One of the things I like about Noel Whittaker’s latest book, Retirement Made Simple, is his description of retirement as a journey.  “I think journey is the perfect word,” he says, “because it has the connotations of  a desired destination and all sorts of adventures along the way.”

And that’s right; retirement ought to be a desired destination, something to enjoy.  And getting there certainly takes the planning and preparation that Noel talks about.  There’s a lot of things that can happen to make the adventure more or less successful.

The book is an excellent compendium of what you need to know whether you’re planning to get there or if you’re already there.   I’d recommend it as a guide for those nearing retirement as well as for retirees.  There’s just so much practical information in it.  And Noel makes it as simple as possible using clear, no-nonsense language.

Like any good book about retirement, there’s a special reverence for the Age Pension.  Noel says “ that if you can qualify for as little as one dollar a fortnight of pension, you should go for it. The fringe benefits that accompany that tiny sum will become worthwhile if you become ill.  Current laws are generous, and even if you don’t qualify today it may be possible to put a strategy in place that will start to give you a pension in a year or two.”

One area where Noel and I may have a difference of opinion is on the sustainability of the Age Pension. Noel says “that anyone who thinks they will be getting a generous age pension 20 years from now is kidding themselves.”

I’m much more optimistic.  Opinions might vary on what’s generous, but the government’s recent Retirement Income Review shows that the Age Pension is sustainable into the future — representing only a small portion of our economic output, despite our ageing population.  And woe betide a government which tries to roll it back in a significant way.  They’ll have hell to pay from older voters.  So, I’m optimistic about your Age Pension going forward.  What do you think?