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Four Ways to Make the Most of Retirement

Posted On: Sunday, July 2, 2023

Four Ways to Make the Most of Retirement

“The greatest task for ANY person is to find meaning in life.” (Victor Frankl)

Retirement. The word conjures schmaltzy images of silver-haired men in tailored suits, sipping coffee from small cups while gazing out of the window at an expensive view. Or an immaculately coiffed woman laughing on the golf course as if she has just heard the funniest joke in the world.

That’s not real retirement. Real retirement is sometimes being bored at home. It’s anxiety about your health or whether your savings will last. Maybe a sense of being disconnected from the world. Of course, there might also be occasional travel, reading, sleeping in and long walks on the beach… The point is that it’s not just a bed of roses – it’s a complex phase of life.

As a financial planning practice, we help retirees look after their money. To structure investments that will ensure quality of life for decades after the pay cheques stop rolling in. Indeed, there is no shortage of financial advice for the silver-haired man with the small coffee cup! But what about how he’s feeling? As life expectancy increases, there’s an increased need to openly discuss retirement's psychological and practical concerns with your financial planner.

We believe that your relationship with your financial advisor shouldn’t just be about money because money is really just a tool to help you get the most out of life. Here are four ways to find fulfilment in your golden years.

  1. Continue to work – or volunteer

    Being retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working completely. What it does mean is that you can work on your own terms. Consult in your field. Mentor young people. Let your former colleagues know that you’re still available for a chat. Retirement need not be a switch that is turned from ‘on’ to ‘off’. Many of our clients have tapered their retirement and eased into a less stressful and more rewarding way of life. Doing it this way gives you time to get used to extended periods of free time while still feeling a sense of self-worth and purpose. Obviously, there are some careers where retirement actually is an ‘off’ switch. If working is no longer practically viable, consider volunteering. Non-profit organisations around the country are desperate for the kind of expertise that only comes from decades of experience in a particular field – education, architecture, logistics… Even if you only apply your horticultural skills by volunteering at your local botanical garden, you’ll be getting out there, meeting new people and staying involved.

  2. Focus on your health

    You might have all the money in the world, but gaining a fulfilling retirement is more challenging if your health is compromised. Prioritise exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block once a day. Find a GP you can trust and go for your check-ups.

    Chat to us about your medical aid and whether it might be worth upgrading to a more comprehensive plan that will cover you better into old age. By prioritising health, you’re taking proactive steps towards happiness in retirement.

  3. Be generous

    One way to say thank you for the life you have been privileged to live is to give back while you’re still alive so that you can witness the joy your gifts bring. Maybe you want to portion out some of your estate to your grandchildren via a living bequest to give them a jump start. Donation tax considerations exist when doing this, but it can be very rewarding. Speak to us to ensure that you can afford donations.

    Or maybe you want to do something about the desperate inequality in South Africa – by donating to a non-profit that does exceptional work or by starting a trust with philanthropic intentions? This is also possible and can be tremendously rewarding.

  4. Never stop learning 

Keeping your brain active in retirement is just as important as keeping your body active. Continue to read and discover new things, and the world will remain full of wonder – no matter how old you are. You could even sign up for an online course. There are hundreds, if not thousands available in just about any field you can imagine. If you’ve always been a history buff, take a course detailing the period that fascinates you. Or do something more practical, like a photography course, and make that next trip to the Kruger Park even more memorable.

The bottom line

A happy retirement requires effort. We know all about it and we’re here to help – not just by getting your finances sorted but also to guide you into this new phase of life. Give us a call, and let’s set up a chat. 

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