Six things to do within five years of retirement 24



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If you’ve got retirement in your sights, don’t make the mistake of working, working, working and then…. stopping. Your last five years of employment should be a winding down period in which you’re also working towards something – a fantastic lifestyle in retirement.

Why is this important? According to this Forbes article, a recent US study found that the majority of baby boomers are still working not because they have to, but because it gives them a sense of purpose.

Retirement can be just as fulfilling, but, like any massive life change, it needs a bit of planning.

Here are six things you can do five years out from retirement to ensure it’s everything you’re hoping for.

1. Get some hobbies

A wise man once said “every person should have three hobbies – one for the mind, one for the body and one for the soul”. If you don’t currently have a hobby, it’s time to get one – or three. The term “hobby” is broad and far reaching – it can mean anything from woodworking to tai chi, from volunteering to climbing mountains. If you don’t know where to start, think about what you loved doing in your childhood. Use the last few years of working to try out a few new activities and see if they gel with you.

2. Take some fabulous holidays

For most of us, retirement means a significant pay cut, so planning a few big-ticket holidays while you can still claim a pay cheque is a good idea. Travel to far flung destinations or those that are more physically challenging now and enjoy a more leisurely pace once you retire.

3. Build friendships

Does your social life revolve around your colleagues? Will your non-work friends still be working after you retire? Who will you meet for a coffee on a Tuesday morning?
Maintaining social connection is essential for a happy retirement, so start reaching out to friends you know have retired, reignite friendships you have let go in your busy life, and start building friendships beyond the workplace.

4. Get your house in order

By the time you retire you deserve to be living in your dream house, so make sure any renovations or additions will be complete by then. If you’re planning on selling, think about making the improvements required to get top dollar for your property. You can always do it yourself, of course, if that’s something you enjoy. Just make sure you have funds allocated and stashed away to cover all your costs.

5. Develop your financial plan

It may sound boring, but taking the time to work out how much money you will need on a weekly or monthly basis, and ensuring you are in a financial position to cover your needs is well worth the effort. In the last few years of work, have time to get your finances in order and establish your goals. Financial planning is not a dirty word and there are plenty of resources available to you to help.

6. Consider having a “practice retirement”.

Do you have long-service leave coming up? Or can you negotiate a couple of months off work to have a “try before you buy” retirement? This gives you an opportunity to test the new lifestyle you have in mind, experience a new location if you plan to move, say,from the city to a quiet seaside town, and discover which gaps in your life will need filling. Read more about how to do this in our post here.

Have you retired or are you soon to retire? What other preparation do you think is essential for a happy transition to retirement? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Heading off in my camper in February. Plans all going well. Plans I had in place when I was working got wrecked but still breathing. Best to get out there and see something rather than sit waiting to die. Which by the ay is a looooong way off yet.

  2. I am loving my retirement…after 37 years as an RN I am enjoying a very quiet life on the farm with my animals.

  3. Liveing in a lifestyle village doesn’t give one time to be sad or bored always something going on if u want to be involved

    2 REPLY
    • Yes Margaret, I have a friend looking forward to her Retirement Lifestyle Village living & to meet me often, laze about & read books etc. Well, she has several hobby classes, sports classes & games, library duty (voluntary), – I only see her twice a year so far!! She loves it. I think I should be in a Village now.

    • I live in Perth Western Australia we have lived in this village for 10 years since we were 59 so only nearly 69 now our village is from the age of 45 upwards we have dances every second month the a Sunday sundowner the other month with good entertainment we have a dinner every Friday night two courses the cost of only $7 I am on the social committee and do most of the cooking sometimes girl up to 100 people so no retirement doesn’t have to be boring mix as much as u like or have your privacy up to the individual and the houses r not too expensive as far as houses go

  4. Best thing I did before I retired was attend a 2 day course that talked about all these things. Changed my thinking on retirement entirely. I spent my last couple of working years getting ready to retire. I looked at all these areas. I made some changes in my life. Some things I did was: firstly, join some meetup groups. These were interest based eg photography, walking and foodie groups, but also meant I was making new friends. I participate as I want or join new groups as I wish.
    I planned a 6 month journey to Europe and the UK, which I am currently on, and having a ball. Planning it was half the fun and meant I could work to a reasonable budget. I’ve stayed in university rooms, housesat and used budget priced B&B’s and hotels to keep costs down.
    I started housesitting, which gives me the opportunity to visit new places at a reasonable cost.
    I started decluttering my house and when I retired spent the first few months renovating with the help of a handyman. It is now rented whilst I am away and I am thinking of spending some time living in the Sydney CBD on my return home to experience living there.
    I got my finances in order, including catching up some outstanding tax returns. I spoke with financial advisors and hope that I am in a position to retire comfortably, as long as I stick to a budget.
    Most importantly I came to realise that you need to plan and set goals for retirement, the same as you have for other parts of your life.
    So retirement for me is exciting, another part of my life to plan for and enjoy. Don’t just leave it to chance!

  5. My husband retired for a year. He then went back to work. He has been back at work for 2 years and is enjoying it. He is 67.

  6. I agree with the plan as a whole, for me it’s 70% right. I don’t see that it fits everyone.

  7. For the 3+ years prior my retirement I was working 70+ hour weeks and was on call 24/7 working as a Systems Development and Security Manager for a large group with 2,500+ users throughout NZ, China and Oz.

    As a planner by temperament I had had a plan running for the five years prior to pulling the pin.

    Twelve months prior to the projected date I had purchased a property in the northern NSW and I had tenants in it. I put my property in Sydney on the market so that it would be sold so that I could move out just after Christmas.

    And bang everything went to plan. The removalist arrived on time. I camped on the floor for the last night as I wanted to clean and vacuum before I left. Drove the 750 ks the next day and camped on the floor that night and the removalist was there at 8am the next morning.

    It took a while to get oriented with the new surroundings, I joined one of the local fishing club and got myself a casual job in the local tackle store doing a couple of days a month so that expanded the network as well. Seventeen years later I’m still cruisin. Easy, peasy. 😉

  8. 1. Win the lottery
    2. Win Tatslotto
    3. Win Lotto
    4. Get monkey gland injections
    5. Win the lottery again
    6. Get more monkey gland injections

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