Since retiring in 2007, the Chaffeys have loved nothing more than setting off in the caravan to places unknown. Retirement has enabled them to pick up right where they left off so many years ago – exploring Australia. Much may have changed since the mid-1970s when, with two preschool aged daughters, a cat and a budgie, Mail and Lois set off on a five-year working holiday but they remain as passionate about our ‘big, beautiful country’ as always.
When the couple married in 1967, men retired at 65 years of age and women at 60. And while there is no longer a fixed age for retirement in Australia, Mal and Lois were pleased to wind up work according to the old rules! Their five-year age gap (Mal will be 75 this year whilst Lois will ring in her 70th birthday in November) also meant retiring at the same time which was ideal for the close-knit couple.
As Mal says, “We did our homework with Invest Blue before retiring and all the figures came up that we could do it.”
Getting back into travel, especially through the winter when Armidale gets chilly, has been one of the great joys in recent years. Interestingly, Mal and Lois sometimes connect with couples they first met on the road four decades ago but these days, the experience is entirely different. One particular couple, who they first crossed paths with in Western Australia in 1979, have even benefitted by becoming clients of Invest Blue. About five years ago, whilst visiting the Chaffeys in Armidale, these same friends mentioned how confused they were with the financial advice they were receiving from their Perth based financial planner. A quick phone call and one appointment with Invest Blue later, Mal says their friends walked through the door with their arms in the air shouting, “Hooray”! Their friends remain Invest Blue clients today.
Mal and Lois see their planner, fellow Armidale resident, Steve Sewell regularly. As Mal says, “he sorts out our finances and gives us a clear rundown on where everything is it and away we go. Steve is very helpful and obliging and nothing is too much trouble for him.” The couple also say how grateful they are that all discussions make sense with everything set out ‘in plain English’.
For Mal and Lois, it’s nice not to have to watch every dollar as they did in the early days of their marriage when, with two young kids and high inflation rates, it was next to impossible to get ahead. It was the frustration of two steps forward, one step back that led to the decision to sell their furniture, buy a caravan and hit the road. Mal, a plumber by trade found work easily during their time away. The longest period without work was eight days with the shortest gap between plumbing jobs just one hour! Lois, a 26-year employee of Coles prior to retirement, also worked along the way.
“These days, we know we don’t have to worry about the finances. With the little bit from the pension and the little bit from the super, we know we’re doing ok. We’re no millionaires or anything like that but we’re comfortable,” Mal says.
With Lois turning 70 and an important wedding anniversary to celebrate, it’s sure to
be a great year for the Chaffeys. As far as travel goes, there are no set destinations and that’s just the way they like it. The couple tend to play it by ear as they go; enjoying the freedom of seeing what unfolds along the way and welcoming recommendations from other travellers too.
One of these days they’d like to get to Cape York, explore the Flinders Ranges and spend time on the NSW South Coast. Until then though, there won’t be too many plans in place and they’ll simply be taking in the rich diversity Australia offers. In their own words, “North to south, east to west, it’s different everywhere you go.” And one thing’s for certain, in their fiftieth year of marriage, Mal and Lois will be inseparable wherever the road will lead them.
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