Time of life milestones - Retirement ahead

Phil Cammarano, a Senior Partner, who recently turned 60, shares his personal considerations and approaches to retirement planning…

Well, I’ve made it to the big six zero (60 or 30 x 2 as I prefer to think of it). I’m currently in good health, enjoy seeing clients and the company of my work colleagues but retirement is on my mind and three of the biggest decisions of my life are now in front of me.

1. When will I retire?

2. What will I do when I retire?

3. Have I got enough to retire on?

1. When will I retire?

This question is probably the hardest, it will probably be made when I wake up one morning and say to myself, I’ve had enough ( or win the lotto first!). I’ve been an accountant for a long time. I love my job and I love my clients. I am fortunate enough to work with my son Dylan and with a great team here in Port Augusta. But being the most senior Partner (in age of course and senior sounds better than oldest!), I’ve been asked by the other Partners in the business when was I thinking of taking the step into retirement. Some might be confronted by this type of question but I wasn’t offended at all. Business Succession Planning is a key aspect of the advice we provide at Rowe Partners. We like to practice what we preach. We play a significant role in the lives of many people, helping them to plan and transition their businesses for new management or sale as well as their personal financial affairs. It’s incredibly important to plan and put measures in place to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of service to business customers. In my view, it’s also important as a matter of respect for my colleagues and our staff, particularly in the Port Augusta office to provide adequate advance notice.

When I’ve decided on a retirement date, I’ll give the business 1 to 2 years notice. It will give me plenty of time to prepare client files for handover with a smooth transition to my trusted co-workers and of course time to say goodbye to my wonderful client base, many of whom I’ve worked with for over 20 years! Fortunately, Port Augusta is a tight-knit community and retirement will give me more time to see people out and about in Port and at the Footy Club.

2. What will I do when I retire?

What to do when I retire surprisingly is the easiest question for me to answer. I want to do some more travel and some volunteer work but generally, I just want to relax and not have the day to day work-related pressures. I’m not planning to work part-time.

3. Do I have enough to retire on? Have I got enough money to retire on and how much can I live off it is the biggest and most complex question I’ve had to consider. The answer to this question is unique to individuals and understanding those individual circumstances and aspirations are critical to good planning. One of the good recent decisions we made as a business was to establish Rowe Partners Financial Planning to help in situations such as mine.

Having seen how our Senior Financial Planner, Blake Halligan, has been able to assist some of my clients to plan for and make the move into retirement I intend to sit down with him. If you’re like me and are not sure if you’ll have enough in retirement, you need to think carefully about the lifestyle you’re hoping to achieve. What do you want to do in retirement? I considered travel, wanting to make sure I enter retirement debt-free, have spare funds for my hobbies like making sure I could get to the big AFL games, doing things around the house, have a bit extra to spoil my kids and leave them something in my will (after all they’ll be choosing which nursing home I go to so I had better be nice!). You’ll have different hopes and dreams. It’s important that your plan reflects your own aspirations and is developed after a full and comprehensive assessment of your own circumstances.

Luckily, I’ve invested wisely into my super in middle age and was able to make extra contributions once the kids were off my hands (not that they are really off our hands). On reflection, I probably should have made contributions at a younger age when I had no financial commitments. Being of Italian heritage my parents didn’t charge board. I wasn’t going to argue with that! I was determined to enjoy life to the full. I didn’t leave home until I was in my early 30’s I didn’t realise how lucky I was at the time. I had disposable income but I didn’t think I needed to consider saving then. I wish I had put extra funds away when I was in my 20's and 30's and got some good financial advice early on. As my expertise is in tax, I’ve asked Blake to provide some tips for those worried about their retirement.

From Blake Halligan, Senior Financial Planner, Rowe Partners Financial Planning

As Phil suggests it’s important to start now. With investments, time in the market is one of the critical success factors. We should never be too busy to plan for important stages of our lives. Having a plan helps give you set goals, priorities and gives you direction. Even though the Government keeps moving the goalposts for retirement age, pension access criteria are tightening and there’s quite a bit of volatility in our financial markets, with a good, robust financial plan and appropriate insurances in place you’ll know you’re adequately prepared. What you accumulate for retirement will dictate your ability to live the life you have dreamed of.

Why not rely on the pension? One saving grace in this wonderful country of ours is that we have decent social security that will pay you a pension (or part pension) if you meet the certain tests off course! It’s a good safety net and most Australians will have access to quality health care and housing etc. but pensions only cover the basics. It won’t give us the little luxuries of life that we should all be able to look forward to after a lifetime of hard work in our jobs or businesses, service to our communities and/or raising our families.

Remember it’s never too late to plan for retirement!

Don’t feel bad if you’re off to a late start with planning for your retirement. I’m an accountant and I didn’t prepare perfectly. I should have started my retirement planning earlier but as mentioned, I prioritised other things and always seemed to be too busy!! I’m lucky to have made some good financial investment decisions along the way.

I've still got a bit of time to go yet before I hang up my boots so for now, I’ll keep working hard and looking after my clients to the best of my ability and put a little bit of extra money away.

Now it's back to completing these tax returns!


We have only provided general information about the benefits associated with planning for retirement. It is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to be, nor should it be read as specific personal investment or risk advice. It provides an overview only and should not be used as the sole resource to design your retirement plan.

Some of these ideas may not suit your own circumstances. Before acting on any of the information contained in this guide you should obtain personal advice from a specialist investment professional and seek specialised taxation advice. Both can provide you with appropriate advice tailored to your specific investment needs, objectives and financial situation.