As retirement comes into view, it’s time to imagine a new you for the post-work age.
You remember your first day at school, your first job, your first home. And now your final pay check is in sight. That’s quite an achievement.
As with other big life events, retirement triggers choices that shape your future. It’s time to take stock and reboot your life. It makes sense to make sure you’re ready when the time comes so you can minimise surprises and maximise your new free time.
For instance, if you’re downsizing your house or vehicle, you might consider how shedding assets and acquiring new ones affect your tax position before you retire.
Having your finances in order is important, but there’s more than money to enjoying the fruits of your new phase of life. Here are five ways you can make sure retirement’s a milestone not a millstone.
1. Think mind and body
Without a clear idea of how you’ll spend your time, the initial euphoria of the untouched morning alarm can give way to anything from boredom to panic. Most of your 24 hours may be unstructured, so figure out how you’ll spend it wisely.
You might try something new. Perhaps now is the time to keep bees, join a choir or learn archery. If you have a partner, remember to involve them in the planning. Even if they don’t fancy joining you on a skydive, they may see a chance to learn how to take better action pictures.
Travel is near the top of many wish lists in retirement. If you don’t have the funds for a Caribbean cruise, there are a host of cheaper options around Australia and even beyond. And now you’ll have more time to spend, without worrying about annual leave quotas, or who’ll look after your business while you’re away.
2. Have a purpose
A rest is as good as a change. Although it’s great to have unstructured time to think and dream, boredom can be a damaging state of mind, particularly if it’s prolonged.
If you’re already physically active, this can be a great time to extend yourself, embrace something new like yoga, or aqua aerobics. If you’re healthy but know you could improve, you might sign up for a sponsored cycle ride or walk to help a cause you care about.
3. Catch up on what you’ve missed
Many of us put off expanding our passions while we’re working because we don’t have time.
If you’ve always wanted to read the classics, now might be your chance to explore the jewels of world literature. Reading is brain expanding and inexpensive. Books older than 70 years from the death of the author are out of copyright and therefore cheap in print or even free on your Kindle.
4. Follow your heart, not the herd
Many people downsize coming up to retirement. A smaller property usually means lower utility bills and maintenance.
But it’s not for everyone. If your spare bedroom has the right natural light for your artist’s studio or you just love your lemon trees, you might be better off staying where you are and saving yourself the real estate fees and hassles.
You’re facing a change in life, but you don’t have to change for change’s sake. Put yourself and your loved ones first.
5. Listen to the voice of experience
As with so many things in life, you can learn from experts. Talk to people you know who have already retired, and see what worked for them, and what they wish they’d put in place before they took the plunge.
Consider what will make you happy in the years beyond work, so you can live the life you want. Finally, if you haven’t yet given these things serious thought yet, don’t panic. You’ve dealt with other changes in your life, this is just another one.
Think of it as a new adventure. Let’s face it, you’ve earned it.
©AMP Life Limited. First published 10 October, 2019