By Khanyi Nzukuma, 13 May 2022
Time really does fly, and yes, you will get there too – even though it seems hard to believe right now. As with any other journey in life, you need to be prepared. The retirement journey is not one you can make up as you go along. Many mistakes at this point can’t be rectified without the luxury of time, so this means that planning during your youth is vital.
But enough fearmongering. Journeys are meant to be exciting…
Think of all the things you want to do, see and experience. If you’re lucky, you may tick many of those items off your bucket list in your younger years. But for the majority of us, career, family and other responsibilities take centre stage during our working years, leaving unfulfilled dreams as we approach retirement. This is not necessarily a negative thing. It gives us the chance to reimagine how we see ourselves in retirement, and what we can still be, do and achieve. This can be an exciting time to try new things, perhaps start a small business, write that book you’ve always wanted to or learn a new skill or language. But to do these things, you need money and of course physical and mental health.
There are five broad phases that most people will go through, and the length of these will vary from person to person.
It follows that the more you’ve managed to align your retirement with how you imaged and planned it to be, the more at ease and fulfilled you’ll be in the final stage. No-one wants to end up feeling disillusioned and not having done the things they really wanted to do.
Industrial Psychologist and Author, Professor Johann Coetzee, cautions against focusing exclusively on the destination, at the expense of ignoring the journey. It’s important to appreciate what you have and what you’ve achieved. Try not to compare yourself with others – we’re all on our own unique journey. Look at your talents, skills and what you want to do with the rest of your life and try to build on that. If you’ve achieved everything you set out to, perhaps you’re able to give back and to help others.
Consult a qualified financial adviser to help with your planning and to act as a sounding board before making life-changing decisions. But once you have this plan in place – and don’t forget to revisit it at least once a year – don’t neglect your life now. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. Just don’t forget that you, and you alone, are responsible for the quality of your life when you stop working.
Professor Coetzee lists five key ingredients that need to be taken into account, for a successful retirement:
A few years ago, Glacier spoke to 82 retirees about their recipe for a happy retirement. The answers received were aligned with Professor Coetzee’s ingredients listed above. During the interviews, we came across a 70-year-old who went for a daily surf, a 61-year-old completing a Master’s Degree in Astrophysics and a 65-year-old who had founded a jazz band. All of them living life to the full and not sitting around waiting for things to happen. I wish the same for everyone reading this article.
* Source: Eric Paquette