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Retirement - what is it and when does it start?

This is a question that has changed so much over the past few years. Traditional retirement planing has focused solely on financial aspects and being 65+. Of course, financial stability is paramount for a retirement although I believe no matter how much money you have set aside or how old you are, you need to look at the intangible areas of your life that we can all work on no matter what our financials say about us. I always looked at retirement as a 65 year old leaving work with a gold clock then picking up your entitled social security pension and enjoying long lunches and carefree days without a care in the world!

We now work longer, at 65 many don't own their own homes, we have children and grandchildren that we are the carers for and commitments that actually make us worry and not enjoy what we think will be our retirement. Very different from the vision many of us were brought up to believe.

I am a Generation X baby being born 1967 and whilst I don't consider myself retired I am sort of. I am self employed in a business that is my home and I am a life coach for myself. Moving away from Sydney and full time employment brought on the feelings of retirement for me. So, my view is that retirement isn't just about leaving work after a lifetime and neither is it something that starts age 65. This starts to answer the question of what is retirement reality?

Before getting 'real', retirement means many things to many people here are just a few examples- - Waking up without an alarm clock; - Playing golf every day; - Travelling to all corners of the world; - Ticking off a bucket list; - Eating long lunches with friends; - Volunteering with charities you value; - No longer dealing with work stress; - Getting actively involved in your community.

All of the above are possible if that's you wish however the reality could be -

- Feeling useless because you don't have to wake up and be a cog to someones wheel; - Getting bored playing golf and having no one to play with; - When you were working you ticked off so much from your bucket list that you can't find excitement in it anymore; - Your friends are varying ages and won't be available for long lunches and you don't want to be surrounded by 'oldies'; - You volunteer but can't get the days you want or the charity job you think your skills would benefit; - You become stressed because your schedule is being eroded by your family commitments - caring for grandchildren or aging parents.

These are the harsh side of the desired retirement dream but I make no apology for the negativity - I am trying to be 'real'.

Having said all of this my challenge to you this week is to - - Make a cup of tea or coffee and give yourself an hour or so; - Sit and write down what you believe would be your ideal retirement; - Write down as much detail as possible - what you do daily, weekends, holidays, family; - Factor in who you will see - partner/family/friends/ ex work colleagues and where and doing what; - Give yourself a snapshot of your 'dream' week/month/year; - Once you have written it down, re-read it and look it over for the next few days.

Next week I will talk and guide you through how 'real' you can make your 'dream' retirement.

I hope you find this helpful. Any questions please post in the comments.

Have a great weekend friends x

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NSW, Australia