Getting the most out of retirement
Transitioning to retirement is a significant change in how someone leads their life. Generally as human beings at an older age we don’t handle change very well. A successful transition to retirement requires thinking and planning about what someone wants “retirement” to be and talking about this with family and friends.
Success in Retirement
Barry discussed his thoughts and research on those that have been successful in retirement.
(a) Optimism V Pessimism
Barry cited a University of Oregon study that suggests that people who are optimistic tend to live longer and have more satisfying and longer lasting relationships. Study on Optimism.
(b) Do you create positive or negative stress in your life?
Stress leads to the creation of various hormones which tend to increase arthritis and decrease immunity which typically could lead to stroke and diabetes. Those who are successful in retirement are better at handling the stress.
Happiness creates dopamine and serotonin; hormones that reduce stress.
Successful retirees do more things to create positives and fewer things to create negative stress.
(c) Are you Self-directed or Other-directed?
That is, do I believe I have total control over how I look at life? Barry suggests that those whom are self-directed tend to live longer.
Even a couple should have separate interests and meet in the middle. They should not be tied at the hip.
People need to change their definition of retirement. Barry says retirement is deciding to shift gears. It is a transition, not a destination.
Some myths and misconceptions
Retirement could be the longest phase of one’s life?
- Correct, it could represent over 1/3rd.
Will you be a new person when you retire?
- Unlikely. There is a tendency for people to continue their past actions and so retirement doesn't change them.
Retirement = 6 hours of golf a day.
- Many people think about doing things just to kill time. Doing things that you enjoy in small doses is best.
People spend more in the first three years of Retirement?
- This tends to be correct. Spending typically tapers off only to rise again in later years owing to costs of health, mobility and ageing.
Consider the important 'what if' scenarios:
- Who do I need to care for?
- What happens if I or my Partner suffers an infirmity?
Barry spoke of three types of relationships; Social, Family and Personal.
Openness and Communication
Barry spoke of the importance of open communications in family and relationships. The 55 to 60 age group has a significant number of divorces. In entering retirement couples need to be on the same page.
Questions to Ask prior to and in Retirement
- What do I want to do?
- What life do I want to live?
- Where will I live?
- How do I want to help my kids?
- How do I want to help my community and others?
- What inheritance do I want to leave?
- What are my thoughts about Aged Care?
PERMA Formula For Happiness
Barry mentioned a formula by Researcher Dr Martin Seligman. He describes five conditions that will lead to happiness at any age. His P.E.R.M.A . formula describes the values we need to pursue to achieve a happy life during our working lives and in retirement.
Positive Emotions: We know that optimists do better in life than pessimists; and self-starters tend to be more optimistic about life in general.
Engagement in Life: It is easy to just fill in time. Those who are more likely to go out with friends, undertake activities and remain mentally active tend to have a successful retirement.
Relationships: We need other people or non-people (pets etc.) who we can care for, have fun with, and to expand our horizons.
Meaningful activities: There is a big difference between fulfilling and time filling activities. Retirement is an ideal time to do work and activities that provide real meaning for you. These could include mentoring and volunteering.
Achievement: Accomplishing something doesn't have to be large. Small achievements are great, such as learning a new language learning or skill. Self-image has a significant impact on our outlook and mental health.
Here is a link to a good 20min talk by Dr Seligman that is worth listening to - Talk by Dr Seligman.
Barry mentioned various activities to assist with general happiness and wellbeing:
- MeetUp Groups all round the country where one can learn new skills in a group setting.
- Flow Activities such as yoga, walking and reading are very important in short bursts. They take you away from time and place. The concept is that an experience of enjoyment comes from being fully engaged in an activity.
- He referred to the fact that many retirees get very busy in retirement at least in the early stage of retirement. He suggested slowing down, enjoying the simple things and making time to relax.
The information provided in this Newsletter is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on information, you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decision, it is important for you to consider these matters and to seek appropriate legal, tax, and other professional advice.