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Preparing a retirement to look forward to: 6 tips to plan for future wealth

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Western governments face one of the biggest challenges in the history of humanity: older people are living for longer. There are more than 2.3 million people aged 65 years and older in Australia, and 84% of them receive the pension. This number is expected to double to 5 million by 2040. As research shows, in the next 25 years, the governments will be unable to afford to pay the pension and related health and after-care costs without negatively impacting the economy. The idea of retirement should be something worth looking forward to. It’s a wonderful thought to think that you can work hard and eventually step back and live your life the way you have always wanted.

Unfortunately, retirement isn’t always so rosy. It isn’t uncommon for people to work at least part-time throughout their entire lives simply because it’s the only way they can pay the bills. For others, they look forward to doing nothing but sleeping in and relaxing, only to find out that isn’t want makes for a good retirement.

Prepare now, not when you retire!

No matter what your occupation, how much money you make, or what your goals are, it’s important to know how to prepare for retirement while you’re still working so you can make the most of your golden years when the time comes.

Get financial help as soon as possible

Retirement experiences can be vastly different, all because of your financial situation. Do yourself a favor and get a little help saving for retirement as soon as possible. It starts with taking advantage of the retirement planning programs that are available to you through your workplace. Whether that means putting money into a retirement account, maxing out employer match contributions, or taking advantage of stock option, make sure you utilize the financial assistance that’s available to you.

It’s also a good idea to enlist the help of a financial planner or an investor. They can use your income and assets to build a plan you can follow to reach your retirement goals so money isn’t something you have to worry about.

Make your health a priority

Although money is important in retirement, it isn’t everything. No matter how much money you have, if you don’t have your health, you probably aren’t going to enjoy your retirement the way you want. There are ways to continue taking care of your health when you’re older, but the earlier you make your health a priority, the better off you’ll be. A few ways you can make your health a priority right now include:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Get exercise
  • Get screened for cancer and disease, when appropriate
  • Don’t put off going to the doctor when experiencing symptoms
  • Get vaccinated
  • Support bone health with diet and supplements
  • Develop a sleep routine

Find something to do

Do you dream of having absolutely nothing to do and no responsibilities in retirement? Although it can be very refreshing to have next to nothing to do every once in a while, research is showing that in order to keep your brain sharp as you age, you need to stay busy. Don’t wait until you’re retired to figure out what you’re going to do with your time. Start thinking about it now!

Start a new hobby, start a side hustle, or begin volunteering in your community. If you have things you can do when you retire, you’ll be more likely to do them, and your mental health will thank you.

Plan ahead to stay social

Nearly one-third of adults over the age of 45 feel lonely. Not only should you make sure you stay busy in retirement, you also have to make sure you stay social. That can be hard to do if you have spent years focusing on your family and let friendships and other connections go by the wayside. Do yourself a favor and start building some of those relationships before you retire. Ask a coworker out for coffee, reconnect with an old friend from high school, and give your cousin a call. That way, when it’s time to retire, you already have a group of people around you that you can spend time with.

Get comfortable taking risks

It’s easy to settle into a routine as you get older. There’s no denying that a routine can make life a lot easier, and you should definitely stick with a routine that works for you, but don’t let your routine get you into a rut.

Taking risks isn’t just for young people! There are a lot of reasons to take risks, and you should take them throughout your lifetime. Get used to putting yourself out there when you’re younger so learning a new dance with your grandchild or vacationing somewhere you have never been isn’t scary.

It’s easy to put off planning your retirement for another day, but the sooner you prepare, the better. That includes getting your finances in order, but it also means doing things to set you up to experience great mental health too!

About Susan Wahhab

Susan Wahhab —CPA, SMSF Specialist, Entrepreneur, Working Mum, Small Business Supporter— is Australia’s leading Financial Strategist and Money Mentor. Susan is the founder and managing director of Accounting and Financial Services firm Winner Partnership Pty Ltd (www.winnerpartnership.com) Susan is the author of the transformational and practical book Money Intelligence® - Anchored in Values. She believes that people can become financially liberated by developing a healthy relationship with money. Learn more about being money intelligent www.moneyintelligence.com.au

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