Transitioning to retirement really is a two-stage process, which is about dealing with both the emotional as well as the financial aspects of leaving the workforce.
It is not as simple as making the decision and getting on with an entirely new life. It requires planning, which is best done in conjunction with your nearest and dearest.
YourLifeChoices members understand this perhaps better than most, as we recently discovered with some of the results from the recent Retirement Matters survey.
Nearly 6000 YLC members took the time to complete the survey on a range of topics related to retirement. When they were asked what they believed was the key to making a successful transition to retirement, there were two responses that stood head and shoulders above all others – being healthy (68 per cent) and having a positive attitude (68 per cent).
The next most important aspect to a successful retirement was having a strong social network (42 per cent). This was one crucial retirement aspect in which there was a considerable gender discrepancy. Men considered a strong social network less important to the transition to retirement (33 per cent), compared to women (51 per cent).
These figures are fascinating when put into the wider context of what is happening in Australia.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, men aged over 85 have the highest suicide rate in Australia, more than double the rate of teenagers.
The suicide rate for men aged 85 and older was 39.3 per 100,000 people. In women of the same age, it was 5.7.
The figures relating to male attitudes to having a supportive and strong social network may in part explain this worrying trend.
Only 38 per cent of members considered having a retirement plan as a key aspect of transitioning to retirement, just ahead of the 37 per cent who considered a financial plan important.
Of less importance to the retirement transition were casual or part-time work (25 per cent) and having a bucket list (15 per cent).
Australian readers seeking support and information about suicide and depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. For more information on treating depression, please visit Beyond Blue.