Making plans to enjoy retirement
It should be a time when we have the freedom to travel, study, take up new sports, and do the things we’ve always dreamed about.
Each year, more baby boomers — those born between 1945 and 1965 — face retirement. For this generation, retirement will mean something different to that of earlier generations who valued relaxation, pottering in the garden and perhaps taking an overseas holiday.
In 1950, life expectancy was 67 years for a man and 71 years for a woman, so retirement was generally a short reward for a long life spent working, often hard physical labour.
Today, machinery and technology have taken away much of the back-breaking work and people are less likely to be worn out physically by age 65.
Life expectancy continues to increase, with the fastest growing age group being aged 80-plus.
So the issue has now become how do we plan a life after work that might be 25 to 30 years long?
There are two major problems — one is financial, the other is lifestyle.
Baby boomers are used to an active lifestyle. They want to hike the Grand Canyon or go on a bike tour of Tuscany.
New Zealand Superannuation is designed as a financial safety net, not a living wage.
If we want to pursue exciting activities we will need a lot more than the government provides.
While peace of mind that our nest egg will support us when we stop full-time work is important, so too is how we spend that nest egg.
A few key areas to consider when planning your future include:
Health: Part of any lifestyle plan should include a clear strategy for staying active and healthy. Think about what type of regular exercise programme you can develop to keep you in good shape.
Family and relationships: Many people say that spending time with family and friends is important to them. However, when a partner finishes work, it’s not always easy suddenly having them around all day.
Parttime work: A number of retirees will work past 65, some because they want to, and others because they have to. Doing some sort of work, even voluntary work, can be great for mental stimulation and social interaction.
Hobbies and interests: Developing new interests or hobbies can make your retirement years both busy and fulfilling. It might be going to arts and crafts classes, tramping, coaching young athletes or learning to fish.
Intellectual growth: Our brains don’t stop working when we reach 65, so think about doing some papers at university or joining U3A (University of the Third Age). There are plenty of interesting and challenging courses.
Contribution to society: For many people, retirement is a time to give something back.
Having skills and experience, retirees can make an enormous contribution to society.
If you want a successful retirement, you need to plan for it now — it won’t just happen.
To develop a clear vision for the future you need some goals and you need to understand how you will achieve them.
Retirement — a time to enjoy yourself, so make plans.