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Take control now to make the most out of your super

You know that super and planning for retirement is important. But you also think, ‘what’s the rush? Retirement is still 10, 20, 30 years away. There’s still plenty of time to make plans. I’ll get to it next week or even next year. It won’t make a difference, right?’

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5 minute read

Well, not really. In fact, it’s never too early to start thinking about ways to grow your super. Taking control now and getting the most from your super might make a huge difference to your retirement outcome.

Our future-self

A big part of why we don’t make choices to help our future-self is the way our brains are literally wired. We tell ourselves, ‘That’s future-me’s problem.’ Psychologists call this ‘temporal discounting.’

The question you need to ask yourself is: if I’m not thinking about the best interests of my future-self right now, what makes me think I’m going to do better tomorrow, or five years from now?

Stanford University researcher, Hal Hershfield, talks about how we see our future-self as a whole other person. He says that how we feel about this ‘other self’ influences our financial decisions and future planning! If your future-self feels like a stranger, you end up making choices that benefit you today, but disadvantage your future-self.

Four ways to safeguard your future-self

Use these techniques to take care of future-you by getting in control and making the most of your super.

1. Get to know your future self

Participants in a 2011 study used virtual reality to interact with digital versions of their future selves. People who interacted with aged versions of themselves were more likely to put money towards their savings instead of spending it immediately. In other words, they stopped treating their future-self like a stranger.

A follow up study in 2015 found that participants who interacted with a digital version of their future-self also scored better on a financial literary test. This tells us that when we connect with our future-self, we’re not only more motivated to save, we’re also more motivated to learn how to save!

Try this visualisation exercise to see if it helps with decision making in the best interests of your future-self.

Visualisation exercise:

You’re 75 years old and you’ve been retired for a few years now. Your joints are a little achy, your hair is grey, - but your mind is as sharp now as you were at 25.

Imagine having a conversation with your 75 year old self. Are you ok? Are you financially secure, or at least comfortable? Do you have time to spend with your family and friends, or do you need to work part-time to support yourself? Have you taken care of your health?

Do you think your older self will be grateful to you, or have regrets?

2. Bring your dreams to life through manifestation

Travel, hobbies, sea change? Just more time living and less working? You probably have some idea of when you’d like to stop working and what you’d like to do when it happens. If you don’t have a picture of what the future looks like it’s hard to work towards it.

Use these techniques to help you manifest your goals into reality:

  • Write a list of ideas about how you want to live and what you want to achieve.
  • Create a mood board to reflect your imagined lifestyle.
  • Write a short story or a letter to your future-self.
  • Visualise the life you want to want to manifest. You might want to draw a picture or a diagram of the details.

Revisit your ideas and plans regularly to keep focussed on future-you.

3. Tools to feel on top

Make it real! Get an idea of your retirement outcome with our easy online retirement planner and calculator. Find out how long your super could last in retirement, and plan for how much super you might need. And if you’re not on track, we’ll help you with strategies to grow your super balance.

4. Access financial advice about your Super Savings account

Feeling on top of your future starts with being on top of your super. 77% of people say they feel better prepared for retirement after receiving financial advice*. As an Australian Retirement Trust member, you can speak to a qualified financial adviser about your Super Savings account, and the cost is included with your membership.

So what are you waiting for? Invest in yourself and invest in your future. Talk to your financial adviser or get some advice through Australian Retirement Trust. Depending on your advice needs, we can answer most of your questions over the phone. To get the conversation started, just fill in your details and we’ll be in touch.

* Sunsuper Value of Advice Report 2019

The information contained on this website is general information only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial circumstances or needs. You should consider your own objectives, financial circumstances and needs, before making a decision about the financial product. You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement before deciding whether to acquire, or continue to hold the product. For more information or financial advice from Australian Retirement Trust, call us on 13 11 84.

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