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More joy, less stress: Why you should rethink your work before you retire
There's a quiet revolution underway - led by the Prime Timers - who want the best of both worlds sooner.
Every Sunday I write a column that is published in the money section of The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times and WA Today. And our community asked that I send it out the day it goes to print. So, this week’s column can be read in full here.
My full weekly Epic Retirement newsletter comes out on Tuesday; and the Prime Time podcast comes out on Thursdays at www.primetimers.net.
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So enjoy this week’s article which is in print in the Nine Newspapers today and have a lovely Sunday. Take a moment if you have one to listen to this week’s podcast. We talked about all the insider secrets to downsizing, with Dr Nicola Powell, the Chief of Research and Economics at Domain. (more info below)
Bec Wilson XX
More joy, less stress: Why you should rethink your work before you retire
In the grand narrative of work and workforce choices, it’s often the young and ambitious who are credited with driving change. For decades, they have spearheaded revolutions in the way we work, challenging traditional structures and seeking more flexibility in their careers.
But, there’s a quieter, yet equally profound, revolution under way, led by the Baby Boomers and Generation X – or the Prime Timers as I call us – who can now glimpse retirement on the horizon and want the best of both worlds sooner.
This revolution has gained momentum in the post-pandemic workforce shortage, and it’s all about shifting from high-pressure career work to work that aligns with your lifestyle and flexibility goals. We could aptly call it the “life-flex movement”.
The life-flex movement marks a pivotal moment in the lives of those closing in on the end of their formal careers. It’s when people start to reassess the role of work in their lives and explore different ways to get the most out of it.
While the younger generations have been at the forefront of the gig economy, remote work, quiet quitting and work-life balance discussions, it’s our older generations who are now embracing the concept of more flexible work to support their desired lifestyles.
And it’s a conversation for both those in pre-retirement and post-retirement years. Because retirement doesn’t mean completely giving up work any more. It means knowing more about your choices.
It has become obvious that the traditional work model is no longer sustainable or fulfilling for a significant portion of the workforce.
A report released this week by Amazon, Lonergan Research and demographer Bernard Salt got me excited. It provided real data on the shift I have observed occurring in pre-retirees, pointing out that the way we work has fundamentally changed for Australians across all demographics, but especially for those aged 55 to 69 years.
“The old model of 50-somethings continuing to work at a job that ‘takes’ more than it ‘gives’ after waving goodbye to the kids as they leave the family home has been reimagined. Workers over 55 are seeking out additional income, social engagement, improved workplace camaraderie and maybe even ‘meaning’ in their later working years,” the report said.
For many people, the need to keep earning money is still there throughout this phase, right up to the pension age of 67, especially in the generation approaching retirement. And beyond that, many still need work to supplement their pensions.
For those in pre-retirement now, most people know their superannuation is only going to be just enough, or not quite enough to fund a comfortable retirement from 67 to their life expectancy of 85-88 or longer.
But, the events of the past few years have driven an attitude change. The post-pandemic world has brought into sharp focus the fragility of life, urging many to rethink their priorities.
The workforce shortage, ageism and the desire to live better, and longer, have made it more obvious that the traditional work model is no longer sustainable or fulfilling for a significant portion of the workforce.
And for the new generations of pre-retirees, the new concept of retirement isn’t a simple binary choice between work and leisure. Instead, we are embracing the idea of more flexible and rewarding work during pre-retirement and incorporating work into our picture in our post-retirement years.
This movement isn’t about working until the last possible moment but rather at some point after midlife, actively choosing work that aligns with personal interests and allows for a more relaxed, flexible, and enjoyable lifestyle.
This article continues here on The Sydney Morning Herald and includes tips for those considering changing up their work. It’s free to access the article - you may need to register.
Have you changed up your work life for more flexibility or to better suit your pre-retirement and retirement goals? Tell us about it in the comments here - you might just give someone else the insight or feedback they need!
Prime Time Podcast: The insider secrets to downsizing your home
The third episode of Prime Time with Bec Wilson is all about your home and downsizing and how that could be changing the great Australian dream for the generation that created it. I chat with Dr. Nicola Powell, the Chief of Research and Economics at Domain, Australia’s leading property marketplace, about how downsizer trends are changing.
The dynamics of the housing market are clearly shifting as the new generation of downsizers are entering the market. And it makes for a terrific conversation, about where people want to live in the next stages of life, what they want from their homes, and how the quarter acre block that used to be the Australian Dream might in fact be ready for change.
LISTEN HERE - LATEST EDITION (S1E3) - OMNY
or listen on APPLE PODCASTS
Here’s some highlights:
One of the two key drivers of our housing markets in the years to come is the changing demographics. How the Baby Boomer’s desires are shifting away from the quarter acre block in the inner or middle ring suburbs.
Housing rich, cash poor - the median prices that are driving the prime opportunity for downsizers.
The behaviour we are seeing from downsizers is changing to be more local to the areas they’ve lived in for years, but the downsizing stock isn’t necessarily available in their preferred areas.
Why people are continuing to live in homes that don’t suit their needs. Is there a role for government in densifying our cities to accommodate the changing demand.
The downsizer contribution, an incentive to drive people to consider downsizing, and how it works.
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