Retirement may seem like a long way off but planning for it requires more than set and forget of KiwiSaver. What type of lifestyle would you like in retirement? And do you really need a million dollars to retire?

Do I really need $1 million to retire?

Pay no attention to headline numbers aimed to shock you into saving! You'll probably need far less than they let on. Think of it this way: for every $100,000 you save, that typically equates to around $100 a week throughout your retirement. And that’s on top of NZ Super. So most of us will not need that much to retire comfortably, but of course it depends on how you'd like your lifestyle to be. Here's where you can check your own retirement numbers easily

How do I know if I have enough money to retire?

Your answer depends on what your lifestyle goal is. Simply put, if you can fund your lifestyle target, you have enough! But what if you are not sure what your goal should be? It helps to have a look at what retirees are spending today in terms of a 'no frills' or 'choices' lifestyle, based on surveys. You may find your retirement number is lower than you think. Here's our helpful starter here

When should I start planning for my retirement?

It's never too early! In fact, the earlier you begin, the less you have to set aside regularly, and the more you can achieve over the decades to come. People tend to underestimate how much they can achieve in the long run. The other thing to do as early as possible: run your retirement numbers to see how you're tracking. The sooner you do, the more time you have to achieve your lifestyle goals. Here's our retirement calculator.

Should I aim to clear my debt (eg, my mortgage or other debts) before I retire?

Ideally, yes. For most of us, retirement means stepping back from paid work and living with more of a fixed (and typically reduced) income, which can make carrying debt all the heavier. And the less we can use our retirement savings for paying back debt, the better. Our debt and mortgage calculators can help you chart the quickest way out of debt before you retire.

I'm in my early 20s. How do I start planning my retirement?

Good on you for asking the question now, just as you are ramping up your earning years. If you work out how many paydays you have left until you retire – there will be hundreds – you only have to set aside a small amount from each in order to set yourself up for a fabulous retirement. KiwiSaver is expressly made for building up your retirement savings, so you want to take advantage – especially since your employer and the government also contribute when you do. Focus on your fund type and your contribution rate, which will make the most difference. Try out our new KiwiSaver calculator to help you plan

Learn more about retirement planning

Still wondering about retirement planning? We’ve put together some resources to help answer your questions.

Still wondering?

If you’d like to discuss your own situation (even anonymously) or need further advice, contact MoneyTalks.

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