#goals for a confident retirement

Retiring changes the way people think about spending their time, but it also calls for a shift in thinking about money. Setting goals can help smooth the transition.

By Angelo Lombardo - 3 min read

Angelo Lombardo

As a Member Solutions Consultant at Russell Investments, Angelo Lombardo understands all the ins and outs of super and retirement legislation, and loves to answer questions and help members.

Building a nest egg in superannuation is a key focus for many people in the years before retirement. Once you reach that milestone, it can take a change of mindset to switch from savings-mode to spending.

It’s easy to feel in control of the savings you make while you’re earning an income. Aside from Superannuation Guarantee payments from your employer, it’s up to you how much you put aside and when.

Looking forward to a lifetime of spending in retirement can come with greater uncertainty. Setting goals can help to clarify your expected expenses and spending patterns, allowing you to take control of your situation so you can feel better prepared for your future.

The best laid plans

Setting goals begins with thinking about what you aim to do and achieve, and what you want or need to spend your money on. Knowing what you’re aiming for, when and how much it might cost, can help you to make financial decisions to support your plans.

Understanding your regular income needs can also help you work out how financially sustainable your lifestyle is, and whether you’ll need to make adjustment over time.

How to set sustainable goals

There are many ways to approach the task of goal setting—be it financial or non-financial.

One method is known as the SMART theory, which became popular after it was introduced in 1981 in a management paper by George T. Doran, a former executive of Washington Water Power Company in the United States. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for the five criteria said to be useful in setting goals you can stick to. This method suggests your goals should be:

Specific giving details of who, what, when, why, and where.
Measurable including targets you can quantify.
Achievable so you don’t pick something so difficult that it makes you want to give up!
Realistic given your circumstances and constraints.
Timely to motivate you with deadlines for achieving your goals.

You may wish to write down your goals to remind yourself of what you’re aiming for. You could also share your goals with family or friends who may be able to help you achieve them—with practical, emotional or even financial support if required.

Another approach to goal setting suggests visualising what you’re aiming for and finding images that represent what you want to do and achieve.

You could try a few techniques and pick the one that feels right for you.

Want to set a goal on how to manage your retirement income? We have a range of advice options and would love to have a chat with you to work out which of these options could help you to reach your goal.

Whichever approach to goal setting you choose, having a clear direction and understanding the timing and cost of expenses, is just as important as knowing how much money you have when you’re planning your future.

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