Balancing the feelings of uncertainty and excitement at retirement
The process of retirement, one of the biggest phases of change in our adult lives, brings with it two polarising sets of feelings, excitement and uncertainty, often at the same time.
In this week’s edition:
Feature story: Balancing the feelings of uncertainty and excitement at retirement
The Prime Time Podcast: The great Australian caravan adventure: Here's how to make it happen with Aileen Coburn
The SMH/The Age: Better financial advice is a Christmas gift for all – especially retirees
From Bec’s Desk: Inspiration and ideas
But first, a message from our wonderful newsletter sponsor this week: Air Adventure.
Transform the way you see Outback Australia with Air Adventure
Land right in the heart of the outback - by deluxe private aircraft and experience the most beautiful and most hard-to-reach places in this wide open land with Air Adventure.
Air Adventure runs a selection of all-inclusive outback safaris by private aircraft (or you can design your own) taking you quickly and conveniently into the very heart of Australia with highly experienced guides. They’ve been doing this for over 45 years so they know all the best places to see. Browse all their upcoming outback tours ...
Upcoming Tour - The Outback Explorer - On this 3 day adventure, by private aircraft, you’ll explore ancient landscapes, visit iconic destinations, retrace history and enjoy outback hospitality. Land alongside The Birdsville Hotel and enjoy a cold drink at the bar, stay at the famous Prairie Hotel and visit the iconic Dig Tree. Find out more
Balancing the feelings of uncertainty and excitement at retirement
The process of retirement, one of the biggest phases of change in our adult lives, brings with it two polarising sets of feelings, excitement and uncertainty, often at the same time. It's a transition that brings both the adrenaline of newfound possibilities and the challenge of navigating uncharted waters. Learning how to identify and cope with the fear, and revel in the excitement can be an important process. And for a generation that isn’t always as good at acknowledging and living in their feelings, it can be tough.
For some the actual turning point that marks the entry into retirement brings a moment worth celebrating - the pinnacle moment of their lifetime of work and a jumping off point for a future of optimism. For others forced to retire before they are ready there’s no celebration - particularly those who are forced into retirement, either retrenched or due to changes in their own health or the health of a loved one they have to leave and care for. These people often find themselves lurching into the next stage, forced to confront the unknown and navigate what comes next. With that comes uncertainty that is more difficult. So today I want to take time to look at both excitement and how you can embrace it, and uncertainty and how you can manage it.
Thanks for reading Epic Retirement! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Embracing the excitement is not always as easy as it looks
Let’s start with the fun, joyous feelings of excitement. As you approach and plan for part time or full time retirement you can feel it, that curious anticipation, hope and expectation that the changes in your life that lie ahead will be for the better.
When you get to plan for it, the prospect of having more time for personal pursuits, family, and leisure activities is exhilarating. Embracing the excitement sees people look consciously for the good bits of life and lifestyle that lie ahead, and set the wheels in motion to build regular activities, set exciting goals and create a powerful community of friends and family.
To embrace your excitement and turn it into action think about these three big lever points:
Pursue things to do with your newfound (or soon-to-be newfound) freedom.
Embrace the thrill of having more control over your time. Think about all the activities you have wanted to pursue, or all the things you’ve never even given yourself permission to explore because you haven’t had the time or money to do so, and contemplate what you’d like to try. Make a list, prioritise the list and act on it. Google organisations and find out how to take the first steps into new activities. And remember, they won’t feel natural until you’ve tried them a few times.
Rediscover old passions and interests
You might have been a great artist in your youth, or a passionate musician. Or maybe you’ve always had a love for animals, or the ocean. Any of these interests, if you dig within and find them, can be built out into things to do in your retirement years that you are passionate about. The first step is identifying the old passion and reigniting it, the second step is finding groups, peers or communities you can activate those passions with.
My mum, several years ago leaned into her interest in boating and water, and joined the volunteer coastguard, finding it an excellent way to get out on the water regularly, make new friends who also liked similar things.
Make more quality time for your loved ones
Whether you’ve been a ‘family man or woman’ all your life, or you want to make the time to become one, this is your time to give it your best shot. Make time and spend time with your loved ones, do things together, get to know the grandkids (read the story about Ted in the book - it’s a doozie - he really embraced the grandkids and the rewards have been endless for him and them!)
Acknowledging the uncertainty can be harder than you realise
Whether you are choosing to retire, or are forced into it, feelings of uncertainty can be a huge part of your retirement process. You can’t always fix the source of the uncertainty, but you can manage some of the concerns and drivers.
The shift from a structured work routine to an open-ended schedule may pose real challenges for some people. And if this is you or your partner then learning to identify the feelings of uncertainty, and understanding how you want to address them is a crucial step.
