'What I wish I knew about Retirement'
Interview with Frank and Lyn Laudari
We know retirement is a big milestone for many of our clients, so this month we caught up with one of our recently retired clients, Frank, to see what he’s been up to. Frank retired just before Christmas (and not only is Frank a current client of ours, he’s also a former FAM colleague, and thus a very much missed friend).
We asked Frank and his wife Lyn a series of short questions, and here’s what they had to say:
Q: When did you decide was a good time to retire?
Honestly, I originally thought I’d retire at 55, however, in hindsight that age would have been way too early for me. I was still enjoying working and felt I had a lot more I could give back to the business, and I enjoyed coming to work… so I decided to keep going for another 5 years. Lyn still loves working and isn’t ready to retire just yet.
Q: What were you most looking forward to?
After I made the decision to put an actual date on my retirement and let work know of my intentions, I felt a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and it was an instant stress release for me. I was tired, and I just didn’t want to do it anymore. Having also lost a couple of close friends that were around the same age as me gave me some perspective to start looking at the next stage of my life, as one never knew how long I’d have. I knew then that my decision, as well as the timing was right.
Q: Did you have an idea of what your days would look like post retirement?
Quite frankly, I imagined my days in retirement being taken up by playing golf, catching up with my mates for a game of lawn bowls, or getting out there for a sneaky fishing session, which I absolutely love!
Q: What has turned out to be your retirement reality?
If my retirement days were taken up just doing the above, I’d get bored very easily, as at the end of the day it would have become my new ‘norm’ and just a different routine to get used to.
The reality for me is that I’ve somehow acquired 3 separate ‘To Do’ lists that I’m currently working through (one that I’ve done up, one that my wife has given me to do, and the other is all the odd jobs to do for my parents, our daughter, and our grand kids). I don’t know how I had time to go to work before, as I’m so busy now!
I love having the flexibility of seeing my family more and also helping out my elderly parents as well as friends who are still working (it’s funny how people have that perception that just because you’ve retired, you’ve got all this spare time and nothing to do). I’m so busy now that I have gone back to using a diary to keep track of what day it is and prioritise my list on what I want to achieve each day (and make sure I don’t miss any appointments, which has been very easy to do!)
Q: If you knew one piece of advice going into retirement, what would it be?
I can’t stress enough the importance of having a plan, as making the decision to retire is a big one and I personally found I had lots of doubts at that time, so having some answers really helped me. You have to have a reason to get out of bed each and every morning!
- Really think about it, and ask yourself – ‘Are you really ready to retire?
- Can you actually afford to retire financially?
- When would be a good time to do it?
- What does retirement actually look like for you?
- Be realistic
Q: What do you miss most about not working, and have you (or are you looking to) replicate this gap in your retirement?
I do miss the people I worked with – the interaction each day, the conversations and laughs, and the social relationships I had formed at work. In terms of trying to replicate this right now, I really don’t have the time as my ‘To Do’ list keeps getting longer instead of getting shorter!
Q: What did you wish you had known going into retirement?
One thing I have learnt post retirement is to expect the unexpected, and have a financial buffer up your sleeve of at least 3 months pay (I call it my personal insurance policy), as you never know what can go wrong. I’ve found that I’ve had to unexpectedly replace tools that break when I’m half way through a job, maintenance around the house that we didn’t account for (like replacing a fence, which isn’t cheap) and just having to spend money in areas where I didn’t anticipate I’d have to. Having the buffer in place though definitely helped and made me feel less stressed about these types of expenses.
Q: How have you managed your finances in retirement? Do you have any handy hints or tips to pass onto others?
My (and Lyn’s) biggest tip is to get financial advice, and get it sooner rather than later (and not just when you’re looking to retire). This made a huge difference for us as it allowed us to start planning early and give enough time for things to ‘grow’ so we could be in a position to live off the income generated by our investments and not touch the capital (which is what we’re trying to do, as who knows, we might need the capital later on for entry into an aged care facility).
Whilst Lyn is still working and not quite ready to retire just yet, I’ve definitely become much more conscious on where I spend money knowing that I’m not getting paid for all the work I’m doing.