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A looming crisis: the role of accountants in supporting Australia’s aging population

Business

An ageing population offers accountants the opportunity to position themselves as trusted advisers in the retirement planning process.

By Michael Jeffries, LightYear Group 11 minute read

Australia is on the brink of a demographic crisis. The 2021 Census showed that there were over 5.4 million baby boomers in or close to retirement. The retirement of this cohort over the next decade presents another significant challenge financially. This demographic shift will exponentially increase the demand for aged care services and pensions. This is not just a future problem—it’s a present-day emergency. The 2024 budget, however, fails to allocate sufficient resources to prepare for this surge in demand. Instead, it leaves us wondering: who will bear the financial burden of this aging population?

The solution to this impending crisis may well lie in the hands of accountants. Accountants are uniquely positioned to offer Baby Boomers a range of services tailored to their specific needs. This demographic shift presents a golden opportunity for accountants to expand their services and play a crucial role in managing the financial complexities of aging.

 

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The financial challenges of aging

As Baby Boomers transition into retirement, they face numerous financial challenges. These include managing retirement savings, navigating the aged care system, optimising tax strategies, and ensuring that their estate planning is robust and effective. The current budget does little to address these issues directly, leaving many older Australians at risk of financial instability.

Expanding services for baby boomers

Accountants should consider expanding their services to include comprehensive retirement planning, tax strategies, asset protection, and aged care financial advice. Here are a few key areas where accountants can make a significant impact:

Retirement planning: Many Baby Boomers are unsure how to effectively manage their retirement savings to ensure they last throughout their retirement years. Accountants can offer personalised retirement planning services, helping clients to create a sustainable income stream and manage their assets effectively.

Tax strategies: As individuals age, their tax situation often becomes more complex. Accountants can provide specialised tax planning services to help Baby Boomers minimise their tax liabilities and take advantage of any available concessions and benefits.

Family wealth asset protection & intergenerational wealth transfer: Forecasts indicate over 3.5 trillion in assets is to be transferred from Australian Baby Boomers to their heirs over the next two decades Accountants are at the opportunity forefront to be providing services to ensure this transfer is done effectively and protected for future generations. From becoming accredited advisors under associations such as the Succession Asset Protection and Estate Planning Advisors Association (SAPEPAA) Accountants can be armed with the right knowledge and advise to assist their clients.

Aged care financial advice: Navigating the aged care system can be daunting. Accountants can assist clients in understanding the financial implications of various aged care options, from home care packages to residential aged care. This includes advice on how to fund these services, whether through superannuation, savings, or other means.

Estate Planning: Ensuring that one’s estate is in order is crucial for peace of mind. Accountants can offer estate planning services that include the creation of wills, setting up trusts, and planning for the tax implications of estate transfers.

The demographic shift we are witnessing is unprecedented, and the industry must adapt to meet the needs of an aging population. By proactively offering these expanded services, accountants can not only support their clients through a challenging phase of life but also tap into a growing market that requires specialised knowledge and expertise.

Accountants have the opportunity to position themselves as trusted advisors in the retirement planning process. By doing so, they can help ensure that Baby Boomers have the financial security and peace of mind they need to enjoy their retirement years. This not only benefits individual clients but also contributes to a more stable and resilient economy.

Michael Jeffriess, director, LightYear Group Ltd, SAPEPAA, Naked Accounting, We Love Group

2024 Thought Leader of the Year Finalist

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