Dive into your financial uncertainty
If money worries you, don’t bury your head in the sand. Assess your financial situation and develop a sustainable plan for retirement. Build your budget, understand your cost of living, and set goals you can afford, rather than dreams you can’t. And, when you’ve done the self-help work to understand your own situation, then, seek some guidance from a financial adviser, whether they be a free adviser offered by your superfund; or an independent financial adviser, either could help. Good advice really can provide clarity on your financial situation for the years ahead and help you build up some peace of mind, even if you have to live a little more frugally than you’d like to.
Accept the reset of your identity and purpose
For almost everyone, moving into your Prime Time, or shifting into full-blown retirement sets up a shift in identity that can trigger a huge sense of uncertainty. For many people, a significant portion of their identity is tied to their career and dare I say it, their skills-based job title. Acknowledging that, and knowing that your identity doesn’t have to be tied to your job, title or the things you did in the last phase of your life from a work perspective is kind of revolutionary.
Rebuild your sources of social interaction
We all know that when we retire we need to rethink where we get our social interaction. So much of our incidental social activity is tied to the workplace that this can be a really challenging and new start for people. So look for ways to be proactive, because everyone needs to feel like they belong - it’s a fundamental human need.
And know, everyone’s journey into retirement is different. Some people sail into it, without a worry in the world. While others worry all the way through it for months and years. Always remember that the key to a really fulfilling retirement lies in striking a balance between chasing the thrill of the unknown and using the wisdom gained from a lifetime of experiences. Make it epic!
Don’t forget to take the poll, above!
The great Australian caravan adventure: Here's how to make it happen with Aileen Coburn
If caravanning around Australia is on your bucket list, (and it’s certainly on mine) then you need to pay attention to our next guest. Aileen Coburn has been living on the road for the last two years on an epic adventure with her husband, in their caravan!
They retired, sold up and set off for a carefree adventure, and Aileen, who has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years, is full of insights on how everyone can afford to do it if they want to.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, and there’s certainly been a lot of lessons learnt. But Aileen has one very clear message: Just do it.
Listening to Aileen talk about it gives me itchy feet and a sense of wild possibility.
LISTEN HERE - LATEST EDITION (S1E8) - OMNY
or listen on APPLE PODCASTS
Better financial advice is a Christmas gift for all – especially retirees
Each weekend I publish a column in The Sunday Age, The Herald-Sun, Brisbane Times and WA Today money section. Read it here.
The government announced a Christmas gift for all Australians with their intention to make financial advice more accessible. Minister for Financial Services, Stephen Jones introduced a set of changes on Thursday, and while it’s not yet law, it smells positive for everyday Aussies, especially those preparing for retirement.
There’s lots of talk about what it means for the industry, but little about what it really means for everyday Australians – those who need advice, many of whom can’t afford to pay off their credit cards next month, let alone fork out $4000 - the average price paid for independent financial advice today.
But first let’s start with the back-story. The banking royal commission in 2019 fundamentally changed the way financial advisers provide their services. It used to be all about guiding people to invest into financial products, with financial advisers incentivised on trailing or lump sum commissions on products sold.
But all this changed when the Royal Commission put an end to commissions being paid to financial advisers. Consequently, advisers shifted to a fee-for-service model, and much work was done to turn advice into a profession. Many advisers decided it was too hard to meet these standards, leaving the sector with only around 16,000 to serve over 5 million Australians approaching retirement. You don’t need a team of government advisers to know that’s going to be a problem.
The package announced proposes a new two-tiered advice model to lure advisers back into the industry. The changes introduce a lower class of adviser, a “qualified adviser”, trained to a diploma level and prohibited from charging fees or receiving commissions.
These advisers will be employed by super funds, banks and financial institutions who will take professional responsibility for their advice. Simultaneously, compliance obligations for professional advisers will be simplified, maintaining a focus on serving the best interests of customers.
I’m sure many of you are counting down to seeing loved ones and enjoying some family togetherness. I’m going tobe writing my next book, for pre-retirees during the weeks ahead, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on a few things, so if you’d like to be a part of my conversations and inspiration - please fill out this form.
I am absolutely loving receiving your emails and notes about how Epic Retirement and Prime Time are helping, guiding or being used in your life. If they are, I not only ask you to email me, but also to leave reviews on the podcast on Apple and Spotify and on goodreads.com too. It really does help people find us. And thank you for telling your friends - I feel very blessed at how fast our readership is growing.
I’m also loving receiving notes about topics you’d like to hear more on. I’m keeping a list for 2024 - so write to me with any inspiration at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a commercial basis, a big thanks to Air Adventure for sponsoring this week’s newsletter. Make sure you take a look at their amazing holidays - they look superb, epic even! Their support allows me to be devoted in what I do - focussing on making this content and keeping ahead of what you need to know. If you’d like to sponsor this newsletter, reaching 24,700+ people, email me and I’ll send you some info.
Many thanks! Bec Wilson
Or you can order a book in our online shop and I’ll sign and inscribe it for you.