Global crises that could ruin your retirement plans

If you've still got your health and you've looked after your super fund, you probably have bigger ambitions for your retirement than a spot of gardening and more time with the family. If you've always wanted to live abroad or you fancy yourself as skipper of your own yacht, your retirement could be the ideal time to make your dreams a reality. Of course, you'll need to do a little planning to make sure you give a wide berth to pesky global problems like hyperinflation and modern-day pirates!!

Financial meltdown

Retiring abroad can be a great adventure. It's a chance to live somewhere you've always dreamed about without the ties of the daily commute to the office. But exciting destinations with vibrant cafe cultures and beautiful beaches also have their share of financial headaches.

Take Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital and one of South America's must-see cities. The sweeping boulevards, friendly locals and tango dancing make it a wonderful place to spend your retirement, but if you'd moved your savings there in the early 2000s you would have had a nasty shock.

A sustained period of recession, unemployment and rising government debt at the end of 1990s led to a financial meltdown long before it became fashionable in Europe. If the lump sum from your super fund was in Argentine pesos at the start of 2002, it would have lost 80% of its value just a few months later.

In more recent times, the value of bigger, more stable currencies like the Euro, the US Dollar and the British Pound have all declined against the Aussie Dollar in the wake of the global financial crisis. Finding somewhere safe to stuff your loot is getting trickier and certainly needs some attention before you buy your phrasebook and pack your bags.

Pirates ahoy!!

Sailing is a common retirement hobby and if you've got the money, your own yacht is a fantastic way to see the world. After years of turning up, logging on and churning out, you can be the master of your own destiny. Each time you drop anchor, there's a new place to explore, new people to meet and new adventures to be had.

But like any foreign trip, sailing the high seas can be dangerous. Certain parts of the world have become hotspots for pirates – and not the jolly, rum-swilling characters from the Las Vegas show, but organised gangs making a tidy living from kidnap and extortion.

While they mostly target commercial shipping, private vessels also need to be careful not to stray into pirate territory. In 2009, British retirees Paul and Rachel Chandler's round-the-world trip was interrupted by Somali pirates, who took them hostage and demanded a ransom. They were eventually released and clearly weren't deterred. Last year they set off on another trip in the same yacht.

Of course, pirate hotspots are few and far between. They are also well known and can be avoided with a bit of research before you set sail. Too much sun, wine and good food pose bigger risks than pirates in classic European yachting haunts like the Greek islands and France's Côte d'Azur.

Remember that if you want to be swotting up on foreign currency and ducking pirates during your retirement, you'll need your super to perform while you're still working. Check out our handy guide to find out more about managing your super to get it working as hard as possible for you.