Retirement is an exciting time of life – you have freedom! Without the obligations of work, you’ll reap the joys of limitless free time, flexibility and the opportunity to pursue any manner of a personal project. It’s certainly a time of your life to be celebrated.
That said, there are bugbears that can come to haunt you if you’ve not thought about how you’ll adjust to your new way of life. Think about it – making the shift from 40 hours or more of work each week to not working at all is a pretty major life change. It’s normal to feel some emotional whiplash because of this, especially when our work is heavily ingrained in our personal identities.
In this article, we’ll talk about how you can plan for a mentally healthy adjustment into retirement.
How retirement can affect our mental health
“10 to 15 per cent of older Australians experience depression.”
Generally, the prevalence of mental disorders decreases as we age, according to the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. However, that doesn’t mean we aren’t still susceptible to affective influences. As many as 10 to 15 percent of older Australians experience depression, and roughly 10 per cent experience anxiety, according to Beyond Blue. These rates are thought to increase to around 30 per cent for adults in residential care.
Furthermore, a study from the University of California found retirees experienced a honeymoon phase for a few years after leaving the workforce, followed by a sudden decline in happiness.
It’s important to understand what you should expect in retirement. While having more free time is a great thing, planning how you’ll use it is necessary to ensure you stay healthy, active and happy during your golden years.
Common issues retirees may experience include:
- Loss of identity.
- Social isolation.
- Lack of purpose.
- Financial stress.
Thorough retirement planning is key to overcoming, or better still avoiding, these issues altogether. Proper retirement planning isn’t just financial. When you work with an Invest Blue financial adviser, we’ll do more than just assess and build your nest egg. We’ll work with you to identify how you’d like to live in retirement and what needs to be done to ensure your retirement reality matches your expectations. That means creating a plan that works for your life, that considers your financial, mental, physical, and social health and wellbeing, and that is focused on your goals and wishes for the future.
Here are just some tips to help you start thinking about your mental health in retirement.
How will you keep healthy in retirement?
1. Form healthy routines
Routines can be powerful tools for mentally healthy living. Full-time work is one of the biggest institutional routines in most peoples’ lives – we start and finish work at the same time most days and that helps to fill our time, give us short-term goals and instil a sense of purpose.
Of course, retirement is all about having the free time work didn’t previously afford you, so a routine shouldn’t be too restrictive. Instead, you might think about personal goals that you’d like to work towards. These might be personal or community projects, or simply daily routines that help you feel fulfilled.
2. Wind down slowly
Retirement is rarely a single event anymore. Rather, it’s a process. Winding down your work-life slowly can help you adjust more gradually to a new way of life. This gives you time to form routines, patterns and relationships that will provide mental and emotional support throughout retirement.
A transition to retirement (TTR) strategy can help you draw savings from your superannuation, allowing you to maintain your current lifestyle while reducing your work hours and continuing to build your super for retirement. Talk to a financial adviser at Invest Blue about whether or not a TTR strategy is right for you.
Planning is key to a happy, healthy retirement.
3. Check your superannuation
Superannuation is a big one when it comes to planning for your retirement. This is where a financial adviser can really help you to identify where your super is up to and what that means for your future.
You can access your super once you turn 65 in most cases. Many Australians choose to use a combination of funding options for their retirement, that can include super, the age pension and other investments.
Invest Blue Financial Advisers have seen thousands of singles and couples facing retirement to work through a plan with them to ensure their best possible retirement. Reach out to us today or Book an Appointment with an Adviser. You can also phone us on 1300 346 837.
Get in touch with us, we can bring awareness to your situation, help you map out your coming years and build a financial plan in line with the things that are most important to you, and that maps out your cashflow.
4. Get involved in the community
As you wind down from full-time work, you can use your new time to make valuable social and community connections. Consider joining groups that help you stay connected to people, ensuring your social health is being looked after.
Communities like sports teams or volunteer groups often have the additional benefit of keeping you physically healthy and creating purpose.
Check out your local community notice board, ask family members and friends, contact your local council, read the local newspaper or jump on social media to find out what’s going on in your area.
Make regular social appointments to keep yourself in touch with the outside world or talk to your family about the things you love so they can support you. This might include them being more involved with caring for grandchildren or partaking in family events.
Getting involved with local activities is a great way to meet people and do something new.
5. Focus on your relationships
Being retired is an opportunity for you to generate ideas for how you want to spend time with your loved ones. It’s a time in your life when you can harness renewed energy to do the things you love.
You can paint your retirement picture for how you want to live and who you want to spend time with. It’s easy to jot down some ideas to create special moments.
On the flip-side, the median age of divorce is on the rise, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It’s certainly not unheard of for long-term couples to separate after one or both partners enter retirement.
After spending eight or more hours each day away from each other, switching to constantly being in the home with each other most days may create tension between you. This is an adjustment and it may be a good idea to have some activities planned that give you time out to do things just for yourself. A new way of life could be the start of a new positive and loving phase in your relationship.
Planning for your retirement can bring you closer together.
Seek retirement planning advice
The pillars of a healthy retirement are all worth planning for, to ensure your future wellbeing. If you’re looking ahead to your retirement, take the time to seek professional advice from a financial adviser at Invest Blue. We’ll sit down with you to identify your personal goals and financial situation, then help you build a strategy for a long, happy and healthy retirement.
For more information about our retirement planning service, reach out to the team today.
For help and support with achieving your retirement dreams, contact us today. Contact us or ask us a question today.
What you need to know
This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.