On the Web Time to Retire?

Who can afford to retire these days? No use looking to universal superannuation schemes. Governments everywhere in the western world are caught between past retirement welfare promises and rapidly ageing populations and ever larger superannuation bills.
Government pay cheques in future won’t deliver much beyond contribution toward the rent, phone and grocery bills. And they won’t start arriving till later in life.
Let’s face it, you’ll have to fund your own retirement pretty much, so here are some sites that provide investment advice, tools to assess your likely needs and some tips on how to make the retirement adjustment.

www.sorted.org.nz few years back the New Zealand Retirement Commission launched an advertising campaign to get more Kiwis thinking about their future retirement.
The campaign produced the Sorted website, reasonable, albeit elementary, retirement planning site. It has an excellent layout and design and provides basic information on subjects such as managing debt, investing and retirement.
Understandably, the retirement section makes compelling case for the need to save now to buy later. There is “quick retirement calculator” which enables you to see just how much you should be putting aside today to retire in the style you desire tomorrow (there is more comprehensive version of the quick calculator).
In the resources section there’s an investor’s “jargon buster”, look at the “law and your money”, retirement research, library, links to other related websites and other generally useful information. An excellent first stop.

www.consumer.org.nz The Consumers’ Institute of New Zealand website is another good place to kick off search into retirement investment opportunities and services. It’s especially helpful with information about some services you should steer clear of. There’s also commissioned research and findings on retirement trends and realities. For any real detail however you will have to pay the annual subscription fee which, at the time of writing, was only $32.75 (usually twice this) for limited period.
In the “kids and family” section of the site there is retirement savings calculator, advice about relative benefits of long-term savings, trusts, annuities, company super schemes and so on.

www.getinform.co.nz This is an impressive little website catering largely for people in their 20s and 30s who want to get their financial matters “in form”. The design is clear and simple, all the information provided is free, it doesn’t try and sell you anything (at least not overtly) and the information provided is simple to read and concise. There are articles about money, book reviews, retirement calculators, saving tips and debt management advice. If you’re living in the Wellington area you can even sign up for free hour-long investment appointment. Great site, done simply and done well.

www.ageconcern.org.nz This not-for-profit charitable organisation is dedicated to “promoting the quality of life and well-being of older people”. The site breaks down into number of sections including positive ageing, advocacy on issues and an information centre which provides media releases, resources and publications, reports and presentations and fact sheets.
The fact sheets cover range of subjects and everything from banking to living wills to housing. Age Concern also sells “ageing is living” workbooks, training and education resource used in group workshops, which look at how to instigate positive ageing. For those who may be little concerned about what the retirement years may bring, this site could be useful.

www.tlpinstitute.com There are probably local operations providing coaching services for retirees. I just couldn’t immediately find any. The Life Planning Institute operates from Maui Island in Hawaii and it provides online coaching programmes for improving your lifestyle. bit Americanised in its presentation, the Institute seems to provide good service. And while the focus isn’t solely on retirement, it offers retirement consultation and planning as part of its core business. It offers “to inspire you into designing life plan so you can live the life of your wildest dreams!” Sounds promising.
The site provides good information on the aspects of your life to look at to achieve the goal and the list seems to include everything. And even if trip to workshop in Hawaii isn’t on the cards then you can always utilise the online coaching programme which is available for US$89.95.

It’s worth noting here that most, if not all, of the major banks and financial institutions provide retirement calculators and some level of retirement planning and advice on their websites. Get ready.

Damon Birchfield is an Auckland-based freelance writer.
Email: [email protected]

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