial need or boredom6. The fact that we’re also living longer and in better shape in our 60s also makes it possible to stay in the workforce7. Another factor is that the shift to retirement has become more gradual for many working Australians. A growing trend in part-time working means many are able to scale back working hours rather than stopping work completely.

Other trends driving up our retirement age are the growth in service-based roles and the socialisation opportunity work provides. As the nature of work becomes less physical, we can all keep working for longer. For many there can also be a social motive for having a job as it provides a way to stay connected.

While the shift towards working longer for many Australians started long before COVID, the pandemic has had its impact. Closed international borders have created strong demand for people of all ages in our local job market, motivating more Australians to stay at work for longer. 

The trade off in delaying retirement

Working for longer can bring lots of positive outcomes. Staying connected to colleagues you’ve built relationships with and keeping your mind and body active can do wonders for your health and wellbeing. Plus there’s the clear financial reward of earning and saving more for retirement that can make working for longer worthwhile.

Whether making extra contributions to your SASS account or investing elsewhere through super or other investments, earning an income for longer could go a long way to boosting your retirement savings. Of course, choosing to delay retirement has it’s pros and cons. Putting off retirement plans could mean hitting pause on your dream of a sea change, a more laidback lifestyle or your travel goals.  And working for longer might not be in your best interests if you’re experiencing health issues. 

Your options for your super

If working longer means exceeding your 180 benefit points, the level of SASS contributions made by your employer are likely to be significantly reduced. Your employer-financed benefit will only increase if you receive salary increases that are included in your final average salary at retirement.

Asking your employer to switch to Super Guarantee contributions isn’t an option unless you are over age 65 and ceasing as a contributor.

So what are your options when you reach 180 points?

  • Continue to contribute to SASS – doing this will add to the savings in your personal account and continue to accrue benefits in your SANCS account.
  • Set up another super fund account – from age 65, you can stop contributing to SASS and set up another super fund account for you and your employer to contribute Superannuation Guarantee Contributions to. Setting up another super account can then allow you to boost your savings through salary sacrifice or a transition to retirement strategy. It’s important to bear in mind that the total super contributions you’re making across all your accounts are subject to contribution caps. Before setting up another super account you should also explore whether you have maximised your SASS benefit opportunities by exceeding 180 accrued points and whether any future salary increases are likely to impact your decision.

We’re here to help

With the help of an Aware Super financial planner, you can make sure your spending and saving is on track to help you reach your long-term goals, whatever they may be. Call us on 1800 620 305 to book an obligation-free appointment.


Infographic: What a difference a generation makes

When it comes to life choices and lifestyles, baby boomers and their children are worlds apart. Find out how the vital stats on how baby boomers stack up against the younger generation.

Download now

How to handle tricky conversations with adult children

Open conversations are key to making living with your grown-up kids a success. We cover some of the useful emotional – and practical - conversations you can have with your loved ones while living under the same roof.

Be clear about your expectations

A mismatch in expectations can lead to frustration and resentment. For example, your idea of a tidy house or a reasonable length of time for a guest to stay may vary wildly from the other members of your family. When it comes to house rules, get into the detail. With everyone on the same page, it becomes much easier to stick to the rules.

Give each other space

Depending on your living space you may want to consider keeping certain areas of the house ‘kid free’. This gives you the opportunity to retreat when you need to. If you don’t have the physical space for this, then be sure to make time for yourself to spend alone or doing things separate from your family.

Make time to sort out money matters

Your children may be used to living at home for free. Now they are adults you will need to communicate what you will and won’t pay for. It is also time to discuss if, and how much, you expect them to contribute to household expenses. 

Encourage your offspring to set their own financial goals so that living at home doesn’t become an unhealthy crutch. For example, if your child is saving for a deposit for a house, talk to them about how long they think it will take to reach their goal and how they are going to get there.

Tips to help conversations go smoothly
  • Plan ahead - think carefully about what you want to say and try to anticipate triggers and hot spots that might lead to conflict.
  • Choose your moment and prepare everyone - choose a time and place to bring everyone together and let family members know what you’ll be talking about. 
  • Communicate and listen - be clear about your plans and take time to listen to others’ views. It might help to write down the agreements you make so everyone is on the same page.
  • Relationships matter most - if things are getting tense or heated, you can come back to this reminder.

We’re here to help

With the help of an Aware Super financial planner, you can make sure your spending and saving is on track to help you reach your long-term goals, whatever they may be. Call us on 1800 620 305 to book an obligation-free appointment.


Living and ageing well in the wellbeing era

Research tell us that 83% of Australians are making an effort to prioritise their health and wellbeing. We discuss how to take a holistic approach to living and ageing well.

