While over 3.6 million Australians currently retired, most of us look forward to finally retiring and see it as a pleasurable time that will reward us for all our hard work.
It’s the time where we can relax and be at a slower pace, or alternatively do all the things we’ve never had time to do. But whatever your view is of the perfect retirement, there are times when the reality doesn’t quite match our expectations. The reality and even uncertainty can impact on our wellbeing. There are some important things to watch out for and ways you can overcome any pitfalls that come with retirement.
Living On Reduced Income
Whether you have retired at 65 or older, or been able to take early retirement, for some people adjusting to a drop in income can be difficult. Retirement, and early retirement, in particular, may have its perks, but to ensure you can enjoy a comfortable retirement you need to have your finances in order. If you find that your retirement savings are falling short, then look at where you can cut back in your spending. A regular budget review will also help you stay on track and look at where you can make positive changes.
Struggling With Boredom
Often, when someone first retires, there’s an initial honeymoon period when they do some of the things they’ve been looking forward to like moving into their retirement home, travelling or just enjoying their new free time and relaxing. But the novelty can so wear off and you will likely find yourself with a lot of extra time on your hands and with nothing to do. People are generally happier when they are busy with activities that are important to them and provide a sense of accomplishment.
Work on livening up your retirement time by finding new interests. Perhaps take up a new hobby or sport, or a volunteer job or helping to look after your grandchildren. Build a schedule around your new important activities and you will feel more engaged.
Overcoming Retirement Loneliness
Loneliness can have a huge impact on health and wellbeing and in some cases can lead to depression. So good friendships are very important in retirement. When you give up work, you will no longer see your work friends each day. You may also find that some of your other friends are either still working or busy with their own retirement plans and your children are occupied with their own family, while also working.
People experience overall better mental wellness when they feel part of a community, with a network of friends and family around them. It’s therefore important that you are open to new experiences. This includes meeting new people, perhaps through social events or your local church. You could join an adult education class or a book group where you’ll have the opportunity to meet a variety of new and interesting people.
Retirement might be something that we all look forward to it, but it is also a huge turning point in our lives. Retirement often takes a lot of adjusting. Learning to adapt to living on a lower income, making sure you fill all the extra free time you now have and dealing with loneliness can often occur when people leave work. But by learning how to overcome these pitfalls, you can enjoy a happy, healthy and fulfilling retirement.
This article was kindly written and contributed by Cassie Steele.