Spice of life in retirement

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 RetireNotes.com, 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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Related articles:
Why retirement is very personal
Tax changes for older workers
Seven questions about retirement

Janelle Ward
Janelle Wardhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/janellewa
Energetic and skilled editor and writer with expert knowledge of retirement, retirement income, superannuation and retirement planning.
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