We talk to recent retiree Helen about how she is enjoying her retirement.
Meet Helen, a MTAA Super member since 2007. Having recently returned from a cruise, she sat down to talk with us about her life since retiring.
Helen says it’s important to be emotionally ready to retire as well as financially. “Ask yourself, which hobbies and interests are you desperate to get back to when you retire?” she says. “Retirement is a big decision and it’s not just a financial one.”
When did you know the time was right to retire?
“I think I got into my early 50s and started to focus on when I wanted to retire – I knew for quite a few years I wanted to retire as soon as I could. I knew I did not want to work for the rest of my able bodied life.”
What was the most difficult part of making this decision?
“I worked for nearly 40 years without a break. In the lead up to retirement it was impossible to imagine not being responsible to an employer any more. There was a tiny bit of angst – knowing it was a major life change. I know that a lot of people do retire, only to find out that all they really needed was a good rest. That’s where they will find themselves back in the job market soon after and I really didn’t want to do that.”
What does your life look like at this moment and what do you enjoy most?
“I’ve just returned from a week-long cruise from Sydney, to Hobart and Melbourne, which is something I did to relax with my husband. I’ve really enjoyed being able to do the things that I previously had to pass up because of my busy career. I’ve really enjoyed pursuing my creative interests and getting involved with my community.”
What surprised you the most about retirement?
“The most surprising aspect of shifting from full-time work to retirement was just how easy it has been. There’s been no downside to retiring.’’
A big consideration in retirement planning is the financial impact. What would you say to people who are in their 20s and 40s about ensuring they are financially set up for retirement?
“I have been a budgeting evangelist all my life. I think I was born budgeting. I don’t think you can manage your finances unless you work to some sort of framework and do some saving. You need to spend less then you earn and save the difference no matter what. Even if you are really young and retirement is a long way off. Everybody needs to be putting money away – a little bit extra into super and ramping that up closer to retirement. That’s what I would tell young people and indeed people at any age – the habits of budgeting and saving really pay off in the end.’’