No matter how much satisfaction we derive from our career, many of us look forward to the day when we can hang up our hat and call time on our working life.
But there is more to retirement than late mornings, extended travel and more time on the golf course. And for some, looming retirement can generate as much stress as the daily grind.
In truth, retirement requires time to adjust – not only for yourself but also for your spouse and other family members.
6 Tips When Adjusting to Retirement
Hopefully, you’ve spent the past couple of years actively planning for your retirement and are ready to have a fulfilling time.
And yet despite well-thought-out plans, reality can reveal some things you may not have considered.
1. Expect Mixed Emotions
As much as you might be counting down the days before retirement, don’t be surprised to find that the final day comes with mixed emotions. Even a planned retirement can trigger emotional upset and even depression for some.
Psychologists have a name for it – ‘the retirement blues’. This occurs after the honeymoon period wears off and retirement begins to feel permanent rather than an extended holiday.
Many people find fulfillment and a sense of identity from their professional occupation, particularly if it had prestige. However, it is important to remember that you are more than your occupation.
First, acknowledge those feelings; they are entirely natural. And second, realise that there are plenty of fulfilling ways to spend your time that will give you satisfaction and purpose.
Next, make sure you have someone you can talk to – it might be a good friend or a health professional – and share those emotional ups and downs of downsizing and retiring. You’re bound to feel a lot better.
Retirement and Your Family
It’s important to remember that when you retire, your family’s routine will also change. And that can put a lot of stress on relationships.
Research by Australian Seniors uncovered that empty nest syndrome was the leading cause of divorce for people over 50. Financial pressures and retirement adjustments also factored highly.
It is important to invest time into your relationships and negotiate how you move forward together in these retirement years since you are mostly likely spending a lot more time in each other’s company.
After retirement, adult children might consider your free time to be carte blanche for endless babysitting duties. While spending more time with the grandkids is a bonus, make sure you set appropriate boundaries and expectations.
2. Maintain structure
There is comfort in routine – knowing that you must be up at a specific hour to be out of the house at a particular time to do a set job of work, then go home and start the whole thing over again the next day.
So even if you’re looking forward to the end of your working life, that absence of routine can make you feel like you’re flying through life without a net.
For this reason, some people prefer to stage their retirement by working part time for a few years. But even if you’ve finished with work entirely, it is vitally important to develop new and fulfilling routines.
That’s relatively easy for the first couple of years of retirement when you can indulge in your love for travel and take longer, more frequent holidays followed by tackling all the projects around the house that you promised yourself (or your spouse) that you’d attend to.
The key thing is to set and maintain a new structure based on the lifestyle you want to lead now and into the future. You might find yourself setting that alarm clock once more, but this time it is to go to the gym or enjoying a morning stroll along the beach or taking an invigorating bike ride.
Look for opportunities to take part in fulfilling events and activities ideal for newly retirees such as catching up with friends and family, volunteering or taking part in community events.
Having that structure will help prevent you from feeling lost.
3. Create a Realistic Budget
Given that you’ll be spending roughly 20 years in retirement, it’s wise to take the time to sit with a financial planner and work out a realistic budget to give you the confidence to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.
According to the Australian Government’s Money Smart website, you are likely to need two-thirds of your pre-retirement income (if you own your own home).
Without a mortgage and funding dependent children, households become more economical to run – although you may want to consider allocating more money towards travel or health-related expenses.
Boost your Nest Egg
Downsizing from a family-sized home to one which is more rightsized can come with some great financial dividends that can boost your superannuation and won’t automatically penalise your pension entitlements.
Land lease communities such as GemLife offer a financially sound alternative to retirement villages, particularly for people who are fit and active.
Unlike retirement villages which have entry and exit fees, deferred management fees, capital gains fees, as well as other costs, GemLife has a transparent structure – you own your home outright and simply pay a weekly site fee for the management and upkeep of the resort – similar to a body corporate fee.
And if you’re eligible for Seniors Pension you could qualify for rental assistance to further reduce the out-of-pocket expense.
These luxury lifestyle resorts also have great range number of things to enjoy, from regular social events and entertainment to sports and leisure facilities. Having these available at your doorstep means you don’t have to factor them into your budget.
4. Keep Strong Friendships (and Develop New Ones)
The most important adjustment to make in retirement is taking the time to keep strong friendships and develop new ones.
Since the working week takes up so much of our time, social isolation often increases in retirement. However, it’s important to understand the difference between social isolation and loneliness.
Social isolation means having few social relationships and infrequent social contact, while loneliness is being distressed by a lack of connection with people and a desire for more frequent and deeper connections.
Some people might be content with a degree of social isolation by limiting their social circle to a small group of people. Those suffering loneliness can feel all alone even in a room full of people.
The most important thing is to get a better understanding of yourself and your needs. But don’t forsake those important extended relationships. Look for opportunities to reconnect with friends and be ready to go out and make some new ones.
Rightsizing to an over-50s lifestyle resort makes it easy to extend your social circle with likeminded people in a place where you have the option to be as active or as relaxed as you like.
5. Prioritise Your Health & Wellbeing
Retirement is the time to enjoy the best years of your life. And a great way to do that is prioritising your health and wellbeing.
Being too busy at work is no longer an excuse to not be fit and active – and that doesn’t mean sweat-inducing gym work outs are the answer either. Taking part in regular walking groups or casual sporting matches is a great way to stay fit and meet people.
Over-50s lifestyle resorts like GemLife place an emphasis on active living with opportunities to take part in group exercise classes, sporting events, as well as being home to excellent gym and sports facilities.
H3: 6. Get to Know You
There is one common theme throughout this article and that is the importance of knowing yourself.
Without the noise of working life, bills to pay and a family to raise, retirement is the perfect opportunity to spend some time getting to know you.
What are the things you’ve always wanted to try that time and circumstances have prevented you from doing? It might be something artistic such as painting, jewellery-making or exploring your musical ability. For others it might be setting yourself a challenge to learn to surf or competing in a half marathon.
Whatever it is you do, the important thing is to live life with purpose and a renewed enthusiasm that makes retirement the beginning of an exciting adventure.
Feel at Home with GemLife
There’s no doubt about it, retirement is a big period of adjustment, but done with forethought and good humour, it can also be an exciting time. It’s your time! Time to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do, whether it is travel, living the high life or focusing on some serious life goals.
Retirement opens opportunities to plan and experience an incredible lifestyle with your home base being a GemLife over-50s lifestyle resort.
In addition to the ‘lock-up-and-leave’ convenience of a secure, gated community, you can also experience that ‘just on holidays’ feeling every day by enjoying five-star resort-style facilities exclusive to homeowners.
Unlike traditional retirement villages, GemLife land lease communities have no entry and exit fees. You own your own luxury home and simply ‘rent’ the land it is on.