My 'think about it' list for 2024
Many thanks for a wonderful year in 2023. Now, here's a little list of things to think about in the 'downtime' days ahead. Maybe they'll inspire you into action.
Beach, armchair, walk, meal, walk, beach, armchair, meal! That’s what my last few days have been all about, and hopefully so have yours. I’m promising myself some downtime over the Christmas period, so anything that ‘isn’t fun’ is simply not making it into the last few days of 2023. Hard things belong in 2024 (even writing my second book, which I have promised my publisher, is on hold for a few days). But, after a few days of rest, and some good family time, my brain is ticking again, and that means yours probably is too, ready to have some good food-for-thought.
So in this last edition of the Epic Retirement newsletter for 2023, I’m giving you a ‘think about it’ list for 2024. I can’t help you prepare for an epic retirement if you don’t want to be helped. So this list is designed to play out in your head over the next two weeks or so, so that when we return to full-pace in the new year, you’ll be ready, willing and able to implement your own Prime Time or Epic Retirement preparation program. I’ll be here to guide you.
Thanks for reading Epic Retirement! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
But before I dive in, I just wanted to say thanks! Thanks for a truly epic 2023. You made it better than I could have dreamed.
Many thanks! Bec Wilson
My ‘think about it’ list for 2024.
After a few days rest, my brain is ticking with all the things I want to do in 2024, so I imagine yours might be starting to too. And whilst it’s wonderful to think about getting fit, losing weight, saving money, and taking the holiday of our dreams, if we want to make it happen, we really do have to go deeper. Real power in the second half of life is knowing new years resolutions count for little and that the real rubber hits the road when you create a series of more detailed, more significant, more tactical goals for the year ahead, ones that will drive incremental success, and allow us to keep ‘building’ towards the ‘prime time’ we want to live, and land us in our ‘epic retirement’ with everything prepared.
Today, as the new year approaches, I want to plant some seeds. These are some ideas for more tactical, achieveable, and incrementally rewarding goals that you can start thinking about for the year ahead as Prime Timers and Epic Retirees. Some might fit you, others might seem irrelevant. Adopt, borrow or recalibrate them to fit you at your leisure. Let’s dive in.
Really embrace the budgeting process in 2024
If you don’t have a budget, or your budget is not a true reflection of your spending, then you are operating without ‘controls’ in your life. Yep - you’re flying your plane blindfolded. So if you haven’t already done so, build your 2024 cost of living budget, assess what you need to spend and what you want to save, and start using more ‘control’ in your life. It’s a great discipline and it doesn’t mean you ‘can’t’ spend money. It just means you wont be spending it recklessly.
When you purchase a copy of How to Have an Epic Retirement, you get access to my comprehensive excel budgeting template valued at $149, and all the instructions for building and optimising your budget.
Understand your investments and monitor them more actively
Everyone should understand how their money is invested and monitor it reguarly. I don’t care if you have the most amazing investment adviser, or you take a passive approach to your superannuation. In either case, you should have a login to the investment platform, and you should take the time to log in, understand your investments and decide on how frequently it would be appropriate to monitor their performance, then set a diary event to remind you to do so, especially if you are not in the habit of looking at them. When you look, evaluate the performance of your investments, consider whether you are taking an appropriate level of risk to achieve your goals and contemplate the fees you are paying. If you look and decide your investments are underperforming your expectations, get some advice on how you could reallocate them into better performing assets.
Set some travel and lifestyle goals for the year ahead
I know, I could have started with the fun stuff couldn’t I! Well I didn’t on purpose. I don’t want you to think it’s all just goals, dreams and ambitions. We don’t get to chase our lifestyle goals if we don’t have a handle on our budget and investments. So get them tidied up and understand the position from which you are entering the year ahead, then set some goals that FIT WITHIN your budget.
You might want to plan for a European summer adventure, a cruise around Australia, a visit to see your grandkids interstate or overseas. Or you might want to buy yourself a caravan or a new car, or renovate your home. Life truly is better when you have things to look forward to and work towards, so set some goals in place and start figuring out how you’ll achieve them, both financially and logistically.
Re-explore your sense of purpose
Are you bored by your work, or feeling like the things you do have become repetitive or undesirable? It’s more common than you might realise to ‘re-explore’ your sense of purpose in the second half of life.
Sit back and have a listen to episode 9 of the Prime Time podcast, with Barry Bloch, about ‘How to re-discover your sense of purpose’. Start then by thinking about what skills, activities and passions bring you real joy in life, and how you can go about adapting what you do during your working hours to better use them. It might take you months, or even years to lean into the shift. And it might inspire you to do further education, or to completely upend your career path, over time. But with longer lives than ever before, many people benefit from re-directing their path towards their sense of purpose and setting themselves up for a true ‘third act’.
