Ask Paul: Help, I'm a lazy investor, my savings are lazy too


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Q. I'm 31, live in Melbourne and earn $144,000 (package). I've always been good at saving and good at spending it on travel.

The media have done a great job of making me paranoid about women and retirement and my savings account interest is rubbish.

So over the past six months I've spread some of my money out and now it looks like this: $1200 in Raiz Invest (formerly Acorns Grow Australia), $1500 in RateSetter loans, $3500 in BrickX (six properties), $8000 in Clover (exchange traded fund), $71,000 in super and $55,000 in savings.

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I've paid off my HECS and my car, I have a credit card I rarely use and I salary sacrifice $1200 a month into my super fund.

I'm a buy-and-hold investor (read lazy). I really don't know what to do with my savings, which are currently lazier than me. Where should I put my money to retire well? - Katherine

A. Super is your best friend, Katherine.

You pay a fair bit of tax, in particular on the top part of your income, and I really would like to see you top up your super as much as possible. You will only pay 15% tax on money you add to your super and you can add up to $25,000 pre-tax.

Continuing to invest in things such as ETFs is a good plan.

I can't get upset about you saving and travelling. You are young and I think travel is an experience you should not miss.

You have already built assets of around $140,000, and while I am really pleased that at 31 you are concerned about retirement you are already doing pretty well.

Some I know around your age are also travelling but on the credit card!

With your well-paid job and good existing savings, providing you keep on adding part of your earnings to your super and investments, I would not be overly paranoid.

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Paul Clitheroe AM is founder and editorial adviser of Money magazine. He is one of Australia's leading financial voices, responsible for bringing financial insight to Australians through personal finance books, the Money TV show, and this publication, which he established in 1999. Paul is the chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and is chairman of InvestSMART Financial Services. He is the chair of Financial Literacy at Macquarie University where he is also a Professor with the School of Business and Economics. Click here to ask Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section. Please view our disclaimer here.