Designing a lifestyle in retirement that is inspiring and meaningful to you.
By Megan Giles, Retirement Transition Consultant
When we think about retirement, our thoughts tend to go immediately to superannuation and financial planning. But are they the only things we need to consider? What about our day-to-day experience - how our retirement plays out? How do we ensure that is ‘super’? For all of you out there, chances are that life is already pretty sweet (if not somewhat hectic) – you are highly valued at work or in your industry, you are surrounded by amazing family and friends, and there’s plenty going on around you to fill your days. Why should a super lifestyle not continue as we approach the retirement age?
Without a doubt good financial planning is vital as it provides enhanced choice and flexibility in lifestyle options when you cease working full-time. But what about the other considerations?
As you start to think about retirement, take some time to think about what you really want to do. What is your daydream when you think about not having to work? Or how do you finish the sentence ‘if I win a million dollars….’?
It’s unlikely that any of us are going to win the jackpot and many of us don’t have a million dollars to splash out lavishly, but is that the only way to have a super lifestyle?
What is it about those experiences that get you excited? For example, what is it about taking that first class round-the-world trip that inspires you – is it visiting new places, trying new foods, capturing great photos, salsa-ing in Cuba, meeting new people?
Your finances may allow for a yearly overseas trip, but what about the rest of the time, what else can bring you that same sense on a regular basis? Why not take short trips away to somewhere you haven’t been before (even just a couple of hours from home), try that Argentinean steakhouse you drive past every night on your way home from work, or sign up for a photography or salsa class – who knows what you’ll learn and the people you’ll meet.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, perhaps your dream is to lie in a hammock on a deserted beach and wile away the days reading. This sounds incredible, but can I challenge you on this one? Is this something that you could do for weeks, months or even years on end? How long would it take before it became tedious? Instead, is a super lifestyle one in which you factor in time at least once a week (amongst other activities) to curl up, uninterrupted with a book?
Maybe there’s that book to write – the one that people have been telling you for 10+ years you should write. Why wait until retirement to work out if being a writer really is part of your dream lifestyle? Why not test it out by drafting a chapter summary, just a short synopsis of each section – and then you’ll know if it’s for you or not.
There are plenty of other fantastic opportunities that life after work can offer you – quality time with the grandchildren, visiting that school friend you haven’t seen for 30 years, going back to study, joining a not-for-profit organisation or taking up a new sport. While men may think golf, why not consider stand-up paddle boarding, cycling or pilates – there are so many options!. The most important thing is to determine what is meaningful to you when you think about a super lifestyle, not anyone else, and then take action.
Action you can take right now!
My call to action this week is to create that list of things you want to do and achieve when you have more flexibility with your time (call it a bucket list if you will). Just by writing the list down, it suddenly becomes more real. It becomes tangible when it’s on a piece of paper. Then start talking about it – let others know what’s important to you, and get them excited which may in turn spur you on, particularly if anything makes you feel a little hesitant or one of your ideas feel too ‘out there’ or ‘not very you’. Have the conversation with your significant other(s) to explore and determine how and when your goals will fit in with their plans and ideas.
In planning for a holiday we always think “we need to go there” and “we should see that” but when Day One of our holiday arrives, we draw a blank…What were all of those things we were going to enjoy? In the busyness of life they’ve slipped our mind.
Don’t let this happen to your retirement. Download the My Retirement Planner and start capturing those ideas and inspiration so that you’re ready to step into retirement with gusto!