What are your non-negotiables in retirement?

By Megan Giles: Retirement Transition Consultant. First published by Over Sixty [Link: www.oversixty.com.au]

The wonderful thing about retirement is that the Baby Boomers finally have the opportunity to become the ‘Me-Timers’. After balancing a busy career, family and social commitments for so many years, they finally get to focus on the things that light them up. That might mean learning to play the saxophone (I’ve only had the darn thing 20 years!), selling up and making that tree change, or trekking through Patagonia.

I am a strong advocate for possibility thinking, living one’s dreams and creating a full and exciting retirement, but I also want to ensure that people approaching retirement are set up for success. I want to ensure that their dreams and goals are achievable.

And so the question I want to pose is what will be the ‘non-negotiables’ in your retirement?

It might be things such as caring for an elderly parent or grandchildren, participating in an annual event or your budget. These are the events or persons that you need to be present and available for or decisions that are fixed. Can you clearly articulate what these will be for you?

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As an example, the last thing you want to do is starting planning for a retirement of travelling or relocating to a hinterland village, only to be disappointed when you decide that caring for your mother with dementia is not going to allow it.

That said, I am not for a moment suggesting that you should cancel your round-the-world trip or put your life on hold. Quite the contrary. Instead, what I would encourage you to do is acknowledge this non-negotiable during your planning. To enable an extended holiday you may need a slightly longer lead-in time but this will allow you to organise respite care, increased day care or arrange other family members to step up in your absence.

What other non-negotiables might there be in retirement?

A husband (or wife) who doesn’t want to leave the family property

In some couples there will be one person for whom living on the land is in their blood and there is no-where else they can imagine being. Rather than simply accepting this fate and maintaining a stiff upper lip (whilst feeling suffocated and isolated on the inside), it is critical to plan for a retirement that lights each person up whilst acknowledging this non-negotiable. How might you plan around this? One option might be to book regular weeks away at the beach so that the other person’s needs are met in terms of a change of scenery and also so that they have something to look forward to. Take it one step further and making a recurring booking at the same place in order to create a ‘home away from home’ and a sense of belonging there.

Your retirement budget

If you’ve done your sums you will know how long you can expect your superannuation and investments to last. In line with this, your monthly budget may be your non-negotiable. Whilst you may dream of taking a first class cruise each year, this may not be financially possible and as such I encourage you to consider what it is about traveling that excites you. Is it meeting new people, trying new foods or learning about different cultures? Identify what it is and then determine how you can incorporate that into your daily life. For example if it’s the food why not try a new cuisine or restaurant each month? If it is visiting new destinations, why not get out and discover more of your own backyard – we live in one of the best countries in the world, after all!

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails” – William Arthur Ward

Don’t ignore the non-negotiables in your retirement – they’re not going anywhere! Instead, acknowledge them and respond positively to create a retirement you will love to live.

 

I wish you the very best on your journey,

Megan

 

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like to read Checklist for planning your social life in retirement and  Is your home retirement ready?

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.


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