My retirement adventure—in three parts
My retirement adventure began when I was asked if I had an interest in writing a book about preparing for retirement. I hesitated, but was convinced by the argument that it would help me plan my own retirement—I was in my early 60s at the time.
Part 1—the book
My knowledge about retirement back then was simple: You have to have enough money. I didn’t know how much that was, but ‘enough’ was important.
I discovered a huge industry to help you prepare financially for retirement. But retirement is about more than money. I began to track down and interview people in the industry and academics who study retirement.
The best retirement comes from a whole-of-life approach, which must begin before you retire because you take who you are into retirement. That’s what Retirement Ready? the book emphasises.
The evidence is that the best retirement is planned well before retirement begins. That includes knowing what your income will be, what you’re going to do and, if you have a partner, what plans you make together.
Money is important. Of course, it is. However, if you had to choose between health and money, the choice is obvious. Money can get you a comfortable bed in an up-market nursing home. Good health opens up a whole range of options.
Part 2—so much for theory, reality hits
When I retired I was ready. The plan was set. We put off any holiday time for two months so I could get into some kind of rhythm in my life. That was important to me as I began to focus on my ‘hobby’ of research and writing.
Because of my retirement research, I figured I had it all together. Not so.
First, my body protested. I felt so weary—bone-tired, in fact. And it lasted for four months or so. It was as if my body was saying, ‘OK, you can rest now.’ And it demanded it—I had to have ‘grandpa naps’ to survive.
Then there was the sense that I had lost my identity. It was unsettling not to be sure of who I was and what I was meant to be doing now that I had the freedom to do whatever I liked.
Finally, too often I felt the need to push myself to get things done and stressed about self-imposed deadlines.
Please notice these are in the past tense (OK, grandpa naps still happen). I’m incredibly content in my retirement. I’m doing things I enjoy.
Everyone’s experience is different. Your experience will not mirror mine, just be prepared for surprises.
Part 3—the adventure continues
The publication of Retirement Ready? has added a new dimension to my experience. The most satisfying thing has been how well the book has been received, particularly by people in the industry. One has even recommended it to all his clients.
While the information for a whole-of-life approach to retirement is out there, it’s rare to see it brought together in this form. That has made the book somewhat unique and created quite a deal of interest—and a number of media interviews.
This website is designed to assist individuals in planning their retirement by attempting to keep up with the latest research, expert opinion and advice. It’s still fairly new, but there’s gradual growth in numbers checking it out.
I’m currently working about four days a week—on things I want to do. Two days are spent on retirement things, particularly the website—an occasional workshop can add to that. The other two days are mostly on research or other writing projects.
On some days it feels as if the book is running my life, but I’m enjoying the journey—even if I’m not sure where it’s taking me.