Six things to do for a great retirement

  1. Stop spending money on what you don’t need!

So many of us believe the advertisements that talk about how we will run out of money if we retire with insufficient cash. They want to raise your anxiety that you might run out of money one day, so you need to give them more now!

But, the truth is in Australia, if you do run out of superannuation, you always have the pension to live on. For a married, home owning couple that’s around $36000. So why not try and reduce your expenditure by buying only what you need in the next 12 months, instead of what you think you want, and see if you can live on $35000 now!

Many people do live only on the pension, and they often save and travel as well, so it can be done! My mother in law travelled to Europe every four or five years while living on the pension. She stayed in back packer places and had a ball. So it can be done.

You could begin figuring out how to live on the pension on ASICs MoneySmart budget calculator here. You will need a good idea of how much your normal expenses are – such as electricity, rates, car rego, and a reasonable guess at your food costs but it is a worthwhile exercise for anybody.

  1. Give stuff away

This seems a bit contradictory to point one, but since it’s possible to live on $36000 and save some money while you do,  you will have money to give away. And even if you can’t give money away, you can always give your time, your assistance, your knowledge or all three. They say “Give until it hurts” – although it probably never will since you will get som much more back in many ways.

Of course, CentreLink wants to know when you give money away. But studies on happiness show the fastest way we truly come alive is when we help others. You can volunteer somewhere, provide care for someone else, mentor someone starting in a business venture, help feed the homeless, become a volunteer tour guide, or help teach English to migrants or backpackers. It really doesn’t matter what you do but you should choose to do something for others. You will get the biggest reward out of it. You might even avoid becoming a grumpy old man.

  1. Learn something new.

Anything!! You can take up online Uni courses through  on your iPhone or computer. I have done a few courses and loved them! If you want more options, go to Google and look for “Moocs.” You will find access to thousands of courses free!

But its not just Uni courses – you can choose to learn a craft such as wood turning and supply all your friends with wooden bowls, or you can learn digital photography or making videos of your grandchildren. You can find videos on most of these things on YouTube. If you head to your local Men’s Shed, you will find lots of blokes, just like you, who make stuff for others. They’ll be happy to show you how to do stuff. So, whatever you do, learn something new and start today.

  1. Get involved in something that really matters.

Unless you believe the world cannot get any better, there’s always a chance to do something that has great and lasting significance. Wouldn’t it be great to be part of the first generation to actually try to save the world? To right wrongs, end slavery in our world, (there are millions of slaves today – yes really!!) or to feed the hungry in your city, to help old people who are struggling to keep their lawn mown, to record people in retirement homes telling their story, then transcribing that story for their family. There is so much you can do to make the world a better place.

  1. Do what you always want to.

Maybe when you were a kid playing in your back yard, you dreamt of becoming the next Donald Bradman, or Paul McCartney, or Albert Namatjira? You may not have made it so far, but maybe it’s time to do something about your childhood dreams.

It’s time to begin whatever you’re passionate about. So blow the dust off the guitar, try writing a song or two and go for it. Get out the paints buy a canvas and begin today. Maybe it’s a bit late to learn to bat like Bradman, but you can be a volunteer scorer for the local cricket club. Whether it’s music, oil painting or starting a new business venture, you owe it to the world to give it a go.

  1. Get involved in a local network.

Another thing research tells us is that social networks are vital to your happiness. So get involved in a local social network. That doesn’t have to be a bowls club – though that will work.

Two Retired Blokes

Two Retired Blokes

You could become a cricket umpire for the local junior cricket club. You can help your local surf club, football club, a seniors group or anything else. And don’t forget your local church. They always have more things to do than they have people to do them and there are always lonely people to visit. You could simply enrol as a visitor at your local age care establishment and visit people with families a long way away or disconnected in some way. So what are you waiting for,  find something you can get into and go for it!

A list of another 100 or so things to do, will appear from time to time on, when we get around to it… I’m retired so I don’t have to hurry!

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