Why retirement is a very personal journey

Your retirement is your journey, writes expert Bruce Manners.

Why retirement is a very personal journey

You are who you are, which means that when it comes to retirement, you shouldn’t try to live someone else’s retirement. You need to remember who you are.

Whatever the current retiree rage is – cruising down the Rhine, swimming with dolphins in the Florida Keys or taking The Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin – if you don’t really have an interest, why would you want to include it in your retirement plan?

This is your retirement, not anyone else’s. Naturally, if you’re part of a couple, there needs to be some give and take.

Learn from the lessons you’ve already learnt
If you’re getting close to retirement, you’ve already had quite a bit of life experience. You already know a lot about who you are. Yes, there’s more to discover, more to experience, more to experiment with, but the basics are there.

Along the way, you would have discovered what you love to do. What plans do you have for doing it, or them, in retirement?

I love to write. I was 22 before I decided to see if I was good enough to be published. That first article was published! I was hooked. Several hundred articles and a few books later, a 15-year stint as a magazine editor, and I still have the writing bug.

That’s why, in ‘retirement’, I enjoy writing about retirement.

That’s my story. What’s yours? What do you love doing? How will you incorporate it into your retirement? Or how are you incorporating it into your retirement?

When you have the time, you have the opportunity
I’ve written about retirement being a gift of time every week, but that can be expanded. There are 8760 hours a year (8784 every leap year). Okay, you’ll sleep for about one-third of them (2920 hours). That still leaves you 5840 hours to be who you want to be in retirement.

That’s a stack of time to spend your retirement your way – with your deadlines, your priorities, your passions, your hobbies, your interests, your goals – to make it your retirement.

Please don’t read this as saying your retirement should be self-centred and selfish. That’s self-defeating if you’re looking for the best retirement.

Make sure you try new things
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.

Be aware of opportunities as you plan your retirement. And in your retirement.

So let’s get back to the give-and-take between couples. If you’re part of a couple, that means some decisions you make will be shared decisions. Your partner may not be as excited about walking the Great Wall of China as you are. How will you work through that?

I can’t answer that for you because I’m not you. And it’s your retirement, not mine.

A final point struck me while browsing the book, Retirement Maze. The authors, Rob Pascale, Luis H. Primavera and Rip Roach, said: “Retirement is a full-time job. Retirement is very much about building a new life, mostly from the ground up and usually without much help. That’s what makes it such a challenge.”

Have you found retirement to be a full-time job? Are you trying to ensure your retirement is your retirement?

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared on RetireNotes.com

Bruce Manners is the author of Retirement Ready? and Refusing to Retire. He is also the founder of RetireNotes.com

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    COMMENTS

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    Captain
    1st Aug 2019
    1:41pm
    I spent a lifetime of working and looking forward to retirement.

    We did the same as others, marriage, mortgage and children. It was hard at time but generally enjoyable.

    Now we have been retired for ten years and it is a full time job, but an enjoyable job as we set the agenda.

    Time for making music (something that went by the board whilst working), visiting places we had never been before, spending time with old friends and making new ones, playing the market to try and make a few dollars so we can continue without the need for a pension and working in the garden.

    It is not a lavish lifestyle (some may think it is, but we worked hard for it).

    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.
    KB
    1st Aug 2019
    3:33pm
    Well said Captain You just need to make the most of life if you are single have a partner or live on a tight budget. Then there are many things that you can do for free, Walking join a public library and take up a book that you have thought about reading. You can save for smaller holidays. Just takes saving and planning, We only have a limited time on earth so we all need to make the most of every day..
    KB
    1st Aug 2019
    3:33pm
    Well said Captain You just need to make the most of life if you are single have a partner or live on a tight budget. Then there are many things that you can do for free, Walking join a public library and take up a book that you have thought about reading. You can save for smaller holidays. Just takes saving and planning, We only have a limited time on earth so we all need to make the most of every day..
    rtrish
    1st Aug 2019
    5:23pm
    Great article! My working life ended abruptly when I could no longer work with my supervisor. It took me a full year to come to terms with that. Then gradually I began creating a life that suited me. I walk as much as I can each day. I love movies and go to as many as I can. Over the years, my family grew and grandchildren arrived, but I don’t babysit, as physically that is out of my capacities. I am a pensioner so don’t travel overseas. But each year I have a couple of small journeys. I love reading. I go out to events when I can. I go to U3A when I’m well. Right now, I enjoy my life and am contented.
    GeorgeM
    1st Aug 2019
    8:20pm
    Quite correct that "..retirement is a very personal journey". Another reason to keep Centrelink out of it. Hence, another reason to get rid of the Broken Age Pension system and replace it with Universal Age Pension for all reaching Age 65 and say 15 years Residency, with NO tests or harassment by Centrelink.


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