Retirement is a part of your future, and a significant part at that!
Some people long for it and some dread it, but not enough people consider what life will actually be like in retirement. It’s difficult to consider the unknowable future, but one thing we know for sure is that retirement has become a substantial length of time.
With more people living longer, robust lives many of us might expect to have 30+ years in our retirement. That’s a lot of free time. With so many good, strong years ahead you, the question is how can you thrive well into your retirement years?
We’ve put together FIVE keys to thriving in your retirement:
1. Find Purpose
No matter your age or stage of life, living with purpose will motivate and energise you. Popular culture suggests that retirement is all about leisure and keeping busy; golf, Italian classes and cruises. These are all great things and we hope you get to enjoy these kinds of activities in your retirement. But after a living full life of working, contributing, raising a family, caring for others and ministry in all its forms, a life of leisure alone may not be satisfying.
While there is time to enjoy the fruits of your labour, the thing that will truly give meaning to your life is your contribution to the lives of others; to those you love and to the broader community. If you don’t know where to start, go to the Scriptures. What has God asked of you in your life? How has this changed or remained the same in your retirement years?
2. Make a Plan
Finances are not the whole picture, but they are an important part of your retirement. The state of your finances could be the difference between living a full life or a life of stress and worry in the future. No matter where you are in your career, it is worth taking time to look at your superannuation, your savings, your debt and your assets.
There are many free retirement tools, resources and calculators to help you gain an accurate picture of your finances in retirement. Use this retirement calculator to calculate what income you are likely to have from super and the age pension when you retire. Once you have this clarity it’s worth looking into what you can do today to position yourself to live comfortably in your retirement. If you need help, consider speaking to a financial advisor to get the best strategy in place for your future.
3. Make Friends with your Future
We have the tendency to put off things that aren’t immediately pressing in our lives. It’s natural that today’s very real opportunities, pleasures and pressures eclipse the unclear future! Your future retirement is coming and those who make time to really think about the details of that future are best positioned to thrive in retirement.
Research has shown that people who interacted with realistic digital renderings of their future selves where more willing to put off immediate financial rewards to save for the future. You can start today by simply visualising your future self in retirement. What do you look like? What is your health like? Where do you live? What are your hobbies and activities? By visualising your future self, with emotion, you are more likely to defer instant gratification in favour of building a more secure and positive future.
4. Consider Your Present Choices in Light of Your Future
Have you ever considered how your present choices may impact your future? If not, now is a great time to start! Think about your purchasing habits, your saving habits and your lifestyle choices. Do your choices give you more freedom or do they lock you into more debt and stress?
Whether you’re deciding how much to spend on new car or considering how much to save each week, the choices you make now will continue to affect your life. Options such as downsizing, simplifying your lifestyle or being thoughtful about your purchasing habits are just some of the things your could do to positively impact on your future financial security. Take time to think through what you do with your money now because what you spend or save will limit or expand your future options.
5. Keep Investing Generously
You may not realise it, but you have a wealth of resources to continue to invest well into your retirement. It may be material resources or intangible resources such as time, experience, compassion and love. Make an assessment of what you do well and what makes you come alive and find a cause, a ministry or an organisation through which you can invest.
You can give generously of your substance, time and talents. You can volunteer. You can mentor and invest into the next generation either through your family, community or in partnership with your church or a worthy organisation. You may be surprised by the impact you make in the lives of others well into your retirement years.
Disclaimer: The content of this article includes advice that is general in nature and does not consider your personal situation. Christian Super encourages all people considering their options in retirement planning to seek out qualified professionals who can provide specific personal advice.