The future looks bleak for almost 50 percent of Australians looking to retire in the next five years.

Financial institution HSBC has just released a report ‘Future Of Retirement’. In this they have found 15 percent of the population will not be able to afford to retire and will have to keep working.

These numbers are in line with other similar studies which is a frightening prospect for many.

Not dissimilar to most western countries, it said that 71 percent of those wishing to retire in the next five years had not saved enough money. In fact, 28 percent still had a lot of debt.

More than one in five had dependents who were reliant on their income. That in itself is a worrying statistic!

“Many dream of an early retirement. But the reality is that concerns about money prevent them from achieving their goal” said head of HSBC head of retail banking. Market volatility created concerns for more than one-third of people. They’re fearful their financial situation could worsen and increase pressure around their money.

Knowing what the report had just identified, this comes from the same head of retail banking.  “With the vast majority of superannuation funds linked to the stock market, the current volatility only increases the need for sound retirement planning.” But it was this comment that irked me. “Even small amounts saved now could make a difference in the future” he said.

This reminds me of a sales manager who once said, “You need to get every last dollar from your client’s pocket, because if you don’t, the banks will.”

That comment keeps coming back to haunt me. I hear it whenever I read someone who is thinking more about profits rather than going to the clients and saying, let us give you totally unbiased advice.

They should be doing a proper financial plan and telling clients to eliminate debt well before they even consider contributing money they can ill afford. When you have debt, it’s not always helpful to put money away into a locked account like a retirement fund.

All the financial institutions care about is their profits and bonuses. Instead, they should be showing care for the clients. It’s just the normal diatribe rolling off the tongue about contributing early and at any amount as compound interest is – according to Albert Einstein – the eighth wonder of the world.

Although that may well be the case, it works just the same for debts. Debts also compound with interest payable. So when will the government crack down on the advice given in this manner which sees consumers reaching a stage in life when it is too late to turn back the clock to achieve financial independence, and become an eventual burden on the taxpayer.

A client’s best interests should focus on being just that, rather than institutions best interests. Look at the profit billions each quarter and half yearly result generate. They are rubbing their hands with glee and all at the expense of the consumers!

The majority of people struggle to save a retirement lump sum of between $50,000 to $115,000.

Then they retire with a mortgage or other debt. At Money Rules we show why more can be achieved by just paying off debt far sooner. It’s better to pay off debt rather than struggle to contribute to retirement at the same time.

The results are outstanding and totally in favor of paying off debt first. A client will quickly see how to live a life of debt freedom and create wealth just on their current income.  Once free from encumbrance, the disposable income is available to invest in retirement funding. THAT’S when financial planning should step in for the longer term.

As an adviser, does your money go to your retirement first or paying off your debt?

What are you telling your clients?

Nobby Kleinman is an award winning recovering ex-financial planner having worked with thousands of clients and numerous companies. He is a passionate author, speaker, entrepreneur and developed the Money Rules program which takes people from debt to debt free for financial independence.

Nobby can be contacted at

Once free from encumbrance, the disposable income is available to invest in retirement funding. THAT’S when financial planning should step in for the longer term.