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Five steps to a happy retirement

There’s more to a happy retirement than having enough money and investing it wisely.

The more innovative superannuation funds are now starting to tell their members that there’s more to a happy retirement than having enough money and investing it wisely. They are realising that lifestyle issues are just as important as financial security.

There’s no reason why you should wait for your superannuation fund to get around to telling you that retirement is about more than good money management. It could be some time. If you’re starting to think about your retirement, here are the five areas that it would be wise to consider if you want to be happy over the next 20–30 years.

Understanding what your new lifestyle will be like

There are a number of lifestyle issues that you are likely to be challenged by. Here are a few of them – handling change, staying active and involved, renegotiating domestic responsibilities, giving your partner space, your important relationships, where to live, avoiding a loss of identity and purpose.

If you don’t think about these lifestyle issues in advance, they may be a lot more difficult to handle when they arrive. Baby Boomers Life Change has published a book called The Rest of Your Life – How to make it as good as you want which gives you lots of good advice on managing these and other issues. It is available through the website www.mylifechange.com.au

Organise your finances

Organising your finances to get you through the next 20–30 years isn’t easy. Unless you have specialist knowledge, it’s a good idea to get some assistance from someone who does. Help is available from financial planners, your super fund and possibly your accountant. It might cost you money, but should save you a lot more in the long-term.

Don’t forget that you also need to talk to a lawyer about estate planning. If you don’t at least get a will, you’ll have little control over who your assets will go to.

Health

After 50, exercise is no longer optional. To make the most of your years in retirement, you need to have reasonable health and mobility. The good news is that getting older does not automatically mean being frail and sick. If people adopt a lifestyle that incorporates regular physical and mental exercise, a sensible diet and a positive, optimistic attitude, they can delay the ageing process.

Relationships

Retirement can be tough on relationships. As our important relationships have such a major impact on our lives, it’s important that we invest time and effort to make sure they are in good shape. Our book on Relationships contains lots of useful advice. Baby Boomers Life Change has published a book called “Relationships in our 50’s – 60’s and beyond: How yours can survive and thrive”. It’s written by Sandra Kimball, an experienced relationship counsellor and it’s an easy to read guide with lots of practical ideas and suggestions. It’s a very useful book for couples facing relationship problems or for people who want to make a good relationship even better.

Happiness

Happiness or unhappiness doesn’t just happen. While we can’t control what life throws at us, we can take steps to have more control over our mind and our attitude. This way we can better control our response to life’s challenges. You can find some helpful advice on finding happiness at The Happiness Institute.

'This article originally appeared on the My Life Change website and has been reproduced with permission from Paul McKeon of Baby Boomers Life Change Pty Ltd'

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