Retirement - New Emerging Thoughts

Honey, soy and chili silken tofu - delicious

Retirement - such a long way off.....oh wait! I'm 50 this October, so it is time to rethink this topic pretty fast.

I replanted my aloe vera as it had so many 'babies' cramped into
one little pot previously.

Here are some random thoughts and realisations that I have had about retirement that have emerged since I posted about our "plans for the future" recently.

  1.   Retirement would be just hell-on-earth unless we are healthy.
  2.   Superannuation is a minefield of hidden fees, charges and ambiguity.
  