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Planning for retirement more than just about money

However, when you eventually decide to retire, you have a few decisions to make.

Create a retirement game plan and seek some financial advice. Spending $2000-3000 now for a comprehensive statement of advice to help organise your future can save you money and angst in the long run.

Do you want to access your superannuation as a lump sum, take an income stream or use part of your retirement savings to purchase a lifetime annuity, to take the worry out of running out of money? These are key questions that need answering to ensure you can afford the retirement lifestyle to which you aspire.

Too often, many people have their money sorted out and their first holiday planned but no one has advised them about other aspects of retirement.

There are psychological elements to consider, too, that could have a big bearing on your aim for positive ageing.

Leaving full-time work can have unintended consequences, including affecting your feelings of identity and self-worth. You could also miss the social connection that work brings.

One thing to consider is whether you want to stop work altogether. A different option might be to stay on in your job and work part-time. This has several benefits, including keeping a little money coming in and stretching the amount of time your retirement savings will last.

Employers are becoming more accepting of flexible working arrangements, including working from home in a post-COVID-19 world.

Deciding to stop work suddenly can also affect your relationships. It takes time for the dust to settle and to find a “new normal”.

Lifestyle choices are all important. Start by considering whether you and your partner have the same ideas on what you will do and where you will live.

If you decide to downsize your home and move, research a location that suits the needs of both of you and talk to people who have moved into the area to retire.

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It can be a big help to learn about some of the things that will assist you in the transition, including medical and leisure facilities, security, cost of living, transport, opportunities for possible part-time employment and even the climate.

National Seniors Australia chief executive Professor John McCallum says physical activity is key to a good retirement lifestyle. This tends to increase after you finish work as you have more time.

“You’ve got to work at it,” he says. “It is important to do activities that are satisfying and the fact you can do it with your friends when you retire is great.”

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