Off the back of the recent Australian Federal election, you may think “wealth” is a dirty word, given all the talk about franking credits, negative gearing, tax cuts and so on (especially if you’re a more mature Australian). When you’re nearing retirement age and considering what it may look like for you, talk about accumulating wealth and understanding your assets and liabilities can be scary! Trust me, I hear you. But it’s a fact of life and we’ll all get to this point one day, so it’s important to think ahead and plan. Here are some of the bigger questions around wealth I’ve asked myself in recent times:
How much money will I need to live the lifestyle I want in retirement?
Of course, this will look different for everyone. Some people choose to spend their retired days travelling the world, while others are content to stay at home, spend time with family and watch TV. While you’re still in the workforce, you need to do the math and figure out how much money you’ll need each year to fund your ideal lifestyle. From there, you can start preparing and implementing retirement planning strategies to achieve your vision for the future. Don’t get stuck thinking that retirement will come “one day” – take it from me, time flies; even more so when you’re having fun!
Do I need to make a career move now to safeguard my future?
Depending on what kind of lifestyle you want as a retiree, you may find your current role and pay just isn’t going to get you there. It’s never too late to make a career change, especially given that most of us are working well beyond what was once the standard retirement age of 55. The reality is, most people can’t afford to retire at 55, so if you’re going to be working longer, the last thing you want is to feel trapped in a role that doesn’t feed your soul, isn’t meaningful to you or, worst of all, doesn’t support your budget. If you find yourself in this position, look at your “career currency” and assess how you may be able to transition into another career sooner rather than later.
Career currency is based on all of the things you have and do (capabilities, attitudes and behaviours) that see you being rewarded and valued in a workplace, as well as your networks and your knowledge (technical, industry, etc). It is somewhat set by the market itself, including what do organisations and hiring managers are looking for. Once you know what you have to offer, you’ll be well positioned to step sideways or even move in a completely new direction to find a role that fits your needs.
Most importantly, you need to believe in yourself and know that, with enough planning, effort and confidence, it’s entirely possible to make a career change for the better.
Would I prefer to continue working in some capacity?
Retirement isn’t for everyone; I’ve seen this over and over again in my time. So many people think retirement will make them happy until they get there and wind up feeling bored or like they don’t have a purpose in life. Everyone is different but it’s good to consider all the possibilities before you retire. Could you work part-time? Perhaps on a casual basis? What would that mean for any government entitlements you may be eligible for?
As mentioned in my recent article – “I’m over 50.” So what? – no amount of money or courses can buy the experience and wisdom gathered over decades spent in the workplace. It’s highly likely that, even if you’re at retirement age, you’ll be a valuable asset to a number of companies out there.
If I do want to continue working, is it physically possible for me to do so?
Here’s what I love most about career currency: you may very well find yourself in a completely different job in retirement. Sometimes, due to health issues or the strenuous nature of certain jobs (such as trades), it isn’t a physical reality for someone to work in the same role well into their 60s. However, the skills, attitudes, behaviours and performance record built over time don’t suddenly vanish because you hit retirement age – there are many career paths still available. I like to think that there is always another career reinvention just around the corner!
I’m a big believer in reaching out for expert help when needed. You may find that seeking out a financial advisor or a retirement planning expert is the best way forward for you and your family. Likewise, if you’re looking to make a career transition and want to know about the opportunities available to you, talking to a recruiter can be a huge advantage. Remember: no investment is more valuable than the one you make in yourself.
Deborah Wilson is a Thought Leader in Executive Careers. She takes a personalised approach to strategic career coaching and career transitions, mentoring and leadership development. Deborah provides expert guidance for individuals while supporting organisations through change and connecting people and purpose. Call Deborah on +61 403 779 746. www.ontalent.com.au