An introduction to Retirement Planning: The 4 L’s

The thought of retirement can leave most people with a remarkable range of emotions. For many, it proposes a terrific milestone of life that frees up time to pursue opportunities for leisure, travel and more time with family. For others, it poses an ominous end of reliable income and stability, leaving anxiety about the unknown both personally and financially. Regardless of how it makes you feel, adding in robust retirement planning is a simple solution to ensure a more successful outcome.

Australians find themselves in a lucky cohort compared to many countries, with one of the most reliable retirement savings mechanisms, superannuation, entrenched in daily life and legislation. For most, it serves as a dutiful savings servant in the back of our busy lives. It often only becomes rightfully critical as our attention moves from the present (working) to the future (retirement).

Thankfully, help is at hand. Much of the financial advice industry is suited to helping everyday Australian’s uncover, confirm and help realise their retirement ambitions and goals and have the tools to incorporate investment predictions, tax implications and government entitlements.

Calculations and forecasts can be a fantastic tool but only have relevance when applied using the inputs that have meaning to you. Considering these inputs, both before and during interactions with an adviser, give the outcome the highest probability of success. Success can take on several forms. Be it confidence and reassurance that your life is on the right track, that you will have enough in retirement or that your loved ones will be taken care of according to your wishes.

The Four L’s to consider in Retirement Planning.

For an adviser to fully understand and execute a meaningful plan for you, it is crucial that you have considered and can respond to the four critical areas of post-work-life below. Suppose you can confidently answer questions that focus on these areas. In that case, chances of you reaching success in the outcomes of financial advice brighten tremendously.

Longevity: Longevity objectives are directly related to the main risk of retirement income: outliving your money. The goal here is to centre on financial independence and knowing that you can pay your basic expenses and not be a burden to others. These include but are not limited to daily living expenses, housing, and healthcare.

Lifestyle: Lifestyle objectives focus on maintaining your desired standard of living and enjoying your retirement with more discretionary spending. Unless you are very wealthy, these goals usually necessitate increasing your spending power. This retirement planning aspect is an interesting one, as there is often a trade off between lifestyle before and after retirement. However, having a plan for retirement means you can choose the trade off between “now” and the “then” that you want, as opposed to having it dictated to you. A big part of lifestyle also includes spending on loved ones without impeding your retirement success. Typical Lifestyle goals include travel and leisure, self-improvement, and social engagement.

Liquidity: Liquidity objectives involve maintaining enough reserves for unexpected contingencies. Maintaining enough liquidity is especially important for dealing with family emergencies, home repairs, and random death or illness. Liquidity can also be a resource to fill in gaps when there is an unpredictable market downturn.

Legacy: Legacy objectives are about leaving assets for subsequent generations or to charities and contributing to impactful activities with your time and talent. Typical goals include philanthropy, political movements, and supporting loved ones.

Let’s get the ball rolling

As a simple exercise to get you started, it’s time to dream. What’s the point of working all those years without some goals to achieve afterwards?

Put the kettle on, book some time with your partner and start a list of key desires and experiences that you would like to achieve post retirement. Think big, it might be a destination holiday, a new car/boat/caravan, upgrades to your home or helping your children out with purchasing their own home. The sky is the limit, and the chances of success are dramatically improved if you put them down on a list now.

Hopefully, in the end, you have a sizable list of goals and objectives that are important to you and if you have one, your partner as well. If you do not have more than 5 items of interest on that list, go back and think harder. If you are stuck, perhaps sleep on it, but make it a goal to have 5 or more items on the list before continuing.

Once you have settled on your present goal list (keeping in mind that this list will potentially change over time), it is now time to prioritise them. This is the hard part, as some items may be enduring (such as ‘take an overseas holiday every year’) and others will be lumpy (‘help with a house deposit for my child’). Try to give the items timeframes and dates as this is a crucial component of projecting and encompassing the financial resources required to make these dreams a reality (and rationalise the likelihood of them happening).

Just because something is at the bottom of the list does not necessarily mean it may not happen, but will help ensure that your higher priority goals are met first, and give you confidence in staying the course of the plan. The idea is you can put this list somewhere important and visible (fridge/pantry door works well) and refer and reflect on it. If you decide to seek professional help, this list serves as the ‘bedrock’ for an adviser to use in the financial planning process.

So what are you waiting for? Make a start on your list and throughout the following few articles, I will dive further into each of the four ‘L’s to consider when planning your retirement and give you some practical scenarios and examples to help you take more control, and raise the prospect of success in your retirement planning.



Tim Fuller is Head of Advice at the Macrobusiness Fund, which is powered by Nucleus Wealth.

The information on this blog contains general information and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Past performance is not an indication of future performance. Tim Fuller is an authorised representative of Nucleus Wealth Management, a Corporate Authorised Representative of Nucleus Advice Pty Ltd – AFSL 515796.

Tim Fuller


  1. boomengineeringMEMBER

    People who look forward to retirment must really hate their jobs . My plan is to work until 120yo then start swimming to NZ.

    • You are Lucky Boom, you’re still healthy & have self direction – Most people die without ever finding their song to sing. That’d have to include a lot of glazed over rubber stamping dippy bird mercenaries who never got or saw an opportunity for themselves.

