INVESTING

Half of Aussies don't bother co-ordinating retirement plans with partner

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Aussies are flying solo when it comes to their retirement finances, new research by the investment manager Franklin Templeton shows.

While almost half of Australian retirees believe financial advisers are important, only 24% of them actually have one. This compares with 57% of retirees in Canada and 47% in the US.

More worryingly, 46% of retirees leave out their spouse during the retirement planning phase. Again, this is lower than in both Canada and the US.

And it's not as if the freewheeling approach has been offset by higher levels of personal involvement. Only around half of Australian retirees check their retirement savings once a month or more, while one in three don't have a spending strategy.

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"Given ongoing market volatility and protracted low interest rates, it would be unwise for retirees to adopt a set-and-forget approach to their savings and investments, and this is often where those working without professional advice become unstuck," says Manuel Damianakis, head of retail for Franklin Templeton in Australia.

"As an industry and as a society, we need to navigate a better path where all retirees can access professional advice and still feel they have sufficient self-management and control."

The findings come as no surprise to Jonathan Dorse, project officer at the Salvation Army's Moneycare financial counselling services.

"The survey data confirms something we see every day in the people who access our services - that having conversations with our partners and family members is tough," he says.

"People often have the best of intentions in wanting to protect their partners or avoid conflict.

"[But] we know that the benefits of having these conversations far outweighs the cost. We encourage older Australians to take just one step towards planning for their financial future. That first step could be setting aside time to speak to your partner or trusted friend."

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David Thornton is a journalist at Money magazine. He previously worked at Your Money, covering market news as producer of Trading Day Live. Before that, he covered business and finance news at The Constant Investor. David holds a Masters of International Relations from the University of Melbourne.
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