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Richard’s retirement journey: observations and lessons

“Retirement is an excellent institution and I can highly recommend it but it does need to be properly planned and managed to maximise its personal enjoyment and satisfaction” says...

Pre-retirement

Salary sacrificing to super has been a big plus as it has provided additional tax free income stream to my PSS pension. I would advise people to do it ASAP, (I started 10 years out from retirement) graduating to pre-retirement pension at age 55 then converting to a fortnightly pension on retirement to top up PSS pension.

The best thing about retirement

The best thing is all of the new things around us that our minds are closed to in our working lives. We don't explore them because our work life routines are set around the work and earn cycle. Hobbies, interests, travel, relationships change in retirement. They require effort but unlike the compulsory work cycle, these are all discretionary and you can choose the mix you prefer.....and you can set your own timetable......and no need to turn up to an 8am meeting unless you really want to schedule one, although would be struggling to find other retirees wanting to turn up also, unless it was a game of golf or a fishing trip etc. You get the idea!

A life lesson learned

“Don't sweat the pension dollars”. If you think you have grown the pile big enough you probably have. I have found that there is little to no tax payable on pensions, there is no superannuation to pay and cost of living is generally cheaper.

Don't underestimate things, but equally don't overestimate how much you will need and stay in work for the extra couple of years for a few pennies more if you feel you are ready to retire.

An obstacle encountered and how I overcame it

The biggie is replacing a full 5 day work routine with something else. It takes a good while to find a retirement routine, maybe even a year or two. My experience was holiday mode for 6 months, followed by home renovation mode for another 6 months or so, graduating into a retirement routine, which has to be built around finding worthwhile and challenging things to do.

Feeling worthwhile and staying relevant can be major obstacles so it is vital to understand what might replace work after the honeymoon in the first 6-12 months after retirement.

My advice, build and nurture relationships and find a new routine, either new work, study, interests or volunteering. I have done some of all which provides a good balance.

A new job or activity that I have started

I live on a small acreage so major landscaping and developing gardens has been a key interest along with volunteering and fundraising for a charity.

My tips for a happy retirement

Doing something that gives you a sense of feeling worthwhile and relevant is the number 1 piece of advice I could give to anyone contemplating retirement. Achieving this is different for everyone but everyone should ask themselves the question before they retire...'what will I be doing that makes me feel worthwhile and relevant after the retirement honeymoon is over?'

What I am doing to maintain a healthy mind and body

For a healthy mind, I focus on doing worthwhile and relevant things. For a healthy body this is a lot easier as a sedentary work desk is replaced by lots of outdoor and physical activities which for me includes golf, gardening, fishing, beach walks etc but to each his or her own.

We humans are a complex breed and everyone is different. For me though retirement is an excellent institution and I can highly recommend it but it does need to be properly planned and managed to maximise its personal enjoyment and satisfaction. However, this applies to anything that is worthwhile doing!



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