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What is your concept of retirement?

The concept of retirement has changed dramatically over the generations but there remains one constant for most of us planning the end of our working life – to be able to do what we want, when we want. No more alarm clocks, no more commuting and no more demanding bosses! But what do we want more of? Time on the golf course? Unrushed holidays in exotic locations? Those are just the basics, however if retirement is looming have you thought about what actually will happen when you stop working? Will you have those choices?

Here are a few points to consider; and it’s not just about money.

Your wealth

When preparing to leave the workforce, some people focus so much on never having to face another stressful workday that they overlook many important issues.

The first and most obvious focus should be on the income needed to fund the retirement dream.

For many people retirement will give them the first real block of time they have ever had completely to themselves to spend however they please. Some may want to travel and others may have hobbies they want to immerse themselves in. Others may choose to move closer to family or make a ‘sea’ or ‘tree’ change. Some may do all of these things!

To make the most of your retirement years, your nest egg must be large enough to allow you to live the life you desire. It would be a shame to have a boring and unfulfilled retirement because you discover too late that you don’t have the means to afford activities that your peers are enjoying.

Your health

Secondly, many people plan for life beyond work assuming that they will remain healthy and vital. For most people this will prove true, but sadly, others might not be as vigorous as they had hoped.

Illness in later years will mean facing additional pharmaceutical and medical expenses. You may incur extra costs from travelling with mobility issues, assuming travel is still manageable. Aged care can be costly, especially where high level care is required.

The key point to remember here is that while you are planning for your retirement in a financial sense, you also need to focus on your well-being now to ensure your mind, body and spirit are willing and able to fulfil your retirement hopes and dreams. Balancing both aspects is fundamental to achieving a rewarding lifestyle.

Your happiness

But what is there to do if you find yourself getting bored with so much free time? Well, one option could be to return to the workforce, maybe on a part-time or casual basis. If approaching your former employer or business partner/s is not an option, try something different. Depending on your skill set, you may be able to start a micro-business. All you have to do is get creative when looking at your skills and abilities!

If you are a retired teacher there are many opportunities, including working as a private tutor or providing after-school assistance, assisting sports teams, or even thesis proofreading for university students. Local universities often have casual tutoring positions that may be suitable.

If accounting is your forte, use this skill to help small businesses manage their books.

Handy with tools and enjoy fixing things? You could find yourself in demand by those in your area who are working and have no time or skills to do odd jobs themselves. Place an advertisement in your local paper to get started.

Or, what about volunteer vacationing – “voluntouring”? If you’d like a travel experience with a difference, you may wish to combine it with volunteer work. Sharing your interests with others or using your skills in a new way could certainly enhance your post-work years.

There is a plethora of websites that now focus on this latest interest. Just type “voluntourism” into your favourite search engine and be prepared to be amazed.

Your identity

Many people identify themselves according to their job title or profession. For this reason, retirement can leave you feeling like a piece of you is missing. But retirement can be a terrific opportunity to give up that old identity and re-invent a new you.

You can be a grandparent, sports enthusiast, volunteer, book club president—the sky’s the limit!

In many ways, re-inventing yourself as a retiree can be as challenging as being a success in your previous vocation. The key is to establish your priorities, set goals that work for you, and keep going until you reach them. Remember though to keep it fun.

Have you planned your first step?

If all this sounds exciting, don’t forget the first step is to get your retirement funding in order. Come and talk to us sooner rather than later. Once that is done, you can start looking forward to what should be the golden years of your life.

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