Flexibility is key in retirement

HESTA chief advice officer Josh Parisotto explains how they plan to give members more financial control and independence in retirement.

How is your retirement income strategy designed?

HESTA is always seeking to improve retirement outcomes for our members. So, our Retirement Income Strategy is designed to address the specific needs of our membership, 80 per cent of whom are women, and the challenges they face now and as they head into retirement and beyond.

Many of our members, mainly women, have low super balances because they typically work in lower paid and often insecure jobs like aged care and early childhood education and care and are likely to take long periods of time out of the workforce to care for others, not building their super.

It's a myth that you need to have $1 million in super to enjoy a good retirement. A lot of our members will rely on income they receive from the Age Pension, supplemented by their super savings, so it was important that our retirement income strategy took these circumstances into account.

How do you help members in retirement?

Our approach is designed to help our members achieve more financial control and independence to balance their retirement objectives. We believe how prepared our members are for retirement is a critical factor in determining their retirement needs. By understanding our members' level of preparedness, we can offer products, services and tailored levels of engagement to help our members achieve more financial control and take action to improve their retirement preparedness.

What do you currently offer?

Our members have told us they wanted a simple investment strategy in retirement where they don't have to keep changing their investment allocation as markets move. We've aimed to meet this need with HESTA Income Stream, a ready-made strategy that sees our members' first draw income payments from higher-risk asset classes like shares and infrastructure before switching to the more conservative option, reducing over time members' exposure to riskier investments. We know how important flexibility is to our members, so HESTA Income Stream allows members to vary income drawdown amounts and withdraw lump-sum amounts in addition to regular income payments.

Explain the advice piece of the puzzle.

We want to help as many of our members as we can, no matter where they are in their retirement journey. When we conducted a comprehensive review of our advice services recently, we found most members were looking for help to better understand their situation and deal with administrative issues around transitioning to retirement. Many of them also told us they wanted to build confidence by taking modest steps to maximise their financial security.

One of our key pillars of support for our members is Future Planner a unique digital help and education approach where HESTA members can access financial help online - anywhere, anytime. We know many of our members experience barriers accessing conventional financial advice services provided by the broader wealth management industry. Future Planner aims to bridge the gap between high-cost financial advice that often exceeds the needs of many people and do-it-yourself online advice that's often not personalised and isn't designed to build confidence. More than 135,000 of our members have used Future Planner, and the information presented in Future Planner is supported by a qualified team who can either help our members with questions or refer them onto our team.