Many Australians are now choosing to retire by the age of 60, or even earlier, wishing to do all the things they had dreamed about during their working years. However, with better health services and medical technology the chance of living to 90 years or beyond could be more realistic than you think. Your retirement could comprise 40% or more of your adult life.
If you wish to remain happy and healthy during these years, planning is critically important. After physical health, financial health is crucial at this time of life. No-one wants to go into voluntary retirement without adequate resources to maintain a comfortable standard of living.
However, personal activities are equally important. To work full time up to a particular date and then retire with no planned activities can be devastating for your physical and mental wellbeing. You should also realise that a hobby like gardening or golf, which was very appealing for one day a week during your working life, may become a bore when you have seven days a week to fill.
Serious planning for what you are going to do in your retirement should start at least a year or two beforehand. Think about the activities you have enjoyed in the past but also seek out new ideas.
Some ideas to consider
It’s a good idea to not rely on a single retirement interest but establish a range of activities. Suggestions you might consider include:
- Part-time work. This can be particularly valuable if your retirement budget is likely to be stretched. It also may entitle you to claim the Centrelink pension bonus. Consider work that is not too demanding and will be enjoyable.
- Voluntary work. You may know of organisations requiring volunteers with skills you possess. Each capital city has a government-sponsored volunteer’s organisation which offers a range of activities. Web search volunteering programs in your state and see what comes up. It can be extremely rewarding.
- Education. Training courses are available for retirees where you can learn new skills and contribute by demonstrating your own skills.
- Hobbies. While you may have a current hobby you’re keen to continue, it’s important to have a range of activities. Broaden your interests. Apart from obvious interests like gardening and sport, what about arts and crafts, genealogy, food and cooking, just to name a few?
- Exercise. In retirement it’s important to keep up regular exercise. If you’re not keen on joining a gym, there are myriad outdoor activities you can do by yourself or as part of a team.
They don’t call them “The Golden Years” for nothing… retirement is for having fun!