START PLANNING: Erica Jackson, of Infocus, advises a client on retirement.
START PLANNING: Erica Jackson, of Infocus, advises a client on retirement. Madeleine Gromann

ULTIMATE LIFESTYLE: Plan and save early for retirement

YOU better start saving early if you want a comfortable retirement on the Sunshine Coast, living the lifestyle that you always wanted.

That's the advice from Erica Jackson, of Infocus, who has been a financial adviser for 20 years, specialising in advising retirees and those nearing retirement.

Mrs Jackson said her clients were sometimes worried if they could live their chosen life in retirement. But their future was generally determined by their past savings.

The financial adviser encouraged people to start saving early in order to afford their desired lifestyle in retirement.

"Putting money away for retirement is probably the last thing a young person, who has just received their first pay cheque, thinks about," Mrs Jackson said.

However, her experience showed that people who started saving early - even though the amount put aside weekly may be minimal - were in a better position later.

"After retirement, many people won't work again, so what people retire with is what they are going to have for the rest of their life."

Even though the age pension, which was about $24,000 a year per single person, could cover core needs such as housing and living, Mrs Jackson said that amount wouldn't give many lifestyle options. "You need to have your own financial resources in order to have the lifestyle that you desire in your retirement," she said.

Sometimes those resources could come from downsizing from the family home or moving from the city to the Sunshine Coast.

"When people sell their valuable home in the city, they can afford a nice home for often less money on the Sunshine Coast and still have remaining capital," Mrs Jackson said.

Some people planning retirement simply could not afford to retire when they wanted to, as they would consume all of their savings within the next few years and would have to live off their age pension, which would leave little room for "luxury" items such as a new car or holiday.

Still, that doesn't mean someone had missed their chance at a comfortable retirement if starting to save later in their working life, Mrs Jackson said.

She advises her clients to work hard and plan their retirement in advance, as just a few more years could put them in a better position and might give them the retirement of their dreams.