Peter was a retired state government employee who, with his wife, had a comfortable, but not substantial pension from his super fund, plus a couple of hundred dollars per month from the aged pension.
While they certainly weren’t wealthy, Peter was worried that their funds would run out before they died. He was concerned about the increasing cost of living and was always checking the prices for everything and wherever possible forgoing things like holidays, going out with friends, regular maintenance on his house and car and anything involving spending money that wasn’t essential.
The result of this behaviour was that Peter and his wife slowly withdrew from their network of friends and acquaintances and became isolated in their own community.
They may have been making their money last longer, but they certainly weren’t having much fun.
It’s not totally surprising to learn that many people view retirement from a largely financial perspective. We are all warned of the dangers of running out of money, but very little is ever said about the equally sad issue of running out of friends, good health and happiness. When you think about it, should that fear of insufficient money be a major factor as we consider how we should spend the next 20-30 years?
The years after we leave full-time work give us a chance to redesign out lives to focus on ourselves and the things we would really like to do. Most of us have to re-invent ourselves to a greater or lesser extent. We no longer have our identity defined by our work and for many people, that can be a difficult adjustment. Our ‘real’ identity is more about characteristics like our attitude, our core beliefs, our humour, our empathy, our compassion, our integrity and our intelligence.
Once we start to think about important issues like these, we realise that our life is a lot bigger than how much money we have in our bank account. Sure, we need to be responsible with our finances, but money is just the means to an end – not an end in itself.
If you would like some information and advice on how to make your years on the other side of 50 some of the most satisfying of your life, our books can help. We have published five of them and they cover all the main issues that most people have to manage. Find out more on our web site at – www.retirementbooks.com.au