READY – SET – GO
A Retired Single Shares Her Lifestyle Tips
My name is Helen and I’ve happily survived as a retired single for the last 2 years! I feel extremely lucky to have choices before me. Each day I see as a gift, a bonus in life to enjoy to the fullest.
Luckily for me planning and preparation comes easily. No one would ever describe me as a person who jumps in feet first!
My lifestyle now is not extravagant but it is a lot of fun! I have friends, challenges and a sense of purpose.
“Each day I see as a gift, a bonus in life to enjoy to the fullest”
GET READY – Preparation and Planning
The most important strategy for my retirement I found was preparation and planning going back many years before my planned retirement day. Most of my working life was in a large, public hospital.
Although I worked mostly part time for 35 years in various challenging roles the last 15 years of my working life was in full time employment.
These are the strategies I made the most of when planning my retirement
- Joining a defined benefits superannuation scheme 20 years before retirement putting aside 6% of my salary in addition to compulsory superannuation
- Purchasing an investment property with a minimal deposit. This was negatively geared to reduce tax
- To further reduce my tax liability I salary packaged everything I could including travel, meals, accommodation, mortgage payments and a novated vehicle lease
- Participating in the government’s transition to retirement program to maximize superannuation contributions and minimize tax
- I purchased a small campervan in my retirement was always part of my retirement plan.
“The most important strategy for my retirement was preparation & planning going back many years before my planned retirement day”
GET SET – Listening and Learning from Others
My working life involved working closely with a team of 15 staff and hundreds of volunteers.
The volunteers were of all ages with the majority being women who had retired. I gained a wealth of information from many who were retired and single. I saw how important their travels, hobbies and various activities including their volunteer roles were to them. For those who had partners I often heard them say one reason they volunteered was to have time out from the daily tasks at home. This gave them some space to enjoy an activity on their own without their husbands.
An important message that resonates and still stays with me is that when you retire you must have a good reason to get out of bed each day.
More listening and learning strategies
- Attending many retirement seminars provided by different organisations
- Enjoying some years before retirement in two volunteer roles – with Sailability and with my local library home service for housebound people
- Taking on board advice from recently retired volunteers and various friends previously in a wide range of professional roles
“When you retire you must have a good reason to get out of bed every day!”
GO – Enjoying all that Retirement Offers
My strategies for how to have a happy retirement lifestyle
- Making the most of having free time at last. I take every opportunity to help out or just spend time with my grandchildren and other close family members
- Making time for me. I do this by relaxing, reading, enjoying walks with my dog, appreciating nature, beautiful scenery and the warmth of the sun
- Volunteering each week at Sailability. I use my boating skills to take out adults with disabilities with the bonus of having experienced sailors improve my teenage sailing skills.
- Looking after myself I attend a body balance class at my local gym twice a week, I go on various interesting scenic walks for about 30 minutes every day and spend time on my diet and nutrition including stewing fruits, making jam, sauces and relish from home grown tomatoes
- Developing and nurturing friendships and entertaining house guests. This is something I had little time for during my parenting years and working life.
- Getting to know my community. One of the first local community groups I joined was an environmental group on the Gold Coast (Australia). Our activities include working with local government to develop a huge parkland close to my home by planting thousands of trees, monitoring local waterways through sampling and testing as well as conducting regular platypus watches.
- Doing something completely different. With two other friends I became a volunteer for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and certainly an experience!
- Gardening. I have established several raised vegetable garden beds and grow a wide range of vegetables and fruits. I share the surplus with my friends and it also helps my budget ! My goal is provide privacy and an improved habitat for bees and birds.
- Regularly getting away from routines and commitments.
Traveling to mostly coastal regions in my motor home. Taking long walks on some of the best beaches Australia has to offer are always my first choices.
“I love everything about retirement and look forward to every day as a bonus, a gift to be relished to the fullest”
Well that’s about it! I know I’ve been very lucky and I have been very fortunate in life’s options. But at the same time it has taken long hours, hard work, commitment and dedication. Not to mention much of my personal time to sustain a professional career.
There are times when it takes a lot of personal effort to maintain energy, self discipline and a positive outlook on life. It is not all roses. After all, these occasions are all learning experiences. They give us the opportunity for improvement or to make changes in the future.
The most important thing for me is to remember to curtail my worrying and anxiety about what might go wrong. I have to remember to focus on what is, making the most of what I’ve got and what I can do. To always strive to see the goodness in people and reap the benefits that life can offer.