Tips for retirement

Planning is one of the best things you can do to create a happy, healthy retirement.

The smoother the process of adjustment, the easier you’ll find it to remain mentally healthy during retirement, the research tells us. This isn’t possible for everybody, with as many as 23% retiring due to health concerns, however there will be other factors within your control. Planning well is certainly something to aspire to in any ways you can.

While your retirement may look very different to that of another person, the important thing is to put lots of thought into what you want from this next period of your life, which for many can extend for two or three decades. There are several things each person should aim to plan for retirement.

Identify the difference between dreaming and planning

Retirement coach Celena Ross from Retiree Matters says most people daydream of how retirement will be, yet put in little concrete planning.  Ross says, “We dream of travel, of time to just sit and read, to garden, spend time with grandchildren, to pursue passions and become a volunteer. “But we just don’t really stop and plan our semi to full retirement life. Yet we have decades of experience and highly developed skills in planning."

Of course, dreams have their place in helping you picture that ideal retirement lifestyle, however practical plans are also needed to work out how you can achieve that – and what to do if your expectations aren’t met.

What do you do? 

One of the greatest challenges for many retirees is a change in identity. Consider what you’d like your response to be when people ask, ‘What do you do?’ Factors you may like to consider include whether you’d like to transition to retirement, explore new interests or even a part-time business, or start something you didn’t have the time for while working full-time. “Develop a vision board of what retirement will look like to you,” suggests Ross, “and consider the issues that can arise when one retires and the other wants to continue working part-time.”

Plan with your partner and family

It’s likely that your retirement will affect others around you: your partner, family or close friends. “Talk about what retirement looks like to each other,” Ross advises, “and consider the issues that can arise when one of you retires and the other wants to continue working full-time or part-time.” She adds that it’s also important to think of all aspects of retirement: “Plan for more than financial aspects. Consider topics like work, health, creative, networking, travel, sport and groups, and factor in time with grandchildren or elderly parents.” Breaking your retirement down into such categories and discussing each with significant people in your life can give you a good idea of how life will be and what you can achieve.

Take a gap year

With retirement being a significant period of time that could be almost as long as your working life, taking some time to stop before launching into new things could be the best plan for many. “If you have had a busy, stressful job, then a gap year could be great,” says Ross. “During a gap year you could relax, read books, travel, catch up with family and friends and plan ahead. Ask yourself what you want to do and what you’d like to accomplish for the rest of your life.”

Keep planning

As a member of AustSafe Super, you and your employer can access the SuperFriend Seminar, Planning for a Mentally Healthy Retirement, which promotes planning as not just a one-off stage, but an ongoing strategy for monitoring your needs and wellbeing. Contact your AustSafe Super Regional Manager to learn more about this practical retirement planning tool, to help you consider a retirement that’s good for your wellbeing. 

When the planning starts early

Mark Jones started planning his retirement when he was in his 40s, to make sure he’d be ready, both mentally and financially, to retire in the way he wanted when the time came. Now 72, he says he’s reaping the benefits of a strong plan that was well thought out during those years.

“The dream was to spend a few months of each year overseas during retirement,” Mark says of the plan he’s made a reality. “To prepare for that, we purchased two investment properties and now we use one as a home-swap apartment.” This not only works financially, but also helps them meet like-minded travel enthusiasts who want a similar non-traditional retirement.

Mark says the plans he put in place so early also helped his mental health during this next stage of his life. “Knowing we were taking control over how life would be during retirement made a big difference,” he says.

It seems that in Mark’s case, the saying that you can never plan too early is certainly true.