finance

Heard of the 'reverse boomerang'? It's when parents have to move back in with their adult children.

I suppose it’s good that I have confirmed my suspicion that I won’t have enough to retire. I’m 40 and have been working since I was 15 but lost most of my super during the Global Financial Crisis when I had it released to catch up on mortgage payments.

Only to lose our home anyway.

Now I have a small sum left and I’ve been diligently trying to contribute to it ever since. But I’ve left it way too late.

Using the ASIC Money Smart Superannuation Calculator I’ve figured out that I won’t have enough money to retire at all, let alone in style. Unless I work until I am 90. Then I might just be able to cover expenses.

ASIC MoneySmart Superannuation Chart. Image: moneysmart.gov.au

When calculating how much superannuation you'll need to retire you can calculate for a "modest" life or for a "comfortable" life. Leaving my husband out of it for now because he is 12 years older than me and has less super than I do, if I were to only aim to have enough for myself to live modestly at 65, and I only want to live until 85, I'd have to save $475,340.

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I only have a fraction of that and another 25 years of my working life to correct the situation. And in all honesty I'd much rather retire in comfort, necessitating $1,076,550.

Of which I have less than a fraction.

The lesson: It's never too early to pay attention to your super. When you're basking in the sun on a yacht or living in a luxurious retirement village, you'll thank me for it. Meantime I'll be renting a studio apartment, hopefully on the ground level so my arthritic knees don't have to attempt any stairs, eating No Name sardines on crackers to stay alive.

Yum, yum, yum.

I don't want to do the "reverse boomerang" and move back in with my adult children because I can't afford a place of my own. But that could be a reality.

Reverse boomerang, when your parents move back in with you. Article continues after this video.

Financial crises aside, there are lots of reasons why women are worse of when it comes to super than men. There's the time they take off to raise children, less earning potential in general and divorces to factor in. Some women have their super released to pay for IVF and other medical emergencies.

Yannick Ieko from SMSF Loan Experts says most Australians won't have enough super to retire for even three years. He says three things will effect how much money you really need in retirement.

  1. What type of lifestyle you plan to live.
  2. How sick you get.
  3. How long you live (the average Australian now lives well into their 80s).

He says the Age Pension can help  those who find themselves short, but so can taking action to maximise your super now.

Ieko spoke with Margie Baldock, an entrepreneur, property investor, self-made multi-millionaire and author of the book the Mother Lode Manifesto: How to conceive a fortune and give birth to your wildest dreams. Margie is a passionate advocate for empowering women to become wealthier by giving them the tools to take control of their finances. She said the problem is that conventional advice for women when it comes to super is inadequate.

The "reverse boomerang" is when parents move in with their kids because they can't afford to retire. Image: Tammy, Warner Brothers Pictures
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“Women who follow the conventional advice about their super face a high chance of entering retirement with inadequate financial resources because they’ve spent a lifetime in and out of the workforce juggling work with family commitments.”

She says there are a number of ways to maximise your super without too much risk.

  • Diversify your super portfolio;
  • Consider setting up a Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF);
  • Buy property with your SMSF;
  • Work with professionals.

Other tips include:

  • Asking your employer to increase their contribution into your super fund;
  • Making voluntary contributions annually or bi-annually;
  • Sharing your partners super during the years you stop or reduce work to raise your children.

A good first step is to contact your superannuation fund and discuss options for increasing your super. Then start reading up about companies like SMSF Loan Experts to discuss purchasing property with your super.

Passivity won't give you the life you want in retirement and while my existing super says "sardines" I'm still aiming for "yacht".

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