How will I live my best life when I say farewell to the commitment of full-time work? This question is echoed in many of our most rewarding conversations with ambitious pre-retirees. Many of us are excited by the thought of retirement, spending time on holidays, with our grandchildren, and on the golf course. Our experience assisting retiring families has highlighted that the idea of a perpetual holiday can be flawed because there is only so much leisure time anyone can take before we long for purpose. You may be utilising your financial freedom, enjoying a little more luxury here and there, and keeping busy with the things you had less had time for previously. We have come to find that if you can apply greater meaning to these activities, you will find something far more valuable – a continued sense of purpose.
Retirement is like a blank canvas, and it can be both exhilarating and daunting to fill it in. Some of the best transitions our team have seen include health, exercise, and routine around fun and rewarding activities. A great place for retirees to start is to spend time reflecting on your current daily activities, specifically which ones contribute the most towards your happiness and general well-being. Think about what activities bring you the most joy, including if anyone else benefits from these commitments, such as your friends if they join you, your spouse, or if you volunteer who benefits from your efforts. After you narrow down which activities you enjoy the most, consider how they serve you both physically and mentally. Can they be more meaningful than just for fun, warranting a place in your long-term plan, or are they purely leisure? While leisure activities are essential, after five years of retirement, they may cease to serve you as much as they once did.
The notion of retirement being built around the magic age of 65, is simply that, a notion. This parameter is a societal construct that should be treated as a guide to when a person could reasonably retire from work. Our team challenge the notion of stopping work entirely. We have seen that the most fulfilled retirees have well thought through plans which include part-time or voluntary work. Returning or continuing to work, whether that be back at your previous office or in a new position, with reduced hours, can still form part of your plan if you find a sense of purpose in this space. Many of the families our team assists have sited continuing to maintain some form of work as an important backbone for their routine, somewhere to be and get out of bed for. If the thought of passing on knowledge, learning something new or applying your skills somewhere else appeals to you, your team can help map out what a pathway back to meaningful work can look like.
A sense of purpose is beneficial at every stage of the retirement journey. Even pre-retirees, looking at retirement with binoculars, can benefit from thoughtfully thinking about their post-work lives. We encourage you to think about your life and where you can find and increase meaning and purpose to your daily activities. After the travel and holidays, years into retirement, when the novelty of leisure time eventually wears thin, maintaining your sense of wellbeing is critical for your overall happiness. Financial freedom is important, but being purposeful will be the main indicator influencing your scorecard for living your best life.