The most important thing investors should consider today is the need to save for their retirement. It is becoming increasingly clear that many countries can barely afford National Superannuation.,If we take New Zealand as an example, the Government’s decision in the recent budget to suspend contributions to the Super Fund is the issue that is getting the most media attention. One assumes that if the Government decided to instead borrow more and keep paying into the Super Fund it would have been criticised for doing that too.,On balance, their decision to freeze contributions looks sound. Borrowing to invest in a balanced portfolio, at a time when the Government’s income is falling and debt is rising, and at a time when markets are far from guaranteed to deliver a return much in excess of the cost of these borrowings, would not seem to make much sense.,The bigger issue is, of course, that with our limited earnings base, New Zealand can barely afford national superannuation, and as the baby boomers start to retire this pressure will only intensify.,Whilst the baby boomers are likely to be able to get paid the pension, it is my generation – the ‘flower power’ babies – that may have to face the music. We will likely have to choose between higher taxes or a lower pension. The age of entitlement will be more like 75 years of age. The weekly allowance will also probably be much smaller than the 66% of the average wage that is paid today, and it will definitely be means tested – after all, social welfare is for the needy not the greedy.,What you need to remember is that while a smaller retirement pension for future generations is a certainty, it has nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with financial reality. For most New Zealanders the New Zealand Superannuation income will not be enough to sustain their current lifestyle in retirement. We need to trim our spending, pay off debt as quickly as possible and save more. The reality is that you need to start planning now for your retirement in order to supplement your income in the future. So I suggest that you go and have another look at those retirement planning brochures that are sitting at the bottom of your recycling bin.

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