Good advice and policy certainty keys to retirement happiness

New research has revealed the importance of good advice and consistent Government policy approaches in ensuring peoples’ happiness with their retirement outcome.

The research, undertaken by State Street Global Advisers compared international retirement structures and concluded that a high ranking such as that enjoyed in the Netherlands did not guarantee satisfaction on the part of retirees.

It said that while the Netherlands consistently ranked as one of the strongest retirement systems in the world it had the second-lowest level of satisfaction in retirement for all countries surveyed, while in the lower-ranking US savers on a defined contribution plan were very confident and optimistic about their prospects and were generally happy in retirement.

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The report found that the key factors driving retirement happiness were a combination of trust in a country’s retirement system stability, a strong feeling of ownership regarding their own outcomes and being well prepared in terms of accumulated retirement assets.

It found that stability and credibility in a country’s retirement system engendered trust whereas change or the expectation of change at the policy level, such as alteration of retirement age, eroded trust.

The report also found that people who accepted responsibility for their retirement and understood the chances that they could make felt more secure, with respondents in the US and Australia who had a long tradition of individual retirement responsibility through defined contributions, were happiest.

It said the challenge faced by many was determining how much is “enough” and understanding whether savings would be sufficient with the study highlighting that few people understand how to convert a relatively large lump sum into a dependable income for life, making the definition of sufficiency elusive.

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Its so true. Most people need help to work out how much they can spend in retirement. Sadly it appears that some people in charge of the direction of our industry think financial advice is only for the top 5% of the population, generally because they are in that top 5%..... I encourage them to actually talk to the other 95%, the Aussie battlers out there doing it tough because they never had compulsory super or were never were good with money....

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