Four things to do 12 months before retiring

So you are looking down the barrel of retiring soon.

Are you approaching it with glee or gloom? Regardless of how you feel about the end – or reduction – of your working life there are four easy steps you can take to ease the transition.

It’s not all about the money

Enjoying a quality retirement means exactly that, enjoyment. By any measure, people who are more engaged with friends, family and their community experience better cognitive and physical health.

If your working life has consumed much of your time, now is the opportunity to picture how you want to spend all that now-free time in your retirement.

Is there a hobby you’ve always wanted to try? A place you’ve always wanted to travel to, or even a friend you’d like to reconnect with?

Start thinking about what’s going to bring you joy and work towards that goal.

And don’t put it off. The cold hard truth is these things are harder to achieve as you age. Seize the day.

Don’t retire

Who says you have to retire? If you live to work rather than work to live, then don’t retire.

You can keep working or even just cut down your hours, or enjoy another job or volunteer position entirely.

I know a former bank manager who when he retired took up a job driving residents of a home for people with disabilities around in the facility’s bus. He absolutely loved it. He still got paid, enjoyed the easier workload and drove for a living, which was right up his alley.

And let’s face it, the volunteer workforce in this country is held up by retirees.

If the idea of giving up work is filling you with dread, maybe it’s time to rethink the plan.

Face up to financial change

Money turning up in your bank account every week or month is one of the great attractions of being employed. That’s about to stop and your life is about to change as a result.

You should sort out your finances well before you retire. Either do a tonne of research or consult a financial adviser.

Things to consider include what sort of income you will have from your super, your expected expenses and any available government support.

A good, free resource is moneysmart.gov.au which provides concise, clear information and advice but there are plenty of other free resources. They include your bank or credit union, Services Australia – they often host free financial webinars as well as having a wealth of information in their site – your super fund and your union.

If you do use a financial adviser, make sure they are registered with the Financial Advisers Register, you can check here.

The big picture

Of course it’s a good idea to make a priority of your immediate retirement, but don’t forget the long-term issues you are going to face including where you are going to live and your long-term care plans.

Hopefully you are physically capable now, but that isn’t always going to be so. Do you need to think about how you are going to maintain your home? Or what happens if your spouse is incapacitated or passes away?

Frankly I can’t wait to downsize, but I expect with today’s housing market my children are going to be hanging around for more at least another decade and I’ll have to factor another renovation into my financial plan.

Take some time to consider the direction your life might take in the last quarter of your life and make plan to make it happen.

Are you retiring soon? Have you made any plans? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: Relocating for retirement: How to choose your new address

Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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