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Retirement – are the goal posts moving?

| by Chris Giaouris, CFP®


I forever count my blessings in the role I do, as I can’t help but feel lucky getting exposure to so many different people in vastly different situations, on a daily basis. One of the most satisfying aspects of the financial planng profession is getting to know people who I otherwise would never have had the pleasure of meeting. And as such, through others I get to experience things that I otherwise never would have been able to (in my own little way – I call it ‘vicarious experiences’).

Apart from the obvious things such as travel, I also get to hear what others are doing with their lives – their goals and longer term objectives. Recently, I’ve met a few people who have been talking to me about wanting to retire early. Stop the presses! Well, not really, this in itself is not an unusual thing as I dare say many of us out there would retire tomorrow if we could afford to do so. For me though, there has been a common theme around people being committed to reduce their reliance on ‘work’ by the time they reach their mid-40’s.

This concept intrigues me, not because it’s a foreign one, but because to achieve this is not easy and I find that those who have given it thought generally have neglected to consider some key issues. Some of the things I have been discussing with individuals/couples in this position are as follows:

  • What is ‘retirement’ for you and what does it look like?
  • Do you want to stop work ‘cold turkey’ on your (say) 45th birthday?
  • How much are you spending today to sustain the lifestyle you have currently?
  • Is your current lifestyle reflective of the one that you actually want?
  • Come retirement, how much do you think you need to sustain your ideal lifestyle at least until your life expectancy?
  • Once you stop earning an income, where is your cash-flow going to come from?

This list is by no means exhaustive but what has been somewhat surprising to me is that many have neglected to consider at least half of the issues above, or if they have, in nowhere near enough detail. In essence, I feel that this goal is something they are very passionate about but if I’m being honest, it’s hard to achieve and what makes it more difficult is there are so many different paths of getting there (and some may not actually get you there at all in the end).

For many, property seems to be the obvious choice when it comes to achieving an early retirement. Historically, it has certainly worked for a number of investors and I can’t help but feel those European migrants who purchased homes in suburbs like Richmond and Doncaster (to name a couple in Melbourne where I live) may fall into this bucket. But how sustainable is this level of growth and strategy moving forward? And what is the opportunity cost of putting all your eggs into the property basket versus perhaps a more diversified strategy?

I’m not here to answer the question today about property, nor am I here to give you a secret formula that will get you to an early retirement. What I am here for though is to help you make smart decisions with your money and give you the tools to put some science behind the decisions you make. Everybody is in different situations and everybody has the opportunity to go down different paths, but don’t feel like you need to do this alone. My job is so satisfying for me because I get to help people on this journey and I believe it’s even more satisfying for my clients who allow me to help them get there.

Chris Giaouris, CFP®
Shadforth Financial Group

Chris Giaouris, CFP®

Chronos Private Wealth
Fitzpatricks Financial, Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) 247429.

“I believe financial planning is not solely about investments or strategies, but more importantly, it is about helping people make smart choices with their money so they can focus on things more important than money.”

I have been providing wealth management and holistic financial advice to like-minded clients since 2008. This was initially with a boutique firm called Heraud Harrison who were one of the founding firms that later merged to create the Shadforth Financial Group (SFG). I was fortunate enough to create a number of fantastic relationships with clients and colleagues alike, many of those still being in my life today. But in 2016 I decided to leave SFG to build my own boutique practise which would be (and still is) focussed on a client centric and evidence-based approach.

I co-founded Chronos as I wanted to create a fun and vibrant environment for our staff and clients alike. Sadly, for many Australians, planning for their future is something that either finds its way into the “too hard basket” or gets neglected as everybody is so time poor. My goal is to help clients find their ideal lives, whatever that may look like, whilst at the same time simplifying those things that the world loves to overcomplicate for us. Clearly that involves providing clients with advice but not to be forgotten is also providing clients with education – this is equally important in my view.

I hold a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University, am a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and member of the Financial Planning Association of Australia. CFP® is an internationally recognised mark and is currently the pre-eminent representation of professional Financial Advisors around the world. I am also a proud member and accredited advisor with the ‘RIAA’ or ‘Responsible Investment Association of Australasia’.

As we all know though, life isn’t just about money! I’m a passionate fan of most sports and love to live an active lifestyle, be that in the gym, on the golf course or futsal pitch. I’m also lucky enough to hear so many amazing travel stories from my clients so as you’d expect the travel bug is regularly spreading through my household. I’m always looking to plan that next adventure!


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