Planning for the golden years

by Anonymous Author

Retirement should be a time of choice, when we’ll finally have the time and freedom to do all those things on the bucket list. But life after we stop working can also mean having to live on less income than before.

Government help is available — including New Zealand Super and there are other choices that we can make to have our money flowing when we step back from work.

Going into retirement doesn’t mean we stop earning income. From the age of 65 most New Zealand residents receive NZ Super every fortnight and income can also come from savings, paid work or business activity.

Depending on our personal situation we might qualify for extra help from the government for health, medical and housing costs.

We may also qualify for other assistance — for example, if we face an emergency situation, or if we need help with essential costs.

Contact the local Senior Services centre, usually located at Work and Income or visit the Ministry of Social Development website There are also ways to actually save money in retirement. The SuperGold Card is a discounts and concessions card available free to all New Zealanders who are aged 65 years or over and using it regularly can help save money on day-to-day expenses.

Contact the SuperGold Card Centre on 0800 25 45 65.

A Community Services Card can help with the cost of healthcare. If we qualify, we’ll pay less on some health services and prescriptions.

Later in retirement, we may have to rethink where we want to live. One option is to move to a retirement village; of course there are other choices.

We could choose to stay home, downsize to a smaller home that’s closer to facilities. Moving into a retirement village is different. The financial arrangements are more complex and villages vary in their accommodation and facilities, services, support and care, legal and financial structures, philosophy and management. A decision to move into a village is important as it has long-term personal and financial consequences.

Thinking about residential care? The first stage is to have a needs assessment that will indicate whether we may be eligible for a Residential Care Subsidy. 

If we qualify, the subsidy and most of our NZ Super will be used to pay for care, leaving just a small amount of personal money to spend.

For more information on retirement options contact Senior Services on 0800 552 002.