6 steps to retirement planning for business owners

Date: 4th July 2017

Saving for retirement can be a challenge if you’re self-employed or run your own business. This is particularly true if you invest most of your income back into your business. Sorted.org is tasked with helping New Zealanders get ahead financially so they’re well placed to give advice on retirement planning. Here’s their 6 step plan.

1. Start planning now

Set realistic goals and make a plan to work towards them. 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.

For many businesses succession planning can play an important role in retirement.

2. Set your lifestyle target

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 Research Expenditure Guidelines help New Zealanders understand the cost of living both a modest and comfortable retirement, based on what retirees are spending now.

3. Think about NZ Super

Will NZ Super payments be enough to sustain your lifestyle? Or is there a gap you need to fill? NZ Super currently pays $390 a week for individuals.

4. Understand your current situation

After estimating how much you will need, look at your current situation and settings and gauge whether you are on track to reach your goal.

“Using Sorted’s retirement planner sooner rather than later gives us a sense of what savings and investment we’ll need to retire the way we want,” Hartmann says.

Check it out here: Sorted retirement planner

5. Focus on a steady income

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.

6. Opt in to KiwiSaver

If you contribute at least $20 a week, you get a government top-up of $521 a year.

More about KiwiSaver if you’re self-employed

Talk to us!

If you need help planning for your retirement, please get in touch.

More information from Sorted.org

Retirement planner tool

Retirement planning

Current NZ Super rates



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