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Transitioning Into Retirement [A Financial Planner’s Guide]

Transitioning Into Retirement [A Financial Planner’s Guide]

Retirement is something we should plan for both financially and logistically, after all we want to be able to have the best retirement possible. If you’re nearing retirement age but don’t want to stop work entirely, there are many options available. One of those options to discuss with your financial planner might be to transition into retirement. People over 60 have the option to continue working in their positions on Transition to Retirement (TTR) pension. Transition to Retirement (TTR) pensions are tax-free and TTR strategies can provide a number of benefits.

What is a TTR pension? 

A Transition to Retirement pension gives people the option to add to their income using their super once they have reached an appropriate age. This allows people to continue working on reduced hours or salary sacrifice to boost their retirement fund. 

Let’s look at some options available to a 62-year-old accountant, Brian. He works full time and is on an annual salary of $100,000.

Option 1. Consider easing into retirement

First up, Brian might consider reducing his hours as he prepares for retirement. Dropping from five to three days a week will see his $100,000 annual salary reduce by $40,000 to $60,000. But as his tax bill also falls, from $26,632 to $12,147, his net income only drops by $25,515.

Subject to minimum and maximum pension payment rules, and because the pension payments are exempt from tax, Brian only needs to start a TTR pension paying $25,515 each year to maintain his current lifestyle.

One thing to be aware of

Based on Brian’s reduced hours his employer’s super contributions will decrease by $3,230 after contributions tax of 15% is taken into account. Most simply, Brian could add this amount to his pension payments, and make a non-concessional contribution to his super.

Option 2. Making up lost income

TTR pensions can also help bridge the gap if household income takes a hit. What if Brian has no plans to reduce his hours, but illness prevents his partner from working for several months? He could start a TTR to tide them over and help meet mortgage repayments or medical expenses.

However, once the crisis has passed the TTR pension will need to continue, as it can’t be withdrawn as a lump sum. Alternatively, it can either be converted to a regular account-based pension when Brian either turns 65 or permanently retires or rolled back into the accumulation phase.

Option 3. Boosting super savings by reducing tax

With his partner restored to health and back at work, and Brian still working full time, what can he do with the now surplus income from the TTR pension? One financial strategy is to make salary sacrifice contributions to super.

Brian is able to salary sacrifice up to $15,500 of his pre-tax income to superannuation (the difference between the concessional cap of $25,000 less compulsory employer contributions of $9,500). Taken as salary, $5,932 of that $15,500 would go in tax. Make a concessional contribution to super and the tax could be reduced to just $2,325, a difference of $3,607!

If there’s still money to spare after the salary sacrifice contribution is made Brian can look at making non-concessional contributions to superannuation where earnings will only be taxed at 15%, significantly less than his marginal tax rate.

Getting your retirement plan right

If you’re approaching retirement, it might be worth checking out what a TTR strategy may be able to achieve for you. It’s a complex area, so make sure you talk to your licensed financial planner before you act. Master Your Money Now are accredited financial planners who can help you create the right financial plan for your retirement. We help everyday people create tailored solutions to their finances and we’re based in Geelong. Get in touch with our team today by booking a strategy session NOW.

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Information published on this website has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in this document is General Advice and does not take into account any person's particular investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs. Before making an investment decision based on this advice you should consider, with or without the assistance of a qualified adviser, whether it is appropriate to your particular investment needs, objectives and financial circumstances. Past performance of financial products is no assurance of future performance.