‘When injury led to early retirement I started to look forward to the next chapter’

Jul 20, 2021
Rod hadn't given too much thought to retirement, he suffered his injury. Now he relishes the time spent fishing with his wife. Source: Rod Faithfull

I was born into a farming family in the early-1950s and grew up in a rural community. I completed my schooling at local schools and, except for a short time spent in Melbourne in the 1970s, most of my working life was spent on the land.

In 1999, due to family circumstances and a desire for a change of lifestyle, my wife and I sold the farm and did what some would call a sea change. The move to a coastal town opened many new opportunities. We started new jobs and for the first time regularly had contributions made to superannuation schemes. We had purchased a house on a 3-acre block and that was our home for the next 20 years.

Planning for and investing towards retirement was never foremost in my mind. In fact, for most of my working life I only had a small life savings type account, which I paid into whenever spare funds became available. The result being that we entered retirement with very limited funds and a knowledge that we would be relying heavily on the Age Pension.

Retirement sort of crept up on me. I guess I started to think about it seriously when an injury ended my employment and I realised that by the time I would be fit enough to return to work I would be eligible for the Age Pension. That’s how it happened and there wasn’t much planning in the process.

I found I was looking forward to the next life chapter. The fact I was nearing retirement age took a back seat because the realisation that we weren’t getting any younger prompted us to make another move.

In 2018, our property went on the market and when it sold we bought the smaller and more manageable property we currently call home. Life was busy during this period and looking back it was probably that which dispelled any fears or anxiety about retirement.

I am three years into retirement. In those three years we have seen the devastating bushfires that ravaged the east coast of Australia in 2019-20 and left
many in financial ruin. Then coronavirus hit and all our lives changed. Plans were put on hold and resultant restrictions became the norm.

My wife and I were determined that we would continue to make the best of it. Old hobbies were reinvented and new interests taken on. Lawn bowls, cycling, fishing, photography and painting are among the activities we enjoy. My wife does volunteer work and I have joined the local RSL branch as an affiliate member. Despite Covid-19 restrictions we still manage to do the occasional short trip away to destinations within our state boarders.

Personal relationships haven’t been changed by retirement. After 47 years of marriage we have learned how to ride the ups and downs. In general our
relationship with the rest of our family is as it was before retirement. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

A mere three years of retirement hardly makes me an expert on the issue. That said, I think it important to make the best of situations and providing good health and good fortune prevail; retirement can be a very enjoyable part of our lives.

Society is changing and so many values and beliefs that I grew up with as a child and into adulthood have been challenged. In many ways people have become
victims of political correctness and extremist agendas that are threatening the very fabric of our lives. There is little I can do about things beyond my control. I may not like it but there is much I will have to accept. I expect I will have to become more tolerant of the changes as time goes by. If I don’t I may turn into a bitter and grumpy old bastard.

Were you ready and prepared for life in retirement? How was your transition to your retired lifestyle?

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