We need to realise there is no golden age or time for retirement 36



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Three weeks ago a dear friend was made redundant. She had planned on working full time for about another six months before retiring yet this new lifestyle had been thrust upon her unexpectedly.

She was very unhappy about it. While she had enough money to retire comfortably and live to be at least 100, she felt like she wasn’t ready. When I questioned her on why, she said because she read that working for 48 years was an ideal amount of time and the redundancy had cut that just a little short.

I can understand her feelings completely – a change that significant without warning is scary and change is something that we all struggle to deal with. But thinking about Heather made me believe that there isn’t really a “right” time for us to retire despite what the magazines tell us.

There’s no golden age, there’s no set amount of money you need to have before you make the decision final and there’s nothing that will completely replace employment. So why are we told to wait for that “right” time based on these things?

In Heather’s case, simply having a “right” time made her life more difficult than necessary when the unexpected redundancy came. So after thinking about it, I developed my own set of rules to help people find their own “right” time to retire.


1. When you feel comfortable with your finances and lifestyle

When you are happy that you can finance your quality of life throughout retirement at a balanced level with some security for the “just in case” moments, that is when you should be comfortable with the idea of retiring. Not because an accountant told you about a golden number that your bank and super accounts should read. It should be an amount that suits you, your choices and the lifestyle you want to live.

2. When you have enough planned that you can relax while stay healthy and connected

Retiring and just doing nothing can be difficult especially if you suddenly lose isolation. If you have commitments that allow for you to relax and enjoy your newfound free time while keeping healthy, active and socially connected. Having an amount of commitments that suit you to regular exercise, social events and hobbies before you retire means you can have a happy transition.

3. When you know how you want to spend your newfound free time

If you know that you want to give back and volunteer, if you know that you want to travel, if you know that you want to start a business venture or dedicate your time to a sport or hobby that you love, that is when you should retire. Retiring with no plan can lead to a lack of engagement, boredom and depression. By having goals and a list of things you want to do and achieve to give you purpose you will enjoy this new phase.

So when you’re thinking about retirement, don’t base your plans around someone else’s advice or numbers. Base your plans on what is right for you, base your plans on what will help you to find a lifestyle that is happy, healthy and gives you purpose.

How did you decide to retire? When did you do it and what factors did you consider when making the decision? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. In the last 2 years I gained 30 pounds, I really like to eat and drink beer on weekends, after all who doesn’t like.
    Bad now I’ve managed to lose 25 pounds with the method I learned in this website here www. 7wsx .com

    1 REPLY
  2. I was forced into retirement. My wife was diagnosed with cancer and was facing two years of treatment. My time in the workforce was up even though after forty nine years I still enjoyed working. We were not millionaires by any means at this stage. We had a lovely home with a large garden. We summed the situation up and decided to downsize and move into an over 55s retirement resort.
    After two years of treatment, and being positive my wife has been given the all clear. We are now living life to the fullest house sitting looking after other people’s homes when they go away.
    Things have worked out fine for us, and believe me if you worry about how much money you need to have to retire, you will probably never retire.
    Your health is the most important thing. Without your health you cannot enjoy anything.
    Things could not be better for us. Stuff what other people think and do and how much money they have got we do our own thing. BEING RETIRED IS JUST GREAT.

    4 REPLY
    • Well said David,I totally agree with you. My husband had a stroke 12 years ago,we both had to give up work the day he had his stroke. He was a shearer and I was a carer.I gave up work to care for him. We are both happy with our lives and wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • Sounds like it’s a bit like getting married or having children. Just take a deep breath and do it with your fingers crossed

    • Yep, sad if you have to retire under those circumstances, if you only had a few years to your official retirement…but hope your wife makes a great recovery…it would have been nice for you to retire…at 65.

  3. I made the decision to retire one day and have never regretted it. It was on my terms and I had planned because I knew the time was near. I was given lots of well meaning advice but I did what felt right for me and I have never regretted down sizing and moving closer to family. I need far less money in retirement …. Now only fill the car with petrol once a month and need less clothes so feel really comfortabLe.

  4. Agree with David, my dear sister scrimped and saved and built up assets then passed on very quickly at age 66 from cancer, huge unexpected disaster. Enjoy every day, you don’t need lots of $$$ to have a fun filled life just a great attitude.

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  5. That is a left hand drive car so how could it represent Australia and its retirees

    1 REPLY
    • Read the words

      1 REPLY
      • BS!
        Many classic cars are being imported into Australia from the hot dry parts of the USA.

        I’m not certain what that vehicle is…….. Sunbeam Alpine, or even a Tiger???


        The authorities, with remarkable prescience, have allowed LHD vehicles to be registered for Victorian roads often at favorable rates if over 30 years old.

        Now! Go catch a butterfly & pull its wings off.

  6. We had several good friends and family who barely got past 60 before they died. They never got to use any of the money they had put away for retirement. It’s a con job generalising with an age, it’s so highly individual health wise.

  7. Retired at 65 and love it but three years later am looking for job all the activities I do are great but I want something to think about so back to school

  8. Love being retired. ..have more time for family esp. Grandkids and doing what l want when l want. Worked and volunteered for many years. ..now it’s my time before I can’t anymore. .. 🙂

  9. I retired at 64. Was planning to go until 65 or even 70 but the company re-structured and it was awful, so on the spot one day just decided enough was enough. Never regretted it for a second. Husband retired too, so living life to the full (having both had two lots of cancer). Health is more precious than money. Retire to suit yourself, no-one else.

  10. Husband and I are retiring this year. I started working at 15 and will be 63 this year. I stopped work to be a stay at home Mum for 6 years, so fall short of someone’s perception of 48 years being the desired length of time spent working…where do they get these figures from? We have had mixed responses to our plans. Some people perceive we will hate being together, miss working and generally be miserable. Many friends are already retired and we will enjoy catching up with them more regularly than time currently allows, volunteer, garden, sew, read and do all those things we hardly manage now. Oh and also make looking at the clock a thing of the past! Six Saturday’s and One Sunday, here we come!

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    • Best decision of your lives! The best thing about retirement I found was that awful feeling of urgency you had most of the time, without even realizing it was there, until suddenly……the sense of freedom and relief is wonderful! Enjoy it, you’ve both earned it!

  11. I did not choose to retire when I did because of a car accident. Do what suits you and your circumstances. You’ll certainly be given a lot of gratuitous advice, much of it very well meant.

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