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How to have a glass-half full retirement

Challenger logo Challenger 22/07/2019
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A positive attitude can make all the difference to your retirement years. 

If you want a better, healthier and happier retirement, a positive attitude can work wonders.

Approaching retirement with a healthy dose of positivity and confidence can add up to 7.5 years to your life, researchers say.

Retirement, a time for positive change

Interestingly, this new life stage is creating a window of opportunity for Australian retirees to introduce healthy new behaviours and get rid of any bad routines, research shows.

Led by the University of Sydney, the landmark study followed the lifestyle behaviours of 25,000 older Australians including physical activity, diet, sedentary behaviour, alcohol use and sleep patterns.

The 2016 study found that, compared with people who were still working, retirees had increased activity levels, reduced sitting time, were less likely to smoke and had healthier sleep patterns.

Separate research has also found spending 15 hours a week on a new activity made lasting improvements in memory for older adults.

Avoid negativity

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Positive ageing advocate and retirement author Marcus Riley says we can all age successfully by embracing positivity, planning how you want to live the rest of your life and understanding the need for purpose.

When it comes to how we approach ageing, people have a choice, Riley, who wrote Booming: A life-changing philosophy for ageing well, says.

“People can accept the negativity that abounds about getting older, concede that they will decline and wither on the vine. Or, we can choose to seize the opportunity to revel in our extended later years with joy, passion and wisdom.”

Avoid the glass-half-empty folk, he says.

“The decision not to be negative comes largely from within ourselves. Choose not to spend time with people who foster negativity. Negativity is contagious. Reject it and be positive,” Riley says.

Instead, focus on pursuing your passions, he says. “With more time on your hands, you now have the opportunity to revel in passions of your choosing. Good books, films, music, art or gardening. Learn a new language or a musical instrument, or wrestle that cryptic crossword into submission.”

“Prioritise time on the activities and people that are important to you. Spend your time doing the things you enjoy and with the people who help make you feel good,” he added.

Accessing your nest egg

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A big part of retirement is of course accessing your super, which hopefully has been accumulating during your working life. For many retirees, income from their super, such as from an account-based pension, is the foundation of their retirement plan.

With an account-based pension you invest your super and receive regular income payments. You generally have the opportunity to invest in a range of market-linked assets, including growth assets like shares and property. However, this means your super and income may be affected by falls in the value of the assets in your account-based pension.

The Age Pension can be your safety net (if you qualify) but may not be enough to cover basic living costs. Consider complementing it with a secure income source such as an annuity. Annuities give you peace of mind by providing you an income that is regular and dependable. Annuities can be used to help maintain your standard of living while in retirement.

“Don’t assume that the amount of super you have accumulated will necessarily give you a comfortable older life, because it’s what income that it can provide over a lifespan that is your guide to what you can do comfortably,” National Seniors Chief Executive Officer Professor John McCallum says.

Bear in mind that retirement doesn’t mean “retirement from life”, he adds.

And life expectancy is increasing, meaning your super must last longer, he adds. “The retirement period is now one third of your life, so live it wisely and remember that it can have as many stages as the first third of your life,” McCallum says.

More than half of Australians aged 50+ are worried about outliving their savings according to a 2019 National Seniors Australia survey. With this in mind, you’ll want the confidence that your retirement income will go the distance.

If you'd like to find out more about how to look forward with confidence in retirement, download Challenger’s “A guide to a confident retirement”.

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The information in this article is general only and has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of that, each person should, before acting on any such information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to their objectives, financial situation and needs. Challenger Life Company Limited ABN 44 072 486 938, AFSL 234670 (Challenger) is the issuer of the Challenger annuities. Each person should obtain and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for a Challenger annuity before making a decision about whether to acquire or continue to hold the relevant product. A copy of the PDS can be obtained from your financial adviser, our Investor Services team on 13 35 66, or at www.challenger.com.au

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