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life after work
the “R” word
The concept of retirement has only existed for around 100 years and today’s baby boomers are the first generation to face the real prospect of outliving their financial resources. The ‘baby boomer’ generation is rejecting the notion of retirement. In fact, according to the researcher Hugh Mackay* “retirement is a word they’d rather not use because it carries connotations for them of elderly folk sitting on the verandah with pipe and slippers, watching the sun sink symbolically into the west”.
So, far from contemplating “retirement” the baby boomers are looking forward to a healthy, active and engaged period where they can continue to exert influence and control over their lives. This is not a generation expecting to degenerate. And as Mackay observes “they will be looking for new ways to de-stress without appearing to have dropped out or given up”. And importantly, the boomers have found a new word to describe this period, replacing the downbeat “retiring” with the upbeat “refocusing”.
dreams versus realities
How achievable will be this dream period of active, engaged “refocusing” for those contemplating life after work in the next few years? Unfortunately numerous studies show that many people have under-saved, underinvested, over-borrowed and underinsured to guarantee the life they so desire. This trend has been exacerbated by the 2008/09 global financial crisis that threatens to have long term effects on the valuations of accumulated assets that the baby boomer generation will be relying on into the next decade or so.
what can I do to offset these uncertainties?
Refocus your expectations and priorities. Re-design your lifestyle for life after work around your projected financial resources and realistic capabilities. Be clear about what income your investments will generate into the future and adapt your spending accordingly.
Work longer. Postpone your transition from full time work and continue to build your asset base and your investment strategy to allow for any shortfalls. Be clear about what you need in terms of an investment strategy and income levels once you stop full-time work.
Be patient. Asset values tend to return to previous levels after major downturns. This ultimately depends on having enough buyers seeing the value in lower prices to return to the market with confidence.
Best of all – combine all three strategies and refocus your ambitions around what’s important and meaningful in your life. This is a wonderful time to reflect on these issues and reconsider your plans. We recommend you get advice to help you make the right choices for you.
Together, good planning and professional advice are the keys to ensuring you are prepared for life after work.