      • boomengineeringMEMBER

        Thanks Colin on the other hand, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. But until then.
        One of Lang Hancock’s favorite sayings was “the harder I work the luckier I get”.
        Been working 7 days a week lately but will tone the hrs back per day. Yesterday up at 4.00am to cycle then a full day. Incidentally missus fighting as per usual last night ripped the blankets off my bed and I woke up at 2.30am surprisingly not so cold with just a sheet.

        • I’ve been lucky too mate. I really enjoyed Machining till greed & desperation saw it go OS & it just got meaner – should’ve spread more to the Fitting side, or studied Engineering (considering a lot aren’t as good as they think they are). Even though I do OK, I’m not really cut out for the Trading that I do, boredom, uncertainty ‘n all that stuff I never experienced when the metal was flying. All still comes down to good habits, understanding & discipline though.

          Hancock’s right – if it’s in the right direction/field.

          I’m glad I sleep alone – well mostly…. she snores too loudly 😉

    • I don’t hate my job, but I’ve experienced (just off the top of my head) 30 years of high pressure engineering development work, near fatal injuries in a major car crash including a fractured skull and a collapsed lung, two horrendous divorces, raising three little kids to adulthood as a single man, 20 years of low level chronic illness (allergies), three severe knee injuries (after being worn out from military service) and debilitating prostate problems last year that required drugs that were almost worse than the disease. I could add in the stress induced by being financially raped for almost 15 years by my exes and the family court and a host of other shite, but I’ll stop there.

      The short story is that after all that I’m pretty beat up, and I’d like to have a bit of quality time for myself before I find a knee goes completely and I can’t walk or something like that.

      I knew a bloke who retired at age 55 to live la Dolce Vita, and ended up dead from a brain tumour 18 months later. I don’t want to be that guy.

    • I envy you boom. Finding a job that has meaning seems impossible. Onto my second career after three degrees and it’s all just so fucking pointless.

    • They’ve forgotten the 5th L of the wealthy –
      LEAVING lots to the kids and putting in a $ 200k FHB Parent’s deposit .
      This also keeps the kids voting for higher house prices for the next 40 years.

  2. I’m 38, I’m now starting to plan my retirement so I can pursue my hobbies. working is so overrated

  3. innocent bystander

    best investment you can make for your retirement is in your own health.
    and even tho that investment is possible for most people, most people can’t be bothered.

  4. Retirement? You mean over the next 17 years? lol. Ha ha, that makes me laugh.

    Interest rates at -5% to -17%, an Aging Population that’ll never be funded ( we might print money for a while but that wont last )… probably a collapsed Australian Dollar:

    Not to mention a government thats so corrupt and useless with giving any kind of future direction to Australia that the Business Sector has virtually imploded.

    What would you suggest for the Non-Boomers of this Country? A business that wont be around in 5 years? Real Estate the could be invaded by China or a Government thats an Enemy to the People ( they are pretty good at stealing from others to save there own a$$ )?

    Unless your a Boomer who’s Corrupted the entire system, lifes not worth planning until Boomers die. There’s just no stability or future in this Country.

    Superannuation is the biggest scam of all.

    Australia is basically a great big Real Estate Investment Gig and a Pension. You either own a Home or you dont. You either get a Pension or you dont. Everyone else are just mugs. The rest just prop up the system on behalf of the former.

    My tip… is Leave Australia.

    My guess is in a few years, when the excrement hits the fan, smart countrys will open up and start bringing in young labor. They’ll figure all this out and realise its the old ones dragging the country down. Im willing to bet in a few years, your going to have ‘Young Friendly Countrys’ and those will be the ones who succeed… and countrys like Australia will be left for dust.

    All its going to take is one country to smash house prices and offer a reasonable lifestyle that supercedes the garbage Australia pretends to offer and half of Australias Labor Force will be gone tommorrow. Boomers wont know what hit them.

    In a few years, Australia will be nothing more then a few Angry Boomers whining at the wall, trying to figure out why there’s no money anymore and why the Labor Force has vanished overseas.

  5. I think the problem is there are good people trying to do good things in Australia… but the systems so terminally corrupted that its next to impossible to do almost anything.

    The problem with making money in this present environment is you have to be prepared to sell your Soul. Classic case in point, our beloved Martin. The guys making good income off Boomers in Real Estate. So do drug dealers. For some, he’s the hero. For others, he’s a China loving scumbag.

    The difference… is morales. Does money mean so much to us that we are prepared to toss ours aside? 80% of Australians have already told us they dont give a sh*t. Its very rare to find someone in Australia who hasnt sold there soul.

    We will all be selling drugs on some street corner before we know it ;p Its all money, right?

    Those Boomers. They got all that money. What are we gonna do to get ourselves a nice little slice of that ha ha. We all know the true price of that. Just ask Fairfax. They sold out years ago.

    One by One… they all fall to the powers of money.

    We end up becoming the very thing we have always despised lol. Australian Dilemmas.

  6. MathiasMEMBER

    can you please tone down any comments positing that death for given sections of the community is an approprite course of action for anything.

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