The 16 Commandments of Wealth for Retirees

Noel Whittaker is probably Australia’s best-known financial adviser and a best-selling author. In 2018, he provided a comprehensive checklist for anyone contemplating or already in retirement. Timeless wisdom.

  1. Ignore the prophets of doom – they are always with us and usually wrong.
  2. Understand compounding and appreciate that the rate of return your portfolio can achieve will be a major factor in how long your money will last.
  3. Understand the basics that never change and take advice on the things that do.
  4. Take advice before the deed is done – not afterwards. It’s hard to rewrite history.
  5. Always judge an investment on its merits – any tax benefits should be regarded as the cream on the cake.
  6. Don’t have all your eggs in the one basket – diversify across the major asset classes and certainly have some international exposure.
  7. Don’t panic when the share market has a bad day – volatility is the price you pay for the unique benefits of shares.
  8. Involve your partner, if you have one, in all your financial decisions. This will make it easier if one of you passes away or becomes incapacitated.
  9. Make sure your children have adequate insurance. It’s much more affordable than your funding their misfortune.
  10. Be extremely wary of going guarantor for any of your children – especially if they are in business.
  11. Make sure your wills are up-to-date and include a testamentary trust if that is appropriate.
  12. Give Enduring Powers of Attorney and an Advance Health Directive to trusted people. And make sure they have copies and can locate the originals when needed.
  13. Investigate if you should have a Binding Death Nomination in your super fund. Keep in mind that what is appropriate in one situation may not be appropriate in another.
  14. One of the most expensive evenings you can go to is a “free” investment seminar.
  15. Don’t follow the herd and back last year’s winner – that’s a recipe for disaster.
  16. Finally – keep in mind that your potential worst enemies can be the media who perpetually focus on the negative, and well-meaning friends or acquaintances who may give you information that may be half right.

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