retirement planning

Three retirement pillars you must get right if you want a successful retirement!

Many people approaching retirement feel overwhelmed. You’ve worked hard all your life to save up for that period in your life when you have more time. More time to do the things you want when you want.

Whether you completely escape the rat race and jump fully into your retirement journey. Or to ease into it because you want to continue working not because you have too!

Your whole working life it’s been about accumulation. Socking money away while maximising your investment returns.

As you approach retirement you enter a period of time which is highly stressful. You’re heading down a path you’ve never been before. It’s totally normal to feel anxious about what the future will hold.

Your thinking must change. It’s about decumulation and risk management. A totally different approach to what you have been used to for the last 30 or 40 years.

Then you’ve got to filter through the myriad of financial options available and work out what’s right for you.

To lose weight, there are three core pillars. Diet, workouts and sleep. That’s it!

However, if one is missing you struggle to lose weight.

Planning your retirement is no different. If any one of these three pillars is missing, you’ll continuously be worried in retirement.

Below you will uncover the three pillars critical for transitioning from “pay cheque” to “play-cheque” successfully.


retirement planning

As a young man carrying around a few anger issues, I turned to martial arts. I trained in Taekwondo. At first it was for fun, but realised quickly, it was about discipline.

Like any martial art, it takes time and dedication to master the sport. You can’t just roll in and become a black belt.

There are levels you need to progress through from white belt all the way to black belt. At each belt colour there are further levels you progress through.

To reach the very top, black belt, can take thousands of hours of training and take many years to achieve.

That is true mastery.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers”, he dedicates a whole chapter to what researchers have come to identify as the 10,000-hour rule. This rule states that for a person to achieve a level of mastery, they must dedicate 10,000 hours of practice to the subject.

Let’s put 10,000 hours into perspective…

Most people only work 2,000 hours a year.

That means achieving mastery in any field of expertise would take people more than five years to be considered an expert.

While you may not think five years is not a lot of time, however, many people are taking on the responsibility of managing their finances with little to no experience.

Sadly, we see too many with little to no experience in this highly specialised field of retirement planning making amateur mistakes.

Below you’ll uncover the three pillars critical to planning your successful retirement based on 20 years of helping people plan safely for retirement.

Pillar #1 Inspiring Retirement Vision

retirement planning

When we sit down with people and discuss their retirement dreams.

The common activities we hear are overseas trips, caravanning, hobbies and more time for leisure activities.

These are all great. But what happens when you’ve ticked off your bucket list…then what? Are you going to be left bored wondering what you’re going to do with your time?

Retirement in the modern age can last 30-40 years or more as life expectancies continue to increase.

Retirement is exciting at first, but what will you do when you get through the honeymoon period of retirement?

It’s important before reaching for your financial statements to consider what your life will look like post retirement. What are you going to do with your time?

A good place to start is here. A worksheet to help you work out what you want to do in retirement. Even better sit down with a weekly schedule and fill out your activities in a normal week, morning, afternoon and evening.

If you have blanks in your week, you’ve got some work to do!

I’d encourage you prior to looking at any of your financial information to dream BIG. You can always walk backwards.


While this sounds like you are going to a doctor. It’s important to understand how you are positioned. Be open and objective.

What’s working and what’s not. Identifying the areas which require refinement or changes.

It’s a 360 degree view of your current position, financial and non-financial.

While many people have a good handle on what they have. It’s the detail that’s missing. The holes in their plans where leaks need to be plugged.

Are your financial decisions in alignment with the life you want to live in retirement?

Retirement Mindset

After 30 or 40 years in accumulation mode, your mindset needs to change to one of decumulation. It’s different from the one you’ve experienced through your working life.

And this is where many get it wrong. Thinking about what got them to retirement will get them through retirement. For many, this ends badly.

Most people won’t be able to return to the workforce if they make a mistake.

And unless you have a bucket load of money, you can’t afford to get this wrong.

The decisions you make between now and retirement will make or break your retirement dreams.

Did you know more people die on the way down from Mt Everest, not on the way up?

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you…

It’s about understanding the decumulation phase of your retirement nest egg. How do you safely withdraw your retirement income?

How do you put in place safety margins to protect your retirement nest egg so it lasts the distance?

Risk management is key in the lead up to your retirement and in the early years of your retirement journey.

ALSO WATCH: Paradigm Shift To Safeguard Your Retirement

Pillar #2 Financial Visibility

retirement planning

Once you’ve identified your inspiring vision for retirement, it’s time to start crunching the numbers.

How much money do you need for the rest of your life? Isn’t that really the question you want an answer to?

Scenario Planning

The most common questions are:

Will we have enough?

Are we on track?

Is our plan viable?

Crunching your numbers is critical in getting your finances right if you want a comfortable retirement.

Once we’ve identified what clients want from a lifestyle perspective, understand their current position and the challenges they’re facing. We use sophisticated software to determine how viable their current plan is.

This step is critical in identifying any holes in your current plans.

Warning: If you are going to do this step yourself, you must understand crap in crap out. You must use prudent assumptions at this step. Don’t be overconfident, particularly with your return and life expectancy assumptions.

Avoid most online calculators. If you have to do this yourself, use an excel spreadsheet.

This step will tell you whether you’re on TRACK to have ENOUGH or not. Once you understand the path you are on, you have the control to make sound financial decisions. Ones which will change your life.

Maybe this step shows you have a little more you need to do. Better knowing it now when you can do something about it rather than regret it later.

Perhaps you’re on TRACK but didn’t know it. How much better would it feel to know this?

Or you have more than ENOUGH.

You can now plan on having more fun in retirement. Retire at 60 rather than 65. Take less risk with your investment than you thought. Help the kids out when they need it most.

Can you see how powerful and inspiring this step is?

Financial Toolbox

Many overcomplicate this step.

Once you’ve figured out what you are planning for. You now have the metrics to determine the strategies, tactics and financial products (if you need them) that fit your unique circumstances.

You can reach into your financial toolbox knowing the exact tools you need for your unique retirement journey.

The amount of risk you need to take with your investments to get the job done.

Using tried and tested investment strategies. Evidence based strategies. Not some hope and pray approach.

The strategies to optimise your retirement nest egg.

Remember these should drive your decisions. But more importantly, support the retirement lifestyle you are dreaming off.

They are the tools to get the job done!

Simple Structures 

I’m sure by now you heard the saying, “KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID”.

Don’t be sucked into the slick marketing tactics of the financial services channels.

You don’t need some complicated financial structure or some wiz bang guru telling you can outperform investment markets.


Come closer…I’m going to tell you a little secret…

…a little closer.

Listen carefully…


Remember what I said earlier…

It’s not about return on investment, it’s now about return on your life! Risk management is your number one priority. It’s a mindset change!

The financial products you use must be simple. Simple enough to meet your individual needs which will allow you to safely provide for your retirement income.

Pillar #3 Agile Strategy

retirement planning

A critical component of any retirement plan is to remain agile. You can’t afford to set and forget your plans.

Things change…life changes…markets change…economies change…legislation changes.

Life is guaranteed to throw you a curve ball every now and again!

You have to be flexible enough to pivot when you need to.

It’s better to be prepared than repairing your finances as you approach retirement.

Leave room for the unexpected!

Momentum Roadmap

You’ve now built up momentum. It’s critical you know the next steps you need to take. That momentum needs to continue.

By now you would have built up a list of action items. Now you need to take action…decisive action.

That’ll require you to know in what order those action items need to be implemented in.

This becomes your roadmap for making your retirement dreams come to life!

This will include every decision and action you need to take and in the future.

An important step. It’s your personal blueprint for success.

People fail at this step by behaving the wrong way. They either fail to implement or behave in the wrong way!

Timely Execution

This can be a step that many get stuck on. Either not knowing how to implement certain strategies or waiting for a better time to implement.

Get stuck at this stage and you are letting opportunities pass you by.

It can be a step which is hard for some.

We all lead busy lives and sometimes life just gets in the way and your finances get put on the backburner.

Don’t let this be your achilles heel!

This is one of the many benefits of working with a financial planner. To hold you accountable to your plan and make sure you implement at the right pace.

Financial Positioning System

Now you’ve done the work to set a solid foundation for your retirement. It’s when your plan hits reality is when the rubber hits the road.

While most people think the path from where they are to where they want to go is a straight line.

It’s not…

You’ll go through a series of ups and downs. It’s how you manage at those critical points which will determine your success.

The success of your retirement will come down to how well you pivot at those critical points.

Like a navigation system in your car. You too will need to continually course correct through your retirement journey.

Continually re-positioning your finances to deliver your retirement lifestyle safely and confidently.

Your retirement plan is not a one and done thing. That’s dangerous thinking.

You’ve got to be continuously thinking what’s the next thing I’ve got to be planning for?

This is where financial planners play a critical role. Identifying the decisions you need to make or prepare for. All the while shielding you from blindsides. What you don’t see coming!

Have you mastered your retirement plan?

If any one of the three pillars we’ve outlined above, inspired retirement vision, financial visibility and agile strategy are missing. It’s a bit like a three legged stool with two legs. It’s rocky and not going to end well.

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you…

If what you’ve read resonates with you and you would like the opportunity to have me learn more about your unique situation. To give you some ideas on how this might apply to you to help you fast-track your progress.

Where we’ll help you:

#1 Get clarity on your retirement lifestyle

#2 Identify the biggest obstacles holding you back

#3 Get clear on your retirement roadmap

Would you be open to conversation?

You can book a call at your convenience by clicking here.

Time’s slipping away…life’s not a rehearsal!

We’re here to help when you are ready!

When you’re ready, book your Retirement Success Session below where we’ll help you create a game plan to go from “pay cheque” to “play cheque” with ease.

Book a Retirement Success Session today!

Glenn Doherty – CFP – Retirement Planning Specialist | Retirement Planning Made Simple for Over 55’s powered by Life-Centred Financial Planning

We work with people in Adelaide and around Australia via virtual meetings!

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Advice Disclaimer: Any reference in this publication to the provision of advice refers to advice of a generic nature, and should not be taken as product or investment recommendations. Before any action is taken based on the information provided, independent financial advice from a licensed financial adviser should be sought. Financial Freedom Project Pty Ltd ATF GA & DC Doherty Family Trust Trading as Jigsaw Private Wealth is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Exelsuper Advice Pty Ltd. The information contained in this publication is of a factual nature only and is not intended to constitute financial product advice. Information is current as at date of publication. This is an online information blog. It does not imply an offering of securities.

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