Equip 90 year anniversary - with Michael de Lisle
Superannuation | 26/10/2021 |
5 min read
Retired electrical metering manager shows young Australians how to jump start their super balance.
Three years ago, Michael (Mick) de Lisle achieved his dream of early retirement, just like his father had done before him, by putting the tools down at age 58.
It wouldn’t have been possible, the Rowville-based former meter technician says, without paying careful attention to his super from an early age with the support of his fund, Equip.
Mick’s career kicked off as an apprentice meter mechanic with the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) in 1977, a time when just 32% of Australian workers were covered by superannuation.
This proportion has skyrocketed since the government’s introduction of mandatory employer contributions in 1992 to ensure Australians have enough money for retirement. However, Mick says that while consistent employer contributions to your super are a good starting point, people shouldn’t rely on their compulsory contributions alone if they want to ensure a strong balance for retirement. “If I had just sat idly and let my super run itself without any extra interference, there’s no way I’d have retired before my sixtieth birthday.”
The importance of jump starting your super
“My first workplace was the SECV, a government supply industry formed in 1921 to provide Victoria’s electricity. It became the lifeblood of industrial and economic development throughout Victoria,” said Mick.
Rapid changes in technology made the industry challenging to work in, but the money was good. So good in fact, that the free-spirited Mick quit a few years after joining to backpack around America, Canada and Tahiti. “After travelling and settling down with a family, I thought, ‘right, now it’s time to get serious about my finances’.”
Upon returning to Melbourne in 1982, Mick rejoined the SECV as a metering technician. By this time, super schemes were being proactively offered to Australian workers and Mick joined the SECV fund of choice, Equip.
“At the time, I didn’t know Equip from a bar of soap. What I did know, however, was the importance of making super contributions in addition to those made by my employer. I started doing this at 23 and it had a tremendous impact on my balance over the years. I actively encourage those new to the workforce, including my son and daughter, to do the same. It’s not something you necessarily learn in school.”
“I’ve always been pretty financially aware thanks to my father. He was able to retire early with a strong super balance and I wanted to follow in his footsteps which, I’m glad to say, I was able to achieve with the support of Equip.”
How Mick supercharged his retirement
“I’ve been an Equip member for 36 years. The fund’s performance has been consistently strong over the years. The fund has been a pillar of support, alongside my father, friends and older workmates, when it comes to financial and investment advice.
“When I started planning my retirement, the staff at Equip were extremely supportive in creating a tailored retirement plan, including a budget for day-to-day expenses, but also travel plans.
“While the backpacking days of my youth might be far behind me, I’ve always been an avid traveller. It was important that plans for boosting my super allowed me to both enjoy the present and have trips abroad, alongside saving to look after for my future self,” said Mick.
“Equip made the entire process extremely easy. At 58, I was ecstatic to be retiring at an early age like my father had done. I really couldn’t have done it without paying good attention to my super balance over the years and having the support of Equip.
“While I’m fortunate to have been paid relatively well over my career, I know a number of people my age who’ve also been on a good wage yet cannot retire, or are retiring with a less than ideal balance. They tell me they seriously wish they’d paid more attention to their super.
“It turns out a good paycheck alone isn’t enough when it comes to your financial future - it’s crucial to monitor investment options and make super contributions when you can. Thanks to this, in retirement I’ve been able to travel with my wife, spend time with family and enjoy life without worrying about having enough money.”
Suggestions for young Australians
Mick says it’s never too early to teach kids the importance of super.
“I understand retirement may seem a lifetime away and that having a focus on family, homes and general living is extremely important. However, if you wish to retire comfortably and enjoy life, you need to incorporate super into your financial strategies from an early age and increase contributions as your circumstances improve.
“To get a head start for retirement, you need to save and make voluntary contributions early on in your career – a little goes a long way, in the long term. When my kids were at school, I would teach them this by encouraging them to put aside a little pocket money each week for their savings.
“Teach kids to be wary of certain things in later life, such as payday loans, credit cards with exorbitant interest rates and not to be overly complacent with ‘buy now, pay later’ apps.
“For older Australians already in the workforce, get in contact with your fund for advice on growing your super - even if retirement is a long way off. It’s important to belong to a supportive fund like Equip that can provide great advice to help boost your balance.
“Mostly, though… enjoy family, a life and work balance, with the peace of mind that you’re financially backing yourself for when you decide to ‘put down the tools!”
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This information is provided for general information only. It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and should therefore not be taken as personal advice. You should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it and, if necessary, you should seek professional financial advice. Togethr Trustees Pty Ltd ABN 64 006 964 049, AFSL 246383 ("Togethr") is the trustee of the Equipsuper Superannuation Fund ABN 33 813 823 017 ("Equip" or "The Fund"). Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
Togethr Financial Planning Pty Ltd (“TFP”) (ABN 84 124 491 078, AFSL 455010), trading as Equip Financial Planning, is licensed to provide financial planning services to retail and wholesale clients. TFP is owned by Togethr Holdings Pty Ltd (ABN 11 604 515 791). You can obtain the TFP Financial Services Guide and/or Privacy Statement by contacting our Helpline on 1800 682 626. This is general information only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and therefore should not be taken as personal advice.