Inner Beauty Shining Through in Retirement

Sonya Maree Kok is one amazing woman whose dream is that by ‘being beautiful souls and helping others to do the same we are collectively creating a beautiful world that is sustainable for many generations to come’. Through portraiture photography and creative life coaching Sonya Maree empowers women of all ages to feel visible, uplifted and confident. She recognises that this is particularly important amongst women preparing for retirement. Our identity changes as we step away from the workforce and in a society that places so much emphasis on youth, one can suddenly feel less visible and relevant.

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Checklist for planning your social life in retirement

Retirement is a significant life stage that can impact both your home and social life. Taking the leap of leaving the workplace behind is no doubt an exciting move, however, it’s important to ensure you plan ahead. According to transition consultant, Megan Giles, adequately preparing for the significant shift in your day-to-day interactions is key to a smooth transition.

“By working, socialising is automatic. You’ve got someone to have lunch with and you interact with your colleagues (whether you like it or not). People often expect to have an exciting and fulfilling retirement, but that doesn’t automatically happen, you need to take some time to action that. Don’t wait until day one. Plan forward the social aspects of your retirement now,” Megan says.

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What I want to be when I grow up…

If you walk into a kindergarten or prep class and ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, their eyes often fill with wonder and you receive all sorts of inspiring suggestions such as an ‘astronaut’, ‘nurse for horses’, ‘adventurer’, ‘pirate’… The list goes on. Whether it’s a real job or one that hasn’t been created yet, it doesn’t matter – at that age anything is possible.

When does it change? When do we decide that we have to be more ‘sensible’? At some stage we are hit with a dose of reality and determine that we need more ‘practical’ career goals?

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Regrets in Retirement

For many people the thought of retirement can create a level of anxiety because they don’t know what to expect – what life will look like when work no longer consumes the majority of their waking hours and how they will define themselves when their job is no longer a key part of their identity. There are also the worries of what should retirement look like and how they should be spending their time. Rather than worry too much about the unknown, I thought it would be beneficial to learn a little more about the reflections of those who have trodden the path before us. In particular I was interested to know what retirees would do differently if they had their chance again.

I’ve spent time this week exploring retiree’s reflections online and so in this blog I am sharing the most common reflections that I have come across.

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Investing in yourself for retirement – you are your own number one asset

We spend much of our time at work strategising and planning to ensure that projects are delivered on time, products are developed to a high quality and we are responsive to the needs of our clients. When we talk about strategic plans in the workplace we often focus on the five year future, detailing what an organisation’s priorities will be and how it will direct its energies.

We spend all this effort to make sure we get things just right at work, so why do we not do it with our own number one asset ‘ourselves’? This is particularly relevant when we start to think about retirement. Do we stop and think to make sure that we are happy, or more importantly that we will lead a meaningful life once we exit the full time workforce?

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Life and Retirement: Reflecting on the Year that Was

Whilst life doesn’t magically re-set on 1 January, this time of year does provide a lovely opportunity to stop and reflect. So often we get caught up in the day-to-day living that we forget to consider whether how we are tracking against our goals and those things we set out to achieve back in January. I know that for some of you, you will be thinking ‘goals and targets, no thanks, I left that stress behind in the workplace!’ and will avoid associating goals with retirement. I appreciate this sentiment, but I would argue that it’s important to have something to work towards or to look forward to in retirement, something that gives a sense of direction and purpose to our days.

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What should retirement look like for women over 60?

Why is it that some women struggle with 'what's next' and how to spend their time in retirement? The prospect of retirement should be an exciting time with so much freedom, but for many women this can actually create a sense of anxiousness. It is unchartered territory – what ‘should’ our retirement look like, what are we ‘supposed’ to do?

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4 People to see to plan for retirement

In planning for retirement, I bet there are plenty of items on your to-do list! They might include travelling, playing golf, bushwalking or taking up cycling. Most likely there are some assumptions built into that list, for example that you will have good health, that you'll be mobile, that you'll have the funds available that you expect.

It is not unreasonable to expect these things, but what are you doing today to help ensure that they are the case? Too often we get caught up in the busyness of life and put off those appointments we know we need to make. We think “yeah, yeah I’ll get to that tomorrow”. Suddenly six months have passed and we still haven’t been to see the doctor, the dentist or the skin specialist.

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4 Myths About Financial Planners Busted!

It’s a theme that comes up with some regularity as I work with women to prepare for the transition into retirement- women who have great plans for retirement but just don’t know if or when they’ll be able to afford those dreams. They want to be able to write that novel, travel the world or retire early, but when I ask “what’s stopping you” they admit that they have no idea what their financial position is. Not only that, but these women seem to avoid finding out. Perhaps they fear confirmation that they will need to keep working or perhaps they don’t know where to get informed advice.

The challenge is that until you know your numbers, it’s difficult to take meaningful action. Knowledge is power and understanding your financial situation can only help to increase your financial confidence, your sense of optimism about your future and your ability to achieve a fulfilling and meaningful life after work.

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Women and Retirement – Letting go of Professional Identity

Given that Baby Boomer women are the first generation, as a whole, to be experiencing retirement directly rather than indirectly through their husband or partner, it should not be surprising that there is a lack of research into women’s experience of retirement. Disappointing - yes, but not surprising. I know that there is an Australian research project underway seeking to understand how women are coping with retirement and what it means for their identity, but rather than wait I wanted to see what information and data was out there right now.

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Planning for Fun in Retirement

Retirement life is good – you no longer have the pressure of work and your kids have likely moved out of home. You have time to finally get those jobs done like clear out under the house, and you’ve ticked off your immediate to do list. But something’s missing – that fun factor. You have the desire to do something just a little bit ‘out there’ (for you anyway) and have a deep laugh and really feel alive. 

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I'm Terrified of Retirement

Unsurprisingly you may be feeling a sense of anxiety about letting go of work. Work provides structure, it forms part of our identity, and it helps to create a sense of purpose as others depend on us for decisions, results and input. We might love the thought of never having to answer another urgent late night call or work through the weekend, but with work comes invites to coffee, requests to draw on your expertise and a family who asks how your weekend was each Monday morning. What happens when this is taken away?

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Thinking differently about volunteering in retirement

It’s not uncommon to wonder about how to contribute to the people and community around them in a way that is meaningful to us as we prepare for retirement. It’s about being community-minded and having the opportunity to impart knowledge and expertise to those who may benefit from it.

One of the first things that come to mind when we think about serving our community is volunteering. So what does (and can!) volunteering look like?

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How do I stay connected in retirement?

Interestingly, for the majority of people I speak with who are preparing for retirement, their finances are not the thing that worries them most (albeit it is up there). Rather, the sentiment shared is “what’s the point of having money if I can’t enjoy it and spend it with others?”

Becoming lonely and getting old before our time is something that many fear as they step into retirement.

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Am I worthy of being visible?

Whether it’s real or not, the fear exists for many women that once they reach retirement they will slip into obscurity. Introducing oneself simply as a retiree can feel a little inadequate. It doesn’t attract the same respect or interest as being a marketing manager, a nurse unit manager or an academic and suggests (rightly or wrongly) a less full and meaningful life. In short it doesn’t make you feel relevant. Doubt can then start to creep in – am I worthy of being visible?

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