Taking a holistic approach to living and ageing well

Across all generations, we’re taking our health seriously - research tell us that 83% of Australians are making an effort to prioritise their health and wellbeing.8 One of the upsides to living through a pandemic is the recognition that ‘being healthy’ means more than just our physical wellbeing. It also includes our mental health and emotional and social wellbeing too. 

This is something that the ‘blue zones’ have known for a while. Blue zones are regions around the world where the populations have unusually high numbers of centenarians. Researchers have distilled the habits that may contribute to the long lives of these communities into 9 traits:

  • Regular physical activity that is a part of the lifestyle like walking to the shops rather than using a vehicle.
  • Having something meaningful that motivates you to get up every day.
  • Rhythms and rituals that reduce stress. In Okinawa the women enjoy tea ceremonies, the Loma Linda religious community has prayer groups and in Italy and Greece the siesta fills the stress release gap.
  • A healthy plant-based diet, that's also low in meat, fish and dairy.
  • Not just a healthy diet but eating patterns that favour being 80 per cent full.
  • Blue zone cultures love a drink – but in very moderate amounts.
  • Engaging in social groups that are focused around healthy activities.
  • Religion is good for long life – perhaps because it encourages social connections and rituals offer a stress-reducing dimension.
  • Maintaining close relationships between family members.9

When most of us can expect to live well into our 90s we look at some of the ways you can take a holistic approach to living and ageing well.

Keeping your body and mind healthy with exercise

The benefits of exercise on your physical and mental health are undisputable. While regular movement may keep your body healthy, your brain benefits too. Exercise stimulates chemicals that improve your mood and the parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning. 

Australian government guidelines recommend adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate to intensive physical activity on most or all days of the week for the over 60’s.10 Research shows more than half (55%) of adults do not meet the guidelines and 44% of working-age adults spend much of their work day sitting.11 If you struggle to find the motivation for regular exercise, here are some tips to build more physical activity into your day:

  • Take up a blue zone habit and consider walking to the shops instead of driving
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift or get off the bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way
  • Gardening and housework are a great way to get your heart-rate up while getting some jobs off your to do list
  • Make your exercise social by combining a catch up with a brisk walk, bike ride or swim

Making eating well a pleasure not a chore

A major hurdle to eating well is the time and cost to prepare healthy food.12 If that’s what’s stopping you from eating well, consider setting one day a week aside to do some batch cooking. Sharing healthy meals with friends and turning it into a social occasion might give you some added incentive. And if you’re stuck for healthy food inspiration, food websites, blogs or Instagram feeds can provide ideas on how to eat well eating healthily on a budget.

Challenge your mind to keep your brain sharp

One 15-year study found that people who worked past age 65 were around three times more likely to report being in good health and about half as likely to have serious health problems, such as cancer or heart disease.13 Other studies have also found that working past retirement age can reduce the risk of dementia and heart attack.14

If delaying your hard-earned retirement doesn’t hold much appeal for you, there are other ways to challenge your brain and maintain social connections:

  • Learning can boost your confidence and self-esteem and give you a sense of purpose too.15 Learning doesn’t have to mean formal study either – watching TED talks on YouTube might just tick the box for you.
  • Volunteering punches well above its weight when it comes to good health. As well as increased social wellbeing, volunteering has also been found to lower stress and increase our satisfaction and quality of life.16
  • Rediscovering or starting a hobby that challenges you - whether it’s learning to sew, writing a novel, improving your DIY skills or learning to play golf – is a great way to challenge your brain. There may also be the opportunity to meet new people and strengthen your social network at the same time.

Be pro-active about managing your stress with good money habits

Having a financial plan can make all the difference between peace of mind and feeling stressed about the future. It’s also something achievable to work towards. A good financial plan is focused on your financial goals and desires for the future. It can bring a number of benefits, including lower stress, a greater feeling of financial security and happier relationships. A survey by the Financial Services Council estimates that those who get financial advice accumulate three times more assets after 15 years than those who make their own decisions.17

Having an estate plan is also key to avoiding future stress. With a good estate plan, you can feel assured that everything is legally in place to carry out your wishes and look after the people closest to you. It’s an essential part of planning for the future and it’s never too early to get started.

We’re here to help

With the help of an Aware Super financial planner, you can make sure your spending and saving is on track to help you reach your long-term goals, whatever they may be. Call us on 1800 620 305 to book an obligation-free appointment.

A quick survey

The expectations and plans you have for retirement are different to everyone else. Maybe you don’t yet have a plan. However near or far are from retirement, we’d love to know about your feelings towards retirement and how this stage of life might look for you.


Take the survey