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Insights for retiring and retired members on making the most of market volatility

It’s natural to feel concern when financial markets are volatile – particularly when it comes to superannuation and the money you’ve worked hard to save for retirement.

If you’re in or approaching retirement, market developments may have made you more engaged with your super or pension than ever before – leading you to question: Is there any damage to my savings? Is now a good time to retire? Will I have to temporarily leave retirement to seek part-time work? 



With retirement either in your sights or part of your reality, the last thing you should need to worry about is how market volatility might impact your savings. But staying up to date and informed about your options may help. Below, we offer some helpful considerations to keep in mind at this time.



It’s important to remember that markets regularly experience volatility for various reasons. The Coronavirus pandemic is also a factor, but one that will likely pass in time. While difficult to forecast, history shows us that markets do recover form disruptive influences – for example, from the Global Financial Crisis. In the decade following the crisis, global share markets recovered and delivered returns of roughly 10% to investors. In 2019 alone, Australian and global shares delivered exceptionally strong returns of 24% and 27% respectively. This also means that even in retirement, your super balance could continue to experience fluctuations.



But if you were planning to retire soon, it’s possible that you may need to consider temporarily delaying your plans depending on your financial circumstances. The impacts and longevity of the Coronavirus are difficult to forecast. However, the average recovery period following events in history indicates that investment markets could experience volatility and lower returns for an extended period of time. If working is no longer possible, you may be eligible for the Age Pension, which could help supplement part of your lifestyle.



If you are able to delay retirement and continue working, you could consider some of the investment opportunities that may arise from volatility. For example, buying into share markets when they’re down (and cheaper) could mean the value of those investments rises when markets recover over time – potentially adding more value to your retirement savings. But this doesn’t mean you should buy anything and everything that’s on sale. For example, a company’s share price may be falling because of other factors (for example, a management change or a legal case) that could erode its long-term potential. It’s important to consider these factors and to be confident that a company’s value will rise in the future.



At the same time, it can still be sensible to continue budgeting and saving for a rainy day – particularly in the current environment, where regular day-to-day life may be disrupted. Maintaining a separate savings fund could offer some peace of mind in uncertain times – especially for members whose daily lives may be impacted by economic developments as a result of businesses and services temporarily closing down to accommodate social distancing measures, for example.



No matter the state of markets, it can also be helpful to remain engaged with your super – even in simple ways, such as regularly reading fund updates, staying up to date with market developments, or reviewing your super fund and financial plan as your personal circumstances change with age.

Government Support

If you have experienced disruptions to your employment, you may also be eligible to access some of your superannuation savings early. The Australian Government announced that eligible members may be able to access up to $10,000 until 30 June 2020, and then a further sum of up to $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for approximately three months. 

Eligible members will be able to apply through the myGov website from mid-April 2020. To help retirees manage the impact of volatility in financial markets on their retirement savings, the government also announced temporary reductions to the minimum superannuation drawdown requirements for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years. You can learn more about these support measures online.

Need Help?

The Colonial First State Investments team is working hard to make sure you have the support you need. You can expect that as developments continue to unfold, we will continue closely monitoring markets, sharing regular market updates, and communicating closely with our network of experienced investment managers to skilfully identify the risks and opportunities in investing.

As you keep your long-term goals top of mind, remember: our team is here to help – with news, insights and helpful resources available on our website to help keep you up to date on the latest.


This document has been prepared by Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (CFSIL). The information, opinions, and commentary contained in this document have been sourced from Global Markets Research, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL 234945 (CBA). Global Markets Research has given CFSIL its permission to reproduce its information, opinions, and commentary contained in this document and for CFSIL to authorise third parties to reproduce this document. This document has been prepared for general information purposes only and is intended to provide a summary of the subject matter covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to give advice. The views expressed are the views of CFSIL at the time of writing and may change over time. This document does not constitute an offer, invitation, investment recommendation or inducement to acquire, hold, vary, or dispose of any financial products. CFSIL is a wholly owned subsidiary of CBA. CFSIL is the issuer of super, pension and investment products. CBA and its subsidiaries do not guarantee the performance of CFSIL products or the repayment of capital for investments. This document may include general advice but does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. The Target Market Determinations (TMD) for our financial products can be found at and include a description of who a financial product is appropriate for. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG) carefully and assess whether the information is appropriate for you and consider talking to a financial adviser before making an investment decision. The PDS and FSG can be obtained from or by calling us on 13 13 36. Past performance is no indication of future performance. Stocks mentioned are for illustrative purposes only and are not recommendations to you to buy sell or hold these stocks. This document cannot be used or copied in whole or part without CFSIL’s express written consent.