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Retirement planning for small businesses and sole traders

Saving for retirement can be a challenge if you are self-employed or run your own business. This is particularly true if you invest most of your income back into your business. These tips from Sorted can help.

Start planning early

Setting realistic goals and making a plan to work towards them is key. Just like employers contribute to their employee’s retirement, you should contribute to your own future.

“It’s never too early to run some numbers and set some future targets to hit,” says Tom Hartmann, personal finance editor at Sorted. Sorted is tended by the Commission for Financial Capability, tasked with helping New Zealanders get ahead financially.

For many businesses succession planning can play an important role in retirement planning. You may want to pass management or ownership of the business to your children or a trusted business partner. Or you might want to retain some ownership but take a back seat on day-to-day management. Whatever you choose, there’s a lot to consider. Succession planning isn’t a quick or cheap process and when it involves family it can get complicated, so it pays to take advice and plan well ahead. Check out this helpful guide from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. 

What do you envision your retirement life being like?

Projecting your desired income can give you a sense of what you need to be doing now to achieve your goals and fund your future lifestyle.

Factors that affect how much you will need for retirement include:

  • At what age you’d like to slow down or stop working.
  • How many years you might be in retirement.
  • Where you will live — think about whether you’ll own your own home by then, or if you’ll pay rent or a mortgage.
  • What sort of lifestyle you want to have when you retire.

“We all need to ‘guesstimate’ how much we’ll need in retirement above NZ Super,” Hartmann says. “Using the Massey Fin-Ed survey numbers as a starting point is be valuable to see how our own savings are tracking in relation to these lifestyles.”

The Fin-Ed Centre Expenditure Guidelines help New Zealanders understand the cost of living both a modest and comfortable retirement, based on what retirees are spending now. Take a look at it here: Fin-Ed Centre Research

Another thing to consider is how much NZ Super pays -Will it be enough to sustain your lifestyle? Or is there a gap you need to fill? NZ Super currently pays $390 a week for individuals.

Making sure things stay steady

If there’s a gap between your retirement goals and your current financial situation, it’s time to search out sources of money you can pull in to bridge the gap.

It’s more important to focus on setting yourself up with steady income from a number of sources, rather than just saving up a big lump sum.

“These days there’s far too much emphasis on building a nest egg. The question often comes up: how much money do I need to retire? Is it $300,000? $500,000? A million or two? It’s enough to stress anyone out,” says Hartmann. “It’s not about the nest egg you’re building. It’s about the steady income you can achieve in retirement.”

Your retirement income could come from your:

  • NZ Super payments
  • personal savings
  • drawing down on your KiwiSaver
  • ongoing income from your business if you plan to retain shares or a role after you retire
  • other income and investments, eg rental properties, bonds.

The sooner you start securing these sources, the easier it will be to generate the money you need to retire in the way you want.

Take a look at Sorted’s Retirement planner and other useful information to make sure you are smart about planning for your future.

About Eve Willams

Eve Willams
Eve Williams is the Sales, Production and Social Media Administrator for Eldernet. She has been working for Eldernet for a number of years on a casual basis but is very excited to grow in her new full time role within the company. A recent graduate of Canterbury University with a degree in Psychology and History, her interests span far and wide.

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