Throughout my career as a financial planner, I’ve met with hundreds of people heading toward retirement. Physically most were ‘ready’ for retirement. Financially a good portion were ‘ready’ for retirement. Emotionally, there were many who were just not ready!
For many people work has been a significant portion of their lives. They’ve made friendships that may or may not last when they retire. They’ve been identified by where they work and what they do – this changes at retirement! Relationships have been structured around working life, and this changes with retirement.
Retirement will usually mean a significant change in lifestyle. The ‘routine’ that was in play when you worked is no longer there – a ‘new’ routine will take shape. Retirement is a significant life event, and should be treated with some respect and care. The right approach to retirement is critical. Not everyone can retire when they want, but being able to “choose when you retire” is often emotionally easier that having “retirement choose you”.
This means having your finances in place. Remember that whilst working you are accumulating wealth. Generally speaking, you are diminishing this accumulated wealth in retirement. Most clients say that they want to “do what they want, when they want” in retirement – and this means having the where with all to achieve this. It does not mean that you have to accumulate millions of dollars to retire with! It means knowing what you have, and how you can best use it – and getting good advice can assist with this!
Don’t be afraid to reach out to CentreLink. The income support that is offered can be a top-up for many retirees. There are plenty of ‘hoops’ to jump through – again your financial adviser can assist at times with this.
For most of my retiree clients, keeping busy is an important part of life. Many are volunteers with various groups, some join new clubs/associations and find ways to meet and greet people. Taking up a sport or a new hobby is another way many of my retirement clients prepare for retirement. Having strong relationships and friendship group(s) is an important part of an emotionally prepared retirement. Ensuring that you and your spouse are on the same page when retirement comes along is also really important. All of a sudden you might be together 24/7 – are you ready for this? Working life has (generally) meant evenings and weekends together – now it’ll be weekdays too!
Finally, I am seeing many clients who are ‘weaning’ themselves into retirement. This might mean reducing working hours/days for a period of time before finally ceasing work. For others it’s using up some (possibly long overdue) long service leave and taking an extended holiday – to “test the waters”.
Whatever you do, and however you move forward, make sure that you are emotionally prepared for retirement – not just financially.