Mon, 30 Jan, 2017
There’s more to retirement planning than superannuation
Megan Giles is a retirement designer for women. She supports and coaches women approaching retirement to successfully transition and create a lifestyle that is fulfilling, meaningful to them and lights them up each day.
When we think about retirement our thoughts tend to go straight to financial planning and superannuation (well perhaps after those day dreams of long lunches and round the world cruises!). But do you ever stop to think about the non-financial components of life after work? With the average life expectancy for women in Australia now extending to 84.4 years and men to 80.3 years (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015) people are likely to have another 20-30 years ahead of them in retirement. That’s too long to be sitting there admiring your super fund and simply watching the world go by.
The chances are that you will retire and be active, energetic (well, at least getting there!) and have great ideas to share. Have you thought about what your day-to-day life in retirement might look like? What you’d like to do and achieve in the next year or the next 10 years? By this I mean how you’ll connect with the community around you, stay involved in your family and do the things that get you excited and ready to face each day? For the past few decades you’ve likely spend most of your waking hours attending to other people’s needs and expectations, be that through work, raising children or caring for others. Do you remember what it’s like to have free time on your hands, and what will you do once you have endless hours of it?
The way that we fill our days and find meaning in what we do taps into the social and psychological aspects of retirement planning. This is important because there is much research to show that preparing psychologically and emotionally for retirement leads to increased life satisfaction (Dennis & Fike, 2012). The people who take control and proactively plan for life in retirement tend to feel more fulfilled, engaged and content. Who wouldn’t want that?
Interestingly, a survey by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found that 53% of retirees (age 50 and older) said they’ve done “hardly any” planning for leisure activities for the next year and 77% have done hardly any for the next five years. Does this sound like you?
If it does, what might this mean? It means complementing your financial planning with consideration of how you’ll step into this next chapter and what you’ll actually do on a day to day basis.
For example, many people have saved and invested well and plan an exciting overseas holiday to kick off their retirement, but don’t necessarily ask the question ‘and then what...?’ What happens after you return, unpack the suitcases and souvenirs, and share some photos? What fills your time and enables you to continue to lead a meaningful life?
In planning effectively for retirement, it is important to ask what you want to get out of this next chapter. To help you with this, you may like to ask yourself questions such as:
- What do I enjoy that I’d like to do more of?
- What have I stopped doing that I’d like to start again?
- What would l love to do that I’ve never had time for or have never been brave enough to try?
- What am I doing when I feel most satisfied and fulfilled?
- Who are the people that I enjoy spending time with?
- When I look back in 12 months, what do I want to have achieved/ticked off my bucket list?
Take some time to think about what is important to you. Better yet, engage your significant other(s) in this discussion. In doing so, you are on your way to proactively shaping the retirement lifestyle you seek. By understanding what you value, you can start to take targeted steps towards creating a lifestyle in retirement that lights you up.
For more great retirement advice please visit Megan Giles’ website.