Retired and struggling to adjust? You’re not alone.

Retired and struggling to adjust? You’re not alone.

You’ve been waiting so long for this time – a new chapter and an end to all those years of work. But what if retirement is not the happy, relaxed experience you’d imagined?

According to Michael Longhurst, author, psychologist and a leading authority in the area of adjustment to retirement, for many people retirement brings on feelings of depression, fear, stress, anxiety and even a sense of futility. There’s also commonly a decline in people’s sense of wellbeing and even high levels of boredom.

So why does it all go so wrong for so many people? And if you’re retired and struggling to embrace your newfound life, what can you do to make it better?

Michael Longhurst’s “Retire 200” research project and subsequent book Enjoying Retirement, found there were 8 key factors which impacted on whether people were well-adjusted and enjoying their retirement or not.

  1. Being able to retire of your own free will.
  2. Being able to retire at age 55 or younger.
  3. Being financially independent.
  4. Engaging in “purposeful activities” for more than five hours per week.
  5. Having someone on whom you could rely for emotional support.
  6. Proactively maintaining your health through exercise, diet, and regular medical check-ups.
  7. Planning for retirement – both financially and for an active lifestyle.
  8. Receiving pre-retirement advice or education.

Control over when and how we retire was an all-important factor. Being forced early into retirement due to retrenchment or illness or being unable to stop work when we had wanted or planned due to finances, all impact on how people adjust to their retirement years.

Being financially secure and independent was another key factor, as was staying emotionally connected to partners, family and friends.

Equally, taking good physical care of ourselves, staying active and continuing to be engaged in activities such as volunteering or hobbies such as fishing all made a difference.

Planning ahead can certainly provide peace of mind but if you’ve already reached your retirement years and you’re concerned about how you will manage financially for the years to come, there’s still time to put a sensible plan in place and one that’s specifically designed for you and your needs.

Debt in retirement is a common cause of stress and worry and a situation that affects more than half of Australian retirees today.

According to Scott Phillips, CEO and Managing Director of Smooth Retirement, monthly repayments to existing mortgages or credit cards makes it extremely difficult to make ends meet for many retirees, particularly those with limited incomes.

“Too often retirees use the (sometimes relatively) little super they have left to pay down debt and then just hope for the best. And while selling the family home might seem like the only solution, there are other options which allow retirees to put their finances in order and remain in the home.”

Mr Phillips said with proper planning and advice, using some of the saved value in the home via a reverse mortgage could be a sensible and simple solution.

“Refinancing the debt, removing the monthly repayments and using that additional cashflow to live better – without the financial stress – can really help people get back on track in their retirement so they can start enjoying life and doing more of the things they’d like to do.”

“Planning ahead for your aged care needs, inheritances and big purchases such as a new or replacement car and medical treatment is also important. As is making sure you are getting the right amount of Age Pension and other entitlements.”

Smooth Retirement are retirement income specialists and licensed equity release planners and brokers. For more information call 1300 510 015 or click HERE to book your free, no obligation reverse mortgage eligibility check.

Smooth Retirement Pty Ltd provides equity release broking and retirement income planning Australia-wide. ABN: 46 619 010 445; AFSL 510015; Australian Credit Licence: 510015;;; 1300 510 015.

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