IT’S a great tragedy that the majority of Australians are not well prepared for the transition from full time work to some form of retirement. If they were, this period of their lives would be far less stressful and the transition would be much easier.
Those people who have done some retirement planning have probably focused on getting their money organised and would have some form of financial plan.
While a financial plan is an important start, it’s only step one of a comprehensive retirement plan.
What we are generally not told is that the transition to retirement is a period of great change in our lives and great change often involves a lot of stress.
Think about it for a minute - we leave a job and a routine that we’ve been used to for 30 - 40 years. We then lose our work colleagues and networks and the social contacts involved.
We lose the intellectual challenges that work involves. Some people suffer a loss of identity and purpose. We have to operate on a smaller income. We have to adapt to living with our partner (if we have one) 24/7, for probably the first time in our entire relationship.
All of that doesn’t sound easy.
Now some lucky people take to this new life like ducks to water, but for many it is a difficult period, made all the more so, because no one told us that we were going to face all these challenges. If you’ve already left full time work, there’s not much you can do about a lack of retirement planning, however there’s still a lot you can do to make the most of the rest of your life.
These retirement years can be some of the best years of our lives.
Many people have the time and money to do the things that they want to do, rather than the things that they have to do.
The critical thing is our attitude. What goes on between our ears, largely decides whether we are “old”, or just “older”.
If you haven’t already done so, can I suggest you have a long talk with your partner (if you have one) about what you would both like to achieve in the foreseeable future and the sort of lifestyle you would like to have. Be realistic and listen to each other’s views.
Our book The Rest of Your Life covers many of the important issues you may encounter.
You can buy this book from our website at www.mylifechange.com.au