Put the Spotlight on Your Retirement

By Pride Advice

Retirement means we stop working, not living. If you want to make the most of it, you need a good plan. But, as Brett Schatto writes, fear of the unknown stops many from giving it adequate thought.

It’s something we only do once (unless you’re Tony Lockett), so we want to get it right. For many, however, retirement is not an easy adjustment. Slowing down, taking it easy, putting the feet up – these common notions of life after work belie the reality that, while we may have stopped working, we haven’t stopped living. Going from a highly structured work life to endless weekends can be jarring to the system and leave us a little lost.

Here’s some news that may surprise you: your partner might not appreciate all that extra time you’re spending at home. Up until you retired, they had their own interests and intend to keep them. Don’t be an unwelcome tag-along to their daily routine. Find your own.

A successful retirement doesn’t happen by accident. It involves forethought and planning. Unfortunately, the idea of living off savings can be so disconcerting that many people choose not to think about it all.

Get your financial house in order

Fear of the dark. We like to think it belongs in childhood, but it stays with us for the journey. When we’re kids, an unlit room could harbour any number of nightmarish creatures. Fair enough, too; we haven’t been around for long, so what do we know? Maybe the bogey man is real, and maybe he’s under my bed.

When we reach adulthood, this fear of the dark transforms into a more general fear of the unknown. Just like a kid who can’t bring herself to turn the light on in fear of what she might see, many adults choose not to think about things that make them uncomfortable, things they’ll have to face up to at some stage, no matter what.

Think of it like this. Retirement is a room in your financial house. The first time you walk into a house you don’t know what to expect. You might have a vague idea, but nothing specific. Imagine what it would be like walking into a house for the first time, in the dead of night with no lights on (and you haven’t a clue where the light switches are).

Once you open the door, walk in and turn the light on, fear of the unknown is replaced with knowledge of what’s actually there. And if you don’t like what you see – the layout, the lighting, that ugly Rattan piece gathering dust in the corner – then the sooner you realise this, the sooner you can plan change.

You might have an idea of what your retirement will look like, but an idea is not reality. Hope is not a plan. To turn that idea into something that can be realised, you need a plan.

Through the advice process, we can show you what your retirement might look like if you stay on your current path. If you don’t like where you’re heading, we can talk about what you would like to see and how it might be achieved. It’s a process that uncovers all options available to you.

Food for retirement thought

Your first decade of retirement is going to be different to your second decade. The ageing process is something we all have to deal with, but it’s a privilege to experience it; the alternative isn’t flash. As you think about your future, bear in mind that being more active may mean you need more income in that first decade.

You also need to think about the rest of your life, up to and including your death (and your partners). Do you want to live on the smell of an oily rag and maximise the kids’ inheritance or do you want to spend your last dollar on your last day on earth?

In the last few years of life, your desire for steak and caviar may diminish, but if you end up eating baked beans on toast, let’s hope it’s because you like them – not because you can’t afford anything else.