Making the Most of Your Retirement
The oldest members of Australia’s 5.5 million strong baby boomer population (born between 1946-1965) will turn 70 this year, comfortably placing them in the middle of the nation’s swelling retiree population which typically ranges from 60-80 year olds.
This has brought the inevitable issue of retirement to the forefront of many middle-aged Australian’s minds and has led to renewed public debate surrounding retirement savings policy (superannuation), the retirement age and by extension the state of the broader aged care industry. With the current retirement age set at 65.5 years by the federal government for those wishing to access the aged pension and many Australians choosing to retire between the ages 53-58, this 12-7 year gap represents a big challenge for anyone seeking to gently ease into their golden years. So how can you make the most of your retired years from a financial, health and general wellbeing perspective?
1. Plan Ahead & Boost Your Superannuation:
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” so the age old saying goes and this is especially true when it comes to planning for your own retirement, with time by far your greatest ally in accumulating the level of savings you will need to comfortably fund your life beyond the 9-5. Many older Australian workers missed out on the full benefits of compulsory superannuation which was first introduced in 1992 when the oldest baby boomers were already 46 years of age. However if you’re still working in your advanced years or even better, facing retirement from a distance of 10 years or more, there’s still time to salary sacrifice up to $35,000 per annum tax-free into your superannuation account, giving your savings a handy boost with the added bonus of compound interest. ASIC, the federal government agency which oversees Australia’s financial system provides an easy to use superannuation calculator on their website worth playing around with to see if you’re on track to meet your retirement savings goals!
2. Cultivate Your Relationships:
Years of working 9-5 and building a career takes personal sacrifice, with that sacrifice usually in the form of your precious time with family and friends. Once you reach retirement you’ll suddenly find yourself with ample time on your hands to re-connect with old friends and family members, many whom you haven’t seen in quite a while. Now is the ideal time to cultivate those relationships which have waned over the years and it doesn’t hurt to expand your friendship circle beyond more familiar faces either.
3. Keep Active:
A no-brainer for any age, keeping active is vital to maintaining fitness and a general sense of wellbeing as you face the inevitable ups and downs of everyday life, especially as you approach retirement age. Whether you prefer to go for a slow morning walk, a fast-paced evening jog or take-up some other physical activity such as tennis or swimming; exercise will make you feel better about yourself in general whilst keeping you connected to broader society. It goes without saying, getting involved in community groups and other social activity is as equally important as keeping physically active as you ease into your golden years. Furthermore, a recent study by the Brookings Institute in collaboration with the University of Maryland found seniors who engage in volunteering activities or part-time work beyond retirement rate their happiness a 6.5/10 on average compared to 4.4 for those who don’t engage in any voluntary activity.
4. Consider Aged Care & Retirement Living Options:
Last but not least, don’t discount the possibility that one day you may need to move into an aged care or retirement living facility to maintain a comfortable existence if your physical mobility diminishes over time. The good news is standards in the Australian aged care sector have lifted significantly over the past decade or so, with many aged care providers such as Japara now offering spacious, light-filled facilities complete with landscaped gardens and personalised lifestyle programs amongst other amenities, so residents can maintain a high standard of living well into advanced age. Moving out of home doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your independence, in fact retirement living can be a very social and rewarding time of your life as you become part of another community.
For more information on Japara, our range of word-class aged care facilities and our high quality aged care services, please visit us at japara.com.au or call us today on (03) 9649 2100 for a friendly chat with one our staff.