Retirement Investments & Planning

Australians have a number of options when it comes to investing for retirement. Not every option will be suitable for everyone, and in many cases a combination of these – or other alternatives – may be best for your circumstances.

When considering your investment options, expert advice from a financial planning professional that’s tailored to your individual circumstances and goals can help you achieve a comfortable and secure retirement.

What are my investment options in retirement?

When choosing the best way to invest your money to generate your retirement income, there are a wide choice of assets and products available. Term deposits, shares, and property are just three of the options you may be looking at. Each choice carries its own risks and benefits which need to be considered along with your goals, current financial situation and the level of risk you’re comfortable with.

Term deposits

A term deposit is a lump sum investment held for a specified term by an approved deposit-taking financial institution, such as a bank, building society or credit union. Your investment generates interest at a fixed rate over the period of the term and is unaffected by market fluctuations.

The level of security and peace of mind you can expect from a fixed return is attractive when you want to be certain of your income. However, it does mean your return is limited to the agreed interest rate for your selected term. As a component of your investment portfolio the minimal risk of a term deposit can balance other products that offer the potential for higher returns, but may carry greater risks too.

Your capital is also locked away for the period of the term. While you may be able to withdraw your money on demand, you may be charged a fee for doing so.


When you invest in shares, also known as equities, you’re buying a share of ownership in a company. As a shareholder, you are entitled to any dividend payment the company makes and this represents a share of their profits. You can invest in shares directly through a broker or indirectly through a wide range of products including managed funds. However you invest in shares, there will be costs associated with buying and selling them. 

Some investment products that generate retirement income offer exposure to the share market. The options in this category are diverse, and there are many things to weigh up if you’re considering one or more of these products.

Investing in shares always carries some level of risk, however you can limit the amount of risk you’re willing to take on. Some share portfolios are considered to have a lower risk profile because they invest primarily in stocks and companies that have a consistent track record for returns. Other portfolios and shareholdings may be considered higher risk because there is more potential for them to be affected by market volatility (either general fluctuations or changes specific to those shares and companies); on the other hand, they may also offer the potential for a higher return.

It’s often recommended that you diversify your share portfolio to include a mix of industries and asset classes with different perceived risks. This allows you the relative security of lower risk investments, along with the potential for greater returns from those with a higher risk profile.


As with shares, you can invest in property - residential or commercial - directly by owning one or more properties. There are some significant costs involved in direct property investment, including stamp duty, maintenance, professional and agency fees and you may need to secure finance to buy your property. Benefits from direct investment in property can include income from rent, current tax incentives, and the potential for capital gain on your investment over time.

There are also ways to invest in property indirectly, through a managed fund or real estate investment trust (REIT) which can give you exposure to property as an asset, potentially for a lower cost overall.

Investing for retirement is different

These investments can certainly help to secure your retirement income, but they do come with a degree of risk.  When you’re in retirement, it is much harder to recover from unexpected downturns in the value of your assets. To ensure that you have essential expenses covered for life, a regular monthly income from a lifetime annuity can give you the peace of mind that even if things change with your other investments, your monthly payments will still be there.

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