Looking beyond the financials of retirement

retirement retirement income financial advice

23 October 2023
| By Rhea Nath |
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A former superannuation executive has warned Australia’s ageing population might be overlooking important considerations as they step into their next phase of life, which goes beyond a good financial plan.    

Some 670,000 Australians are poised to retire over the next five years, but many haven’t considered the everyday reality of life without work, according to 64PLUS director Jon Glass.

His new venture, 64PLUS, is a retirement coaching business that looks to address key issues that arise in this new stage of life, outside of monetary concerns.

A former chief investment officer of Media Super for over five years, Glass’ experience includes roles at AMP and BT.

“We hear a lot about how much money you need to retire. But there is not enough discussion about how to actually do it,” Glass said.

“What will you do on your first day? In the second week? At the end of the first quarter, the end of the first year? These are all milestones that can bring great joy – or despair.” 

According to the executive, just two out of five retirees report being happier retired than working. 

Almost a quarter (20 per cent) feel unfulfilled in retirement and struggle to find purpose. 

In the preparation towards retirement, Glass suggests having discussions with the family and household, along with recognising the vacuum that a lack of work can create for retirees’ sense of self-worth.  

“The first thing about preparing for retirement is to have a discussion with your family, with whom you may live with, as that person, those people will soon have you around the house more than they ever have before. Will they welcome that, or will you disrupt their own routine?” Glass said.

“Another key aspect of retiring is recognising that your work, your contribution, your colleagues have provided you with a sense of self-esteem, self-worth for decades.

“Many retirees tell me that once they retired, they lost their sense of self-worth that they obtained from the work that they did.”

It was a particular challenge for male retirees, he added.

To address this, Glass believes channelling talents, skills, knowledge and other unique gifts to help others would add purpose and value to a retirees’ routine. 

He said: “It doesn’t matter if it’s one person or millions – giving back and helping people can provide a renewed sense of purpose.  

“Think beyond the traditional forms of giving back, such as traditional volunteering or donating. You’d be surprised at how fulfilling it can be to impact someone else’s life in your own unique way.” 

He adds retirement can also be a period of personal transformation, discovering new interests, passions, and perhaps even setting new goals. 

Previous research by the Australian government’s National Mental Health Commission has highlighted the impact of loneliness on Australia’s ageing population, which impacts some 19 per cent of people aged 75 and over.

Glass recommends building a community and seeking a retirement coach to address this.

“Having people around you – outside of work – to do things with is also important, be it friends, family or people in your community,” he said. 

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