I am writing a new book, on the keys to the new retirement.

When the Commonwealth introduced the first old-age pension in 1908, only for men over 65, less than 4% of the male population reached that threshold. If you retired at all, it was to spend a few years pottering around before decline and death. Now we are living longer and healthier lives, we may have 30 good years or even more between retirement and the end of life, so the old ideas of retirement that our grandparents followed just don’t fit any more. And even if you could afford it, 30 years of bingo and golf would surely only appeal to a very diehard minority. 

There is a real sense of uncertainty, even dread, about the future amongst many Australians who are 50 and over. They feel cut adrift in this changing world and can’t see their way forward. Many think it is just their own problem and feel somehow responsible for it. But that’s not true – retirement is a social construct, not a biological necessity. If it is no longer fit for purpose, we can change it. 

My book will include the things you need to think about  when planning for this new retirement. Of course, we all know you need to organise your finances, but there are plenty of other areas  that are also important. In fact, the keys to making this a happy and satisfying stage of life are largely in your control, if you take the time to reflect before you start making big decisions.

Key areas to think about are work replacement, leisure, health, finances, self (identity, growth), relationships (family, friends) and community or spirit.

Here are 12 key questions to start you off:

  1. How much do you see your work as defining who you are
  2. How will you manage your time in retirement? Will you have a schedule, goals, and personal objectives?
  3. How will you replace the status you had in your work after your retirement?
  4. How will you satisfy your socialisation needs after your retirement?
  5. How will you develop or maintain a sense of personal utility (usefulness) in your retirement?
  6. What are the necessary and essential components of a successful retirement for you?
  7. Who is in charge of your tomorrow?
  8. How ‘well’ are you? In body, mind and spirit?
  9. How satisfied are you with your retirement savings and investment plan? What is enough?
  10. How important is leisure for you now? In retirement?
  11. Do you anticipate any changes in your relationships during retirement?
  12. How would you like to find connectedness in your retirement?
Joanna Maxwell


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