Last week, I celebrated a significant career milestone. I clocked up 20 years working with my current employer.
It has been quite a journey. Like most jobs, there have been some moments best forgotten however, they are far outweighed with good times. I enjoy my work – most of the time. And that is what keeps me coming back for more.
However, when a milestone like this is achieved, it is easy to let the mind wander and start to daydream about the alternative. In my case that would be – retirement.
Over the years we have been writing for this blog, Mark and I have often written about retirement. On many occasions we have addressed the financial aspects including “how much money is enough in order to retire comfortably?”.
Like many aspects of life, there is a lot more to retirement than just money – although that is very important.
As I reflect on what retirement might look like for me, I consider it to be a journey, rather than just a destination.
When considering retirement, we need to look at it as a much bigger picture – in much the same way as we would consider other stages of life.
There is a popular school of thought that encourages us to look at our lives from a broad perspective and through several different lenses. This concept often uses the wheel, or circle, of life.
Consider your retirement in light of each of the following:
Health and wellbeing
What is the state of your mental and physical health? As we age our bodies and minds will deteriorate. However, embracing a regime of regular health check-ups – to ensure early intervention of any health issues, and age-appropriate exercise can contribute to our quality of life.
While retirement is an indicator of having left the workforce, for many, some form on ongoing workplace engagement can be fruitful and fulfilling. Not only can it add extra dollars to the bank account but sharing a lifetime of skills and experience can benefit younger generations. It is your opportunity to put something back.
But it may not be paid work, you may become a volunteer for a worthwhile group or charity.
Ongoing engagement and social interaction with others is good for the mind.
It is well accepted that retirement is not a time to stop learning. Pursuit of knowledge will stimulate the mind. Learn something new – a language or a musical instrument, or even go back to school.
Relationships, family and friends
Maintaining a variety of good relationships is the key to a vibrant retirement.
However, just because you are retiring doesn’t mean you have to become the fulltime carer for grandchildren – that is, unless you want to.
Many people entering retirement are also becoming the carers for the aged. Often, one or both parents are still living and increasingly there is a feeling of responsibility to provide care and assistance for them.
While caring for the young and the old is something many will relish in retirement, it is important to balance this with time for self.
Being spiritual doesn’t mean you need to participate in organised religion however for some, it may be a part of their life and being. Simply taking time to be quiet, to contemplate, and to meditate may contribute a sense of peace and wellbeing.
For many, retirement is a time for fun and adventure. Travel while you can and explore the great outdoors. What are your plans?
Having sufficient money to ensure a comfortable lifestyle in retirement is something that requires a lot of planning. However, the money-side of things is not a topic for this article.
Whether you have already retired, or it is something you are looking forward to in the future, having a well thought out plan that addresses a range of aspects of life, is vitally important. Having balance in life is the key if we are to avoid becoming old and boring!
Many Australians retiring today will have 25 to 30 years of retirement ahead of them. That requires some planning!