Fear of retirement is real, but you don't need to

Travel is popular with many retirees, and without the need to come back for work you will have the time for much longer adventures.

Travel is popular with many retirees, and without the need to come back for work you will have the time for much longer adventures.

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If you’re worried about one or more aspects of actually retiring, then you’re not alone. Many studies and surveys have found others feel this way too. 

Planning ahead: Even if you never need it for yourself, think about friends and family who may require accessibility additions in order to enter your home.

Planning ahead: Even if you never need it for yourself, think about friends and family who may require accessibility additions in order to enter your home.

If it’s a savings concern, then it’s a conversation to have with your financial planner. Plus, they not only help people set themselves up for retirement, they can also help you stay on track throughout retirement.

If you’re wondering what you’d do with your time, here’s an idea. Think about what you would do with six months of accrued leave.

It might be one thing the whole time, like travel or a personal project that needs some time and effort dedicated to it, or it could be a variety of things that you’re currently unable to get through on your days off. 

Now, have a think about whether six months would really be an adequate length of time for that list. It’s probably nowhere near enough.

That said, a major advantage of knowing that you could retire early if you chose to, is the ability to take the risk of working for yourself doing something you are passionate about.

Diego Ferraris from Gunning in NSW applied this principal during his 50s, after doing all his financial sums first to be sure he and his wife could afford a comfortable lifestyle even if it didn’t work out as planned.

Having been a public servant for a long time, “I set up a consultancy and then I was selective about the jobs I took,” Mr Ferraris said, because he only wanted the more challenging work to keep himself interested.

If you’re concerned about a drop in social interaction after retirement, look at joining a special interest group or three that aligns with some of the things on your list of preferred activities.

This is what Mr Ferraris did when he went into full retirement at age 64, serving as treasurer at one and volunteering for another.

These can also help fulfil your sense of purpose. Plenty of groups do quite active, creative and laudable things, be it sporting or artistic in nature, raising funds for charitable causes in a multitude of ways, volunteering where help is needed, or physically creating or modifying objects for children or people with a mobility disability.

Joining separate groups can also get you and the other half to spend a little time away from each other’s company, as well as provide a few things to talk about that only one or the other of you actually experienced.

If your concern is about downsizing, then perhaps you have a collection of possessions that you need more time to use, so maybe retiring will afford you that time. Alternatively, if you’re honest with yourself, you know you’ll never touch most of it again and your home is actually too big for your needs already.

If you slowly start giving away or getting rid of anything you don’t really need, the task of moving will be much easier.

Another point that relates to your living arrangements is the accessibility for mobility aids, and not just your potential needs but those of friends too. Look at whether you can fit ramps or a stairlift, or if it’s best to simply move somewhere that already addresses this need.