Six surprising things about retirement nobody talks about

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Whether you’re about to hang up the boots or you’ve just entered retirement, there’s more to consider about life in retirement than what to do with all that time.

There are a few basic things that no one talks about when they retire. Where will your money go? How much time will you have? Will you be bored in your post-work years?

Here are some of the answers to those questions as well as some surprising trends in retirement that no one really tells you about before retirement.

Your early golden years may not be so golden
In a US survey of early retirees, 28 per cent of respondents said life was worse in retirement immediately after their working years.

The factors that contributed most to this gloomy sentiment were lack of income and high cost of living.

However, studies from the Pew Research Center revealed that 45 per cent of adults 75 years and older say the quality of life improves and becomes better than they initially expected, while five per cent say life in retirement is worse than pre-retirement.

Here in Australia and according to 70 per cent of 5156 respondents in our 2018 Retirement Matters survey, research shows that finding contentment after full-time work is mostly reliant on being healthy and having a positive attitude. Also, having a financial and retirement plan in place is paramount to successfully transitioning to retirement.

Work doesn’t end, it just changes
Expecting to have heaps of time on your hands in retirement? Think again. Most retirees will tell you that life somehow gets busier in your post-work years. All those activities you had planned for years, combined with all the chores you’ve been putting off for years and the people you’ve promised to catch up with will quickly starve you of time.

Then there are those who’ll start a side business after they finish full-time work. A Merrill Lynch and Age Wave study revealed that 70 per cent of people will work during retirement, retirees are three times more likely than pre-retirees to start and own their own business, and three out of five will start in a new line of work after retirement.

Where will your money go?
While some studies show that housing remains the biggest expense in retirement, our own research shows that energy and healthcare costs are the two biggest purse drainers, followed by insurances and food and drink.

Even once you’ve paid off your mortgage, maintaining a house can be a costly exercise. But spare a thought for renting retirees who’ll spend more on monthly accommodation and won’t have the benefit of owning an asset once their retirement savings are gone.

If you’ve never volunteered before, you probably won’t in retirement
You’ll often hear people say they’ll spend time volunteering once they retire, but according to the Stanford Center on Longevity, just 25 per cent of those who say they will, won’t. This is mostly because the free time they thought they’d have simply doesn’t exist.

It’s a shame because volunteering doesn’t just benefit the people you’d be helping. Researchers at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom found that people who volunteer are more likely to be satisfied, are less likely to suffer from depression, and may even live longer.

Health issues take you by surprise
According to the Nationwide Retirement Survey, 34 per cent of respondents said that health problems hindered their retirement, with three quarters of them saying they happened sooner than they expected and 24 per cent saying the cost of managing them ruined their retirement.

The older you get, the younger you’ll feel
According to research from Pew Research Center, 60 per cent of people who are 65 and older say they feel younger than their age, and just 32 per cent say they feel their age. Compare that to the people aged 18–29: half of whom say they feel their age, one quarter who say they feel older and only one quarter who say they feel younger. You’re only as old as you feel, or so they say …

Do you agree with any of these points? What surprised you most in retirement?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 12
  1. 0

    Agree with some Leon but not with others.
    American workers are not relevant here at least not yet. They are plundered ruthlessly by wealthy interests and are compliant so they get what the top end hand out: poverty on steroids. I’ve seen that in person. The country is a disgrace to freedom….which only exists for the wealthy.
    Volunteering? You need to try it. We did. They answer my wife got back was they had heaps of people volunteering and did not want any more. What they wanted was money. We know how little of that ever goes to end users so no way.

    Retirement has its assets and liabilities. That’s life. Cheers.

    • 0

      I was told that as well, Mick, “would I consider making a monthly/yearly donation ?”
      No, I would not. As you say it probably would have gone straight into admin.

  2. 0

    it’s a pity we aren’t getting the Australian perspective – US and GB very different

    • 0

      We retired 10 years ago after spending many years planning the financial side of retirement. The leisure side of our retirement was mainly unplanned.

      We find that there are not enough hours in the day. Playing guitar, (acoustic and bass) , ukulele three mornings a week, dancing once a week, meeting famioy and friends, house maintenance, daily walks and of course holidays.

      Above all being happy within one’s self is a big part of the picture.

  3. 0

    it’s a pity we aren’t getting the Australian perspective – US and GB very different

  4. 0

    My retirement starts next week !!! Let’s see what unfolds .

  5. 0

    Worst thing about retirement is that I can’t get a day off.

  6. 0

    Loving retirement. For those of you who are having trouble volunteering, try the website below. You get to live on a farm for up to 2 weeks at a time, simply helping out. It could be as simple as house sitting, gardening, painting, etc. There are plenty of other similar volunteering opportunities. I try to do a couple of these each year as well as helping out a some local Anglicare and Uniting retirement homes and dementia day care centres. I haven’t had a knock back yet.

  7. 0

    One of the things I noticed most, was the loss of status. Suddenly being a nobody. People ask that question “what do you do?”

    Another thing comes with age its the slow loss of good health. Just not feeling any good. The loss of youth.

    Generating new activities and not being to get any casual work is a difficult one, because the nest egg evaporates far too quick. No extra cash makes it hard to visit old friends, when suddenly there is the spare time to do it.

    • 0

      Charlie you are right, after i retire a few years ago. I can,t had my body clock change because you use to go to work at that time and come home at the other time. So i had to go for a short holiday to had the body clock change. That it, Okay and i start to stick to my retire plan to live on. As you know you retire means no wage income any more so it,s all come from your nest egg & investments income.
      Everything are going well than came this government change the pension rules i could not balance the spending and the income i was in big stress and fall very very sick. Untail i stop all the monthly donation to the flying doctor, care fright and the hollow eye foundation, plus my health insurance then only can get it back to balance.
      Other wise my nest egg will evaporates very quickly and gone in no time.
      This government are slowly killing all the hard working Australian and punish them with all type of rules and taxs.



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