By Khanyi Nzukuma, Chief Executive
“Have a plan for how you are going to fill your days, weeks and years to get the most out of this special time.”
This was the resounding feedback we received in 2017 when Glacier interviewed 82 retired South Africans as part of research to better understand the ingredients of a healthy and fulfilling retirement.
Importance of planning
The group of people interviewed had all retired with a relatively comfortable income – which underpinned their optimism – but they also gave insight into other important, but very often neglected, considerations.
It was clear that the more successful retirees had done extensive planning upfront – not just around their finances, but also around how they planned to stay connected, give back and spend their days. A successful working career doesn’t just happen without planning, and the same applies to a successful retirement.
These are some of the areas that were highlighted:
- Financial Security | Of the participants who felt secure about their finances, over 80% had consulted with a financial adviser. Those with regrets wished they had spent less lavishly and started saving a lot earlier. All were aware of the need to continue to meet with an adviser throughout retirement to ensure they could continue to maintain their lifestyle.
- Good Health | Advice from the research participants was to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Good physical and mental health are crucial to a happy retirement. Staying busy is equally important – to keep negativity and declining fitness in check.
- Staying Connected | The options to stay connected are endless. Many people see this as a chance to start a small business. Others choose to get involved in community work and volunteering. But all the retirees interviewed said that they felt good when they were able to give back and that it gave meaning to their daily activities.
- Looking forward with positivity | This is a big one. Many of the sample interviewed suggested drawing up a daily schedule and sticking to it. They had things to do, places to visit and people to meet. While spending time with their grand-children was important, they weren’t sitting around waiting for them to visit.
These are some of the activities that our respondents had prioritised:
- A daily surf (70-year-old female)
- Founding a jazz band and music society (65-year-old male)
- Finishing a masters in astrophysics (61-year-old male)
- Travelling to Mauritius and Morocco (60-to-80-year-olds)
- Swimming in the Masters Olympics (70-year-old female)
Retiring is mandatory. Retiring well is a choice.
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re probably in your 30s or 40s and are consumed with the details of your day-to-day life. But – consider this – you won’t change when you retire. You’ll still have dreams, goals and things you want to do. Our research bears testament to this. And most of these things, though not all, require healthy finances.
Rather than seeing your life as two halves – pre- and post-working career – try to see it as a continuous, but changing, journey. That way you can incorporate planning for the decades ahead, starting today.
To ensure you have a plan that will enable you to live life on your terms, well into the future, speak to your financial adviser today. You can also visit www.glacier.co.za for more information.