Play 4CRB Radio Segment: How do you maintain your lifestyle and standard of living when you are not working? with Troy Theobald of RFS Advice
So you’ve decided to retire…now what?
You may be thinking, how on earth do I maintain my ideal lifestyle and standard of living?
Firstly, you need to clearly identify how much you currently spend and then what you want to spend in retirement.
There is a common fear of not having a stable income that prevents people from retiring as early as they could, and working much longer than they need to. However, with clarity and careful planning, many can overcome this fear and plan a retirement with confidence.
There are many different ways to fund a retirement income, and a financial adviser – should you wish to use one – will be able to optimally implement the strategy best suited to you such as:
- Age pension or part age pension
- Income from rental or commercial properties
- Superannuation and self-funded pensions
- Income draw-down on an investment portfolio
- Uber driving
- Renting out spare rooms through Airbnb
- Part-time work to cover the cost of living
You need to set realistic expectations. You need to identify what assets you have and what ongoing income they can generate and working with an adviser can help achieve this.
We have our dream board in the RFS office celebrating client achievements which include many amazing retirement experiences, and we want it to continue to grow. We love working with people and helping them identify their dreams, and then celebrating their achievements with them. This is exactly why we at RFS do what we do.
There are a few different aspects to properly identifying the lifestyle you want in retirement:
How much income do we need?
What will we do with our time?
What do you enjoy doing?
What have you always wanted to try?
If you retired in the last few years then you have not retired into normality. Covid has unfortunately made this process a little more difficult. It has taught us however, that we must be equipped to deal with the unexpected. How you’re prepared to deal with unforeseen circumstances will determine the ease and flow of your retirement phase. Preparation and foresight is key.
In retirement, try to be open to new things and experiences. Most retirees will have time to embrace their passions, or discover new ones. It’s worth investing some time to truly think about these important questions – what are my current passions? What can I do to explore these more deeply? How can I ensure I make the absolute most out of this chapter in my life?
Lastly, when it comes to your dreams and passions, don’t worry about what others think. This is your retirement that you’ve worked hard to achieve. It’s a time to be selfish and think about yourself.
Spending habits may need to be adjusted in retirement compared to when you were working, but it doesn’t mean your lifestyle has to completely change. Think about some of the following possibilities:
- Meet with friends over a coffee instead of lunch or dinner. It can be a $10 outing instead of a $100 outing.
- Discover healthy habits. For example: Runners clubs, walking groups, sporting groups, hiking clubs etc. Look at your local city council’s website. Many offer activities for seniors which are free and this provides a great way to meet others and stay fit and healthy at the same time.
- Reframe your mindset and habits, because for the first time in a long time you are NOT WORKING. Business clients can really struggle here as they are accustomed to turning over cars and toys, and this is no longer as easy to do as money spent cannot be replaced. By the same token, you need to change your behaviour from saving all of your working life to now spending these hard-earned savings to fund your retirement income. Finding a balance between the two can be a difficult challenge for some people.
- Ask yourself what is more important: a greater number of trips versus one business class trip? Several local trips or fewer International? Where can you make small sacrifices to stretch out those funds?
- List some experiences that you want to do, then rank them in order of importance. Then, work on a plan to afford them. Lastly, celebrate them because planning and achieving goals in retirement is a wonderful achievement.
A big question for a lot of retirees is ‘where to live’. This topic will be a whole show in itself, but some simple points to consider are:
- Do you have a great support community around you? Is this made up of friends and/or family?
- Can you keep up with the maintenance of your current home? Is it cheaper to pay for some help rather than move?
- Does where you live fit with your lifestyle or your desired lifestyle in retirement?
- Is your current home your forever home? Will it be an easy home to live in as you start to age? Are there stairs, gardens or a pool’s upkeep to think about?
- Should you consider downsizing or moving to a lifestyle community? Some extroverted people will love having others around them and the social interaction that lifestyle communities can provide. However, others may not enjoy the social side so much and prefer a more introverted lifestyle. This change can be confronting for some with the additional noise and interaction that comes from complex living.
What to do in retirement…
This is a huge consideration for every retiree that comes through our door and again, this will be another show topic in itself however, a few initial points to consider are:
- Travel is generally the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of retirees but what else will you do when you’re not travelling?
- Will you want to help out with the grandkids?
- Is there volunteer work that you would like to do?
- Are there groups that you might like to join e.g. Dance groups, car clubs, book clubs, movie clubs etc.?
- For couples – are there things you will want to do as a couple, and things you would each like to do in your alone time? This is an important question to think and communicate about.
The happiest clients I see are doing the things they never saw themselves doing 5 or 10 years ago. Something to consider…
Do you explore part-time work or something new? This has come up in conversation more and more lately, as some clients really struggle to let go of the working life OR cannot financially commit to a full retirement.
You may have been on a strong income working full time and that is what you retired from…you now only need to generate enough income to live off. Semi-retirement can require a huge change in thinking.
This can help from a lifestyle perspective to keep you active and involved in the community. We have found a lot of clients find new connections with this approach and actually enjoy working part-time for much longer than they imagined.
The financial benefits will be felt for the remainder of your retirement. This extra money that you do not spend now you can then spend later should unexpected expenses or goals arise, not to mention the benefits of additional compounding.
Maintaining a strong sense of purpose during your retirement is important and the foundation for some of the world’s most enduring cultures. Some tips we have gathered by observing some of these community groups are:
- Create healthy routines and schedules. This may include weekly sports/exercise like swimming or yoga, or meeting with friends for a long walk at the same time each week. Structure plays an important role in keeping a healthy mindset. Exercise is not only important to maintain a healthy weight but helps to sustain mobility, cognitive function, energy levels and good mental health.
- Get creative juices flowing. This is a beneficial way to keep the mind active and healthy, with things like painting, learning a musical instrument, or cooking new cuisines from international cook books to share with friends and family.
- Volunteer. Another way to fill the calendar with a regular commitment, volunteering can give you an additional feeling of purpose and fulfillment and keep you involved in the community.
Join clubs. This option ticks a varity of boxes: remaining social, keeping active and a good way to meet likeminded new friends. Clubs to consider include golf, chess, walking, dance and other social groups.
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