26 March, 2021

Set yourself up to live the life you want in retirement

Many of us think about retirement as a time when we get to live the life we want, free from the responsibilities of earning a living and raising a family. That’s the ideal, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

Here are some things to consider when planning your ideal retirement.


Usually work involves dealing with people. Your boss, co-workers, customers, clients, suppliers. It’s those interactions — the social side — that retirees report missing the most. Men, in particular, don’t often realise how much they get from their work friendships until after retirement.

So, think ahead — what are the significant relationships in your life that will help you feel less isolated in retirement?

If you have a partner, have you discussed life in retirement, how you want to spend your time and where you want to live? What about relationships with family members, friends, social clubs or volunteer groups? It’s a good idea to start building your social networks and investing in key relationships now, ahead of retirement.


As the saying goes, without your health, you have nothing. The state of your health will play a big factor in whether you’re physically able and have the energy to do the things you want to in retirement.

Now’s the time to get the basics right — do you eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep and exercise for at least thirty minutes a day?

Your GP is an obvious place to start if you need help. You might be surprised by the resources available if you ask. Some states offer free health coaching if you’re considered a risk for diabetes, heart disease or stroke.


23% of Australians aged 45 and older plan to keep working until at least age 70.‡

Almost one third of retirees find the transition to retirement stressful or show a decline in wellbeing after retirement.*

‡ ABS, Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, July 2014 to June 2015.


Your emotional and mental wellbeing is linked to how you feel about yourself and your life. If you’re experiencing stress, anxiety or depression, you don’t have to suffer through it. Some people find self-guided or group activities like meditation, yoga and relaxation exercises make a real difference. Talking things over with a close friend or loved one, increasing physical exercise and getting more sleep can also bring about big changes.

There are many resources out there to draw on — talk to your GP about coping strategies and treatments. For personal crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit

Depending on your GP’s assessment, you may qualify for a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan. That means you can access therapy services from a clinical psychologist, social worker or occupational therapist at low or no cost.


Finances play an important part of a happy and fulfilling retirement, so it pays to plan early to ensure you can live the life you want.

Financial advice is a great place to start and can help you set goals and create a plan to get there.