The secret retirement sauce

How can you successfully transition from working life to retired life? To find out, we asked people who conquered this major life change themselves… our pension members.

How can you successfully transition from working life to retired life? To find out, we asked people who conquered this major life change themselves… our pension members.

Advice and insights they provided included:

  • You don’t get a day off in retirement, so be proactive in spending time with your friends who have also retired (e.g. arrange to have lunch with them regularly)
  • Adjust slowly to life without the structure of full-time work by implementing new routines (replacing your five day work routine with a retirement routine may take 12 months or longer, so give yourself time and patience to do this if you can)
  • Don’t worry too much if you feel uncertain about retired life. That’s natural.
  • Don’t feel pressure to do stereotypical retirement activities (e.g. golf, lawn bowls, travel, downsize your home and move to a coastal town, etc)
  • Try to apply your skills and expertise developed in your career to new activities (doing so can help you feel relevant, useful and productive)
  • Embrace your freedom to set your own agenda and structure your own time
  • Look to your future (don’t spend too much time reflecting on your past)
  • Being debt-free can provide peace-of mind
  • Practical things you can do include: ask your GP for regular check-ups; run a recent model car and maintain your driving skills; ensure your major household items (e.g. white goods, TV, heating and cooling systems, etc) are new and/or in good condition; and declutter your home (don’t wait for other people like your kids to do it for you!)
  • Break your week into three distinct categories: 1) do something physical, 2) do something cultural, and 3) do something charitable (structuring your time like this means you end-up with three different sets of friends and social activities)
  • Consider ways to continue your area of career interest (e.g. by contributing to industry publications and/or working part time or casually in a related field)
  • Embrace all the new things you can do no longer being locked into full-time work
  • Be cognisant that hobbies, interests and relationships may change in retirement
  • Finding worthwhile and challenging activities you like can take time (so keep searching for them and try not to fall into a rut if your new life doesn’t click immediately)
  • Be wary of the ‘honeymoon’ stage of retirement (when you may travel and/or renovate your home) by preparing for retired life after this honeymoon ends
  • Keeping fit and healthy can be easier, especially if you had a sedentary (i.e. desk) job
  • Embrace being ‘master of your own destiny’ (e.g. you can choose to be busy, or to be relaxed, or to be both on the same day by having varied interests and hobbies)
  • Retirement shouldn’t mean inactivity
  • Get a dog!

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