‘People who work very hard need to start building up other interests to make their retirement work.’ That’s the advice from Professor Gordian Fulde.
We have a dilemma. I write this sitting in our caravan in a caravan park in Merimbula, NSW. The dilemma isn’t Merimbula. We’ve been frequent holiday makers here. It’s a delightful spot on the far south coast of New South Wales. It’s also a major retirement town—a lot of retirees live here. Our dilemma is: do we keep the caravan?
What has happened to the good old-fashioned home-cooked meal? Decades ago, dinner time meant a simple home-cooked meal (meat and three veg) on a pre-set dining table surrounded by family. Protein powders, health bars and frozen dinners were unheard of and slogging it out at the gym was still something of the future.
When winter arrives in southern Australia, senior travellers (often referred to as ‘Grey Nomads’) tend to hit the road in search of warmth. From Broome to Birdsville and Noosa to Norseman, you’ll often find them in motor homes or towing their caravans taking in the sights and the warmer weather.
Working out what you want to do in retirement isn’t easy. There are so many options. Here are seven questions that may help you plan yours.
8000 days? If you retired at 65 years, 8000 days takes you to the age of 87. Some of us will make it. Some won’t. But we’ll all have a say in what the number of days we have will look like.
You need to plan ahead to retire early. That’s how John Wick sees it. He retired at the age of 51 to set out on a five-year yachting adventure in 1996. ‘I’d worked for 30 years and now I plan to be retired for 30 years,’ he says. I recently talked to him and his wife, Alison, in their suburban Melbourne home. Both were born in England.
Knowing that you ‘matter’ is important at any stage of life, but at retirement, some of the things that have given you a sense that you matter—particularly your job—are gone. On things that matter, one Swiss research paper concluded: ‘Mattering implies that people are not only connected to others, but that they feel that they are important to others.’
Living a life with meaning is more important than pursuing happiness. That’s the conclusion of Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning. She says, ‘So many of the people that I know and admire aren’t focused on pursuing their own personal happiness. They’re focused on leading meaningful lives and what they can do for others.’