Build some more meaningful social connections
Think about the people around you that you have real affinity with. The science of happiness and longevity shows that the power of meaningful social connections, both family love and social friendships, are a powerful force in living longer, healthier and happier lives. If your meaningful social connections are not feeling so bountiful, it’s time to get proactive. The best way to make new friends, outside the workplace, is to join communities and participate in activies that you have a legitemate interest in. That’s where you’ll meet other people with similar interests, and similar get-up-and-go.
Start a new epic pursuit
This one ties into the one above. But it’s important enough to have its own heading too. When you aren’t at work what do you ‘do’ with your time? Have you got a couple of epic pursuits that you really enjoy?
[As you can read in How to Have an Epic Retirement, an epic pursuit is a hobby on steroids - something you really love doing and invest your time and money in getting better and better at].
Well, 2024 is the year for finding one or two new pursuits if you haven’t already got enough on your plate. Think up a few crackers, go along and try them out, and remember, it’s easy to chicken out after the first time, but the best way to evaluate whether you can ‘get the hang of it’ is by trying things 4-5 times.
Think about your body - and what will make it age better
I want you to take a minute to think about the body you want to have in your 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond. Then ask yourself what you need to be doing now to set yourself up for success in having a body that can walk, run, travel, squat, process mindfully, and really be useful in your life. Don’t just think about your weight like so many new years resolutions would have you do, think about the long term benefits of good health, good eating practices, mindfulness, cognitive strength and regular exercise, and how you can get more of these in your life in 2024, for your future self to thank you for later. Break it down into things you need to do. Then, make a new, 2024 routine you can stick to to start bringing it to life.
Finally, understand your superannuation
I want you to think about superannuation differently in 2024, not as this financial structure that you ignore and abhor - but as a powerful tool driving your future success. And, just like you learned about home ownership in your twenties and thirties, I want you to learn about superannuation in your 40s and 50s - if you haven’t already.
Superannuation truly is an amazing system, designed to make your retirement better. But it’s up to you to learn about how it works. No investment adviser or friend can give you the deep benefits you will get from learning about it incrementally yourself and properly understanding it, especially in the years leading up to retirement, when you really start to try and accelerate your balance and use of super, and in the years after it when it provides you tax-free income.
You can start, if you’re at ground zero, by logging in and reading your statement, then, read the section on superannuation in my book, and explore whether your super fund offers any simple education programs to help you learn more about the superannuation rules.
That list is well and truly long enough. I hope it gives you food for thought for 2024.
If you haven’t been listening to our Prime Time podcast every week since it started (visit the website at www.primetimers.net) - I am this week going to suggest four great episodes to start on, over the Christmas break. Each will teach you things from the very best experts in mid-life and pre-retirement topics:
Episode 6: How an entire generation cracked the game of life: working longer, but stressing less, with Demographer Bernard Salt
The Prime Timers are creating a whole new stage of life: The Lifestyle Years, a phase of life that brings a new balance to work and leisure time that previous generations simply couldn't enjoy. Listen here
Episode 9: How to re-discover your sense of purpose with Barry Bloch
If you’ve been wondering about how to re-discover your sense of purpose and where you might find greater fulfilment in the second half of life, then this episode is for you. Listen here
Episode 2: Exercise for longevity: How muscle mass improves your lifespan with Jonathan Freeman
An interview with exercise physiologist and exercise for longevity expert, Jonathan Freeman. There's so much helpful health advice packed into this one episode. Listen here
Episode 4: The science behind the modern Mediterranean diet, and wisdom from the 'Blue Zones' with Prof. Catherine Itsiopoulos
An interview with Professor Catherine Itsiopoulos, author of the new book 'The Modern Mediterranean Diet', Australia's leader in the Mediterranean Diet, and Dean of Health Sciences at RMIT University. Listen here
How to Have an Epic Retirement - now 23% off at Booktopia in their ‘New Year New You’ sale
How to Have an Epic Retirement has been in very short supply in retailers in the lead up to Christmas simply because you’ve snapped it up wherever it’s been. But online bookstore, Booktopia has more stock in, and they’re offering 23% off in their New Year New You sale. Get your copy here.
One last request
If you are a fan of the Prime Time podcast, the Epic Retirement newsletter or How to Have an Epic Retirement the book, please consider telling your friends about them. We get so excited when we hear your word of mouth conversations and shared emails have led your friends to sign up - so excited! And the other way you really can help is by leaving us a podcast review (on your chosen podcast platform) or a book review (on goodreads.com).
Remember you can always email me with your ideas and feedback. I read everything and I try as hard as I can to reply with useful, meaningful insights and convos! And, I’m building a list of topics you want covered in 2024, and in my new book too. firstname.lastname@example.org will always reach me!
Have a Happy New Year! See you in 2024!