Life is more than money

July 19, 2016 Zoe Woodford

Financial planner Sean Cummins gets into the nitty gritty of retirement … and discovers there really is more to it than you initially think.

“It’s the elephant in the retirement room: what am I going to do each day and where am I going to hide?”

Getting your finances right is an important part of retirement planning; it lets you know what you can afford how you’ll pay for it. 


But a healthy asset base and regular income is only part of the picture; the rest is how you intend to live your life day-to-day and manage your relationships now that you’ll be spending a lot more time at home.

It’s the elephant in the retirement room: what am I going to do each day and where am I going to hide?


Your purpose

For most, if not all, work does more than provide an income. It is a social outlet and offers a sense of purpose, which may not be easily replicated at home. According to a national survey of older workers, more than 70 per cent of Australians are willing to work beyond 60, many for non-financial reasons such as personal enjoyment, a sense of accomplishment, freedom and independence.


If you’re leaving work behind, you need to know how you’ll replace the positives.


Your marriage

You’ve spent the past 20, 30, maybe even 40 years away from each other 9-10 hours per day 5-6 days per week. You’ve lived together – and happily so – but you haven’t lived together all the time. That’s going to take some getting used to and having a plan in place – from just talking through your individual expectations to organising formal post-retirement counselling – will make it that much easier. A strategy for living through a typical day post-work is important for you as an individual and as part of a couple.


Your kids

They are now 30ish, educated and living their own life but your work as a parent is probably far from over, particularly if they’re children of their own. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, grandparents provide child care for almost one-third of children of children with two working parents. Is providing childcare part of your retirement plan? If not, you might want to deal with those expectations before they catch you napping in your easy chair.


The conclusion

The non-financials of retirement need as much planning and forward thinking as the financial side and ironically, it can be even more difficult to think about while you’re still working.


But if you’re really ready to pull the pin, you’ll lay the groundwork for your new life before packing up your desk for the final time.



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