The most important conversation I’ve had all year

The most important conversation I’ve had all year

Vanessa Stoykov

As a storyteller and a journalist, every once in a while, you get the privilege of being part of a conversation so powerful that it stays with you always.

I enjoy most interviews I do. Being in finance means the ideas exchanged between incredibly intelligent people is always intellectually stimulating. But sometimes conversations become bigger than those in the room. You start to realise that the idea you’re exploring has major implications for yourself, and most people you know.

One recent conversation like this was the one BT Financial Group (BTFG) initiated on the topic of retirement planning. It’s an important one and they worked with us on it because they understand that for their advisers to truly make their practices future-ready, these big picture trends need to be discussed, explored and solved. BTFG has been a fantastic advocate of education, and I thank them for allowing us to share this important conversation with our wider audience. They are a valued partner and continue to challenge us to innovate our education approach for their adviser networks.

In their recent retirement planning discussion, all of the panelists had something important to say. Martin Fahy, chief executive of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), had a fascinating perspective on the family home. In his view, this is the single biggest lever people can pull to ensure their financial futures are secured into the next decade. Planning around the sale of the family home it is a critical component, but he noted that most people only considered selling once they became too old to maintain it and were considering entering care. Much of the time the decision to sell is made while in a highly emotional state, and often without much time.

Financial planning around home sales, property values, aged care plans, estate planning and inheritance issues are a critical component of retirement success, according to Martin.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle was almost scary in his use of data and statistics to paint a picture of where Australia was headed. And the picture he was painting was in my lifetime.

If I stop to consider what he was telling me, that in 30 years only 2.8 people would be working and paying tax to support every retiree, then I start to worry about what life would be like for my kids. My three boys would be working hard to support a nation of old people. What would be left to build for their kids?

Bryan Ashenden, head of financial literacy & advocacy at BTFG was a crucial voice in the conversation, as he practically applied the data and future trends to what advisers need to do now to prepare. As a major Australian licensee group, it’s critical that the education and support advisers receive is in line with the task ahead, and Bryan passionately advocated for this.

If you don’t normally watch video at work (or you do, and it’s actually Game of Thrones) I urge you to take a few minutes to listen to this important conversation.

I would also love your views on what you think needs to be done to get Australians ready, so please share your comments below to join the conversation.

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