By Mark Teale
I am certainly not claiming to be Moses and no, I did not have to climb Mount Sinai to collect the 10 retirement commandments.
However, over the years I have learnt a thing or two and these are the factors which I will use to guide my life into retirement.
- PREPARE – financially and emotionally, what do you want to do in retirement and how much will it cost? Retiring to sit in front of a TV is not life – it is a sentence. If you are not ready for it, retirement will not be enjoyable. It will be incredibly hard, boring and I suspect, short.
- UNDERSTAND – what your finances will support, how they are structured and what your entitlements to any government benefits are. Don’t rely on the ‘expert’ who happens to be your neighbour – talk to someone who is qualified and in whom you can be confident that the information they provide is correct.
- PLAN – look at the need for Powers of Attorney both from a health and financial position. Ensure your will is relevant and current, prepay your funeral costs and be aware of the costs and planning required for aged care (hopefully this does not become a reality). Don’t leave these decisions in the hands of someone else – especially not your children.
- ACTIVE – remain physically and mentally active. Continue, or start to exercise, buy a bike, book travel which includes a walking tour, give back by becoming a volunteer for a charity, read the classics – all those books you always promised yourself you would read and then never did.
- NEW – you are never too old to learn a new skill, language, musical instrument, art, or craft. For me this means learning how to make a surfboard, mastering the guitar, which has been sat in the corner of my living room for the last ten years, and learning French. The last one is so I can sit in a corner café in Paris and understand what the French are saying about me while I drink my flat white coffee at the wrong time of the day!
- WORK – it may be four letters but it is not a dirty word. Be prepared if required to do all types of paid work to supplement your income – packing shelves, cutting lawns, traffic control etc. I have always wanted to sit on a ride on mower and not be stressed by the decisions required to mow a couple of hectares – should I go clockwise or anti-clockwise?
- NO REGRETS – don’t dwell on the past. Try not to worry about what you should have done or not done or covet what other people have. These are wasteful activities and will just make you bitter. Concentrate on what you have now and always remember there are an enormous number of people who are worse off than you.
- EMBRACE – don’t live in fear. Welcome change and differences. Enjoy this time of your life, make sure you live every day and never think of yourself as old, just experienced. And certainly don’t let other people tell you you’re old.
- USE YOUR ASSETS – remember how hard you worked to accumulate the funds and assets required to enjoy your retirement. Don’t give your assets to your children before you have a chance to enjoy them. At the end of the day it will do them no favours, and it will reduce your income and limit what you are able to achieve.
- IGNORE CONVENTION – retirement is not a time to sit on your bum and watch the world go by. As I have said before, don’t let people tell you are too old to try, or do something new.
I am not saying that everyone should follow my set of rules, but we all should have a set of rules by which we live our lives, and our retirement should not be any different.
What are your retirement commandments? Is there anything I have missed? As ever, we’d love to hear from you.