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Philippa’s retirement story: no regrets

For someone who didn’t have access to compulsory super for most of her working life, 73-year-old Philippa has made super work for her. 

A lifelong hard worker, Philippa never thought retirement would be for her. Her work was closely linked to her identity and her connection to friends and community. 

‘I never really thought about retirement. I loved my job and didn’t think I’d walk away from it. But when I did retire, I didn’t have any regrets. I don’t miss it one iota. I just thought, “Ok, done that for 40-something years. It’s time for a new chapter.”’ 

Getting the right advice

At 54, knowing that retirement would come sooner or later, Philippa spoke to a Superannuation Adviser at her super fund about her options.

She credits that free conversation, and the financial plan she was happy to pay for, for getting her on the road to being retirement ready.

‘To begin with, I just wanted to know how much I’d need,’ said Philippa. ‘I also talked to my dad about how much he was spending in retirement because I knew he was in a reasonable financial position. That helped me work out my expenses and a budget.’

The financial plan also helped Philippa boost her super in the last years of her working life.

‘I started to salary sacrifice and put any pay rise straight into my super. So, I was topping up what my employer was putting in. That helped a lot.’

Making the most out of change

These extra payments and a small inheritance helped Philippa have a little more in retirement. However, not everything went to plan.

‘I retired at 63, but I had intended to work longer than that,’ said Philippa. ‘My husband wanted to retire, and Dad was very frail. It was time to spend more time with him interstate.’

Despite leaving work earlier than expected, retirement offered exciting new opportunities for travel and adventure.

‘We treated our first year in retirement like a gap year! We went to South America and travelled interstate. We’ve never been 5-star travellers, so we found good deals to new places.’

A few years into retirement, Philippa felt the need to give back to her local community, so got involved in volunteering. She also started up a book group and gym with like-minded friends.

‘You have to have things you can get involved in for connectedness — such as cold-water swimming!’

Settling into life after work

Having spent most of her life in regional areas, Philippa is comfortable and content with a quiet life in rural Tasmania.

‘I’m fortunate to have a fixed income. I know where that’s coming from and can rely on it. It allows me to budget for our next adventure.’

‘Our expenses have changed too,’ Philippa added. ‘Both my husband and I had some minor health scares recently, so we have spent a bit more on medical treatments than anticipated.

When asked what surprised her about retirement, Philippa is quick to answer.

‘How good it is! I’ve only met one person who retired and didn’t enjoy it, but that’s because she wasn’t ready. But when it’s time, you know, and there will be other things you’ll want to do besides work.’

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