As we all adjust to a new way of life under COVID-19 restrictions, many people are feeling the impact on not just their finances but their lifestyle. For retirees, this can be exacerbated, as many common retirement goals, such as travel and spending more time with family, have been put on hold.
As restrictions start to lift, we will see some parts of life return to normal. We will begin to spend more time with locally based family again, but things like international travel may be some time away. The emotional transition to retirement is as important as the financial one, and it can feel even harder to navigate as our lives have changed so dramatically. We always encourage our clients to make retirement plans that take into account the everyday, not just the big travel plans, and that’s even more crucial right now.
Here are our tips to thrive in retirement during this challenging period and beyond.
Reflect on what makes you happy
Think about what you would like your family and friends to say about you at your 70th, 80th or 90th birthday, or even at the end of your life. It’s probably not that you liked travelling. So while it might be disappointing that your travel is on hold right now, it can also present an opportunity to take a step back and focus on what really makes you happy.
We are seeing clients of all ages revisit their life goals as a result of COVID-19 and make changes that will lead to a happier existence. It can be easy to think this is about more money, but both the research and the anecdotal evidence we see with our clients tells us that happiness is usually found in how we spend our time, not how we spend our money.
Realign your goals
Once you have reflected on what it is that makes you happy, you can set some goals around how you will achieve this in your everyday life. Think about the things that you can start doing or planning for immediately, regardless of the current circumstances. Some areas we are seeing our clients look to are:
Hobbies and new skills
From arts and crafts to learning a language, most of us have that one thing we said we would always do. While you can’t travel or see the family, it may be the perfect time to learn something new from the comfort of your home. With so many face-to-face classes off the table, there are a wealth of free or heavily discounted online classes and resources that can help you learn to do anything, from writing your first novel to practising yoga.
Learning to speak Italian might not be the same as drinking wine in Tuscany, but you’ll learn a new skill and one that you can even put to good use when travel is back on the cards.
Explore communication technology
While we can’t see the family in person, there are many options to connect online with video platforms and tools that allow you to not only see your grandkids but interact and play board games with them. Some of us aren’t as familiar with technologies as our grandkids, but if you have some time on your hands, it can be a great time to start.
Getting more comfortable with online connection tools can be great in the longer term too. They can help you connect with family or friends who are interstate or overseas and you can even use them once you are back on your own travels to stay in touch with home.
Focus on your health
With the health concerns raised by COVID-19, we are seeing more people set themselves goals around health and wellbeing. With fitness classes and gyms on hold, for many people this has taken the form of integrating their own regimes into daily life. This might be in the form of home exercise routines, long walks or cooking healthier meals at home.
Consider an ‘encore’ job
We are seeing a rise in the number of retirees turning their passion into an encore job or volunteer role. If you have a hobby or a skill that you are particularly good at, you may be able to even make a small income. Many of the skills that were commonplace in the Baby Boomer generation are making a comeback, with younger generations keen to learn skills like woodworking, knitting and crocheting.
Give back to the community
If you have a cause that is important to you, you may want to think about how you can give back, whether through your time or your money. Research shows that people who give to others generally increase their own happiness and, often times, their health.
I’ve experienced this first-hand, with the work I do with Lungitude, a charity that supports lung transplant recipients and their carers, a cause close to my heart. Giving back is a great way to leave a lasting legacy, and right now, there are many charities out there who could do with your support.
While COVID-19 has brought more than its fair share of worry, it has also provided a unique opportunity to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of life and reconsider what’s important to you. If you are keen to make the most of your retirement, understanding what really makes you happy is a great place to start.
General Advice warning
The information provided in this blog does not constitute ﬁnancial product advice. The information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your individual objectives, ﬁnancial situation or needs. It should not be used, relied upon, or treated as a substitute for speciﬁc professional advice. Apt Wealth Partners (AFSL and ACL 436121 ABN 49 159 583 847) and Apt Wealth Home Loans (powered by Smartline ACL 385325) recommends that you obtain professional advice before making any decision in relation to your particular requirements or circumstances.