Follow these 5 simple tips for a healthy, happy retirement

Liz_M_headshot_WEB 2014By Liz Maroney, Westlawn Wealth Adviser
18 June 2014

Your retirement years offer the opportunity to relax, rejuvenate and focus on the people and activities that matter most as you wave goodbye forever to the stresses of working life.

But unfortunately, the reality of retirement doesn’t always live up to our lofty expectations.

Boredom, loneliness and a lack of purpose can affect a retiree’s appetite for life and their overall wellbeing. Worse still, it can lead to depression and other health issues, both psychological and physical.

But, by understanding and preparing for the significant life change that comes with retirement, you can avoid the blues and make this a time to enjoy.

Whether you’ve recently retired, you’re looking to retire in the new financial year, or you’re contemplating life after work in the near future, these 5 simple tips will help you lead a healthy, happy retirement.

1.    Contribute to your community, volunteer

You may no longer be working, but you can still make a positive contribution to your community. For many, one of the pleasures of retirement is having the time to get involved in and supporting worthy causes. Volunteering for your favourite charity or community organisation can be hugely rewarding and a great opportunity to use the knowledge and experience you’ve gained during all those years in the workforce.

For volunteering opportunities close to you, check out Volunteering Australia.

2. Stimulate your brain, learn a new skill

You’ve heard the term “use it or lose it” and it certainly applies to your brain. You’ll now need to replace all that intellectual stimulation you received while at work.

Remember, it’s never too late to learn a new skill, or to brush up on a subject you may have become a little rusty in over the years … like your school French, for example.

To find out what courses are available in your area, start with Adult Learning Australia or contact your local council.

3. Stay connected, make new friends

Connecting with family and friends, and forming new friendships, will help ensure your retirement is happy and fulfilling.

If you’re a bloke and looking for some companionship along with the opportunity to work with your hands, why not join your local Men’s Shed … or even start up your own.

And for the ladies, why not join a craft group, yoga class or try aqua aerobics? Your local council should be able to assist.

Or, if you and your spouse want to meet new friends while also getting a healthy dose of exercise and sunshine, why not join your local bowling club – which leads us into our next tip.

4. Look after your health, stay active

We’re all aware that regular exercise and mental stimulation are critical to staying healthy.

An early morning walk, a regular swim or solving the daily crossword can all help keep your mind and body in good shape. Sticking to a healthy diet with plenty of vitamin-rich fruits and vegies is also important. And of course, regular medical check-ups are a must.

To get started, read the Department of Health’s Choose health: Be active: A physical guide for older Australians.

5. Stay on top of your finances

Unfortunately, stopping work doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll stop worrying about money.

In fact, research shows that your level of financial literacy and the clarity of your financial goals can have a significant impact on your wellbeing after retirement[1]. So even if you have a financial plan in place, you need to review it regularly to make sure your finances remain on track.

You also need to think realistically about the probable length of your retirement, making sure you have enough money to stay comfortable. With health care improving and Australians staying healthy and active for longer, the average Australian will spend at least 20 years in retirement. So it’s important to be financially prepared.

Are you financially prepared for a healthy, happy retirement? Contact your Westlawn Wealth Adviser to find out.

Copyright © 2014

General Advice Warning
The advice on this site may not be suitable to you because it contains general advice that has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information.

Westlawn Wealth Management Pty Ltd ABN 32 124 861 409, Authorised Representatives of GWM Adviser Services Limited ABN 96 002 071 749, Australian Financial Services Licensee, 105 -153 Miller Street North Sydney NSW 2060.

[1] Achieving Well-being in Retirement: Recommendations from 20 Years’ Research’;SIOP White Paper Series; Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc; 2012.