Retirement - what does it mean to you?

One description of “retirement” is to “back away” - that doesn’t sound like something to look forward to! Most 60+ year olds we encounter, have an attitude that is far from backing off - indeed, most are more tenacious and more knowledgeable (clever) than ever. Aside from a few “creaks” in physicality, they’re usually more than ready to embrace life’s next adventure.

Each of us comes to the decision to shift our priorities at different times (work more, work less). Sometimes situations drive us to certain actions; but for many, it’s simply a choice (the decision to stop). For most of us, unless lucky enough to be beneficiary to a substantial Estate or Trust, we needed to sacrifice hard-earned cash flow, to build a nest egg that is then able to sustain/support our lifestyle, for what is an extending lifetime. How many new cars, houses or adventures did we sacrifice to instead build for our financial future? It’s a choice.

Different life stages have different challenges. From 30 to 50, we’re usually challenged by raising kids, paying mortgages, experiencing life and “having/enjoying stuff”. Finding the resource to set aside for a future still decades away is a big call, but no one escapes father time.

As retirement approaches, some big changes are afoot - it’s normal to feel out-of-sorts, to maybe struggle somewhat with the idea that suddenly, you’re not “working”.

So - have a plan. Make it early, and allow it to change. If you’ve learnt nothing from all the experience life has given, it’s that things do change, and you’re allowed too as well.

If you have the luxury of being able to work less, as you approach the intersection of retirement, we suggest adopting a “Give Way” approach. It’s a much easier transition than having to “Stop”. Mostly we recommend keeping the party rolling for as long as you can; because the longer you’re paid to be active and engaged, the thicker the walls of your retirement nest egg.

Ultimately, we leave as we came – so, enjoy it on the way through. And as the distraction of work recedes, maybe think more about what next. Don’t put it off. It’s coming. A day is a long time to fill if you’ve been accustomed to having 7 to 10 hours of it tied up, five days a week.

Check in with the local community organisations, the sporting or social clubs that struggle for good people with the time to help. They may need you. You may need them. You’ll be surprised and engaged at what happens next. Brush up on some old hobbies. Maybe find some new ones. Forget muscle memory, any memory at this stage is good enough and it never really is “too late” to start. So, keep making new friends and keep learning new skills.

In the 21st Century, this time in our lives likely looks very different to what is/was expected for our parents, certainly for their parents, and most definitely their parents before. And what of the next twenty years, as AI evolves, and new science delivers age defying methods to extend life.… How will your retirement savings hold up?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are intended to be of a general nature and do not constitute personalised advice for an individual client.

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