How to find the retirement that best suits you

Some people take to retirement like a duck to water; others find the work environment difficult to replace in a meaningful way. Here’s what you should consider.

How to find the retirement that best suits you

Some people take to retirement like a duck to water; others find the work environment difficult to replace in a meaningful way. But maybe the latter group is just not looking in the right places for that missing stimulation. We’re here to help.

Find a part-time job
Some of the happiest people in retirement are those who have regular paid work one or two days a week. The pay might be the cream on the cake, with the sense of purpose and socialising the key motivating factors.

The balance is up to you, although YourLifeChoices Retirement Income Review Survey 2019 shows that almost eight in 10 retirees feel there should be more incentives for people to continue working either full or part-time. Impact on Age Pension entitlements was a big influence.

Bruce Manners, author of Retirement Ready? and Refusing to Retire and founder of, says everyone’s retirement is as individual as they are. He offers a four-point plan if you want to continue to work in some capacity.

  1. Take care of your health.
  2.  Decide if you want to continue with your current employer and/or retrain.
  3. Consider all options: old or new workplace, develop a small business, make a hobby your work.
  4. Start working towards that plan now.

Volunteer for a worthy cause
A sense of purpose could be as simple as using your spare time to help out at a local charity.

You may wish to volunteer at a nearby museum, become an ‘international greeter’, share your skills at a Men’s Shed, help with the operation of a local sporting club. Too often, knowledge gained over a lifetime of participation is under-utilised in retirement.

Mr Manners writes in Retirement Ready?: “A University of California-Berkeley study found a bonus for volunteers: they are 70 per cent less likely to die from heart disease than non-volunteers. More than that, volunteering can be a satisfying and meaningful way to give back to your community or to support a cause you are interested in.”

Get fit

Even if you’re working or volunteering several days a week, you have extra hours to put to good use to maintain or build fitness. The old excuses no longer cut it. And the more work you put in now will deliver greater dividends are you age.

Join a local walking group, a gym, a yoga or pilates class or start DIY sessions in front of the television or outdoors anywhere.

If you despise the thought of pounding out steps on a treadmill, tick two boxes – physical and mental – by learning a new sport or activity. Getting active can give you a new lease on life and present new goals to pursue.

Educate yourself
Brains must continue to be stimulated. The evidence is overwhelming. Consider taking a course at your local community centre or university. You might be so excited by your learning that you’ll decide to ‘unretire’ and enter a new line of work. Just be sure to think through the decision carefully.

The learning need not be formal. Is there a local art centre? Bridge classes? What is on offer at your closest library? Take advantage of anything offered by your local council.

Adopt a pet
If you’re feeling bored in retirement, consider adopting a pet from a refuge or volunteer your services at a wildlife rescue service. Be sure to consider the long-term costs involved and your capacity to provide the necessary care.

Thinking ahead is crucial to a happy retirement.

Mr Manners emphasises the need to plan for retirement well ahead of time – if circumstances permit. He says: “You need to plan to do new things in retirement. This is still a chance to experiment and to achieve new things; to take opportunities that come your way and to go outside your comfort zone.”

We’ll give the final word to YourLifeChoices member Captain, who says: “To me, the secret is to be with someone whom you love (and are loved by), both of you sharing some interests together and some activities that take each of you apart for a few hours every once in a while. Also, I think you must have the mindset that says to yourself that you and your activities are worthwhile.”

Have you found retirement to be a stimulating journey? Is it what you had expected?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    Retiring Well
    13th Feb 2020
    It all sounds awful boring to me.
    13th Feb 2020
    Must be kidding right?We can't rget a pension/retire til 67 - not much energy left now at 58yo (still working full time rotating shiftwork & struggle big time)-how the heck are we gonna be able to do anything enjoyable even by time we reach retirement/pension age, let alone keep working?
    13th Feb 2020
    Mr Rudd gave us that 67 year pension age. ALP also has some blame in our current position.
    13th Feb 2020
    Have always known how to fill my time in, was never bored. With the Universal Pension a lot of us oldies probably would like a part time job. But to get back on the treadmill just to lose half of your pay I do not find attractive. Lonely people may find that would not worry them as they go to work for company.
    14th Feb 2020
    Mariner, where do I sign up for the universal pension.

    I also have too many things to do in retirement to be bored.

    Play music two mornings a week, dancing one afternoon, teach music beginners one morning,
    gardening whenever I can, give concerts in Aged Care Facilities once in a while, read almost anything I can get my hands on and sometimes just relax with family/friends (the best time of all).
    14th Feb 2020
    Good on you Captain :-))
    14th Feb 2020
    cirdan, we have been retired for 10 years and believe life is what you make of it. You can moan and groan about it or you can make the best of it (like you, me and many other people).

    I now have other retired people wanting me to join/form bands with them. Life is getting a little hectic, however it is all enjoyable.

    Maybe in another 10 years (hopefully) we will slow down.
    14th Feb 2020
    I don't know why some people bother to read it. So much negativity in the comments! That, in its self will shorten your miserable and/or boring life. I wholeheartedly support the article. I'm 68 and retired just over three years. Never been so active in and out doors, spending regular times with friends who are also retired, every week, reading what and when I like, volunteering at the RSPCA, listening to music, gardening and travelling. So much time now with so much to do. My friends and I also work out in the gym every week and working at keeping realistically healthy is the number 2 priority. Of course we all suffer the inevitable aches and pains. Family is number 1. Get off your backsides and follow what this article has recommended instead of whinging about what it recommends. You only have one life so make the most of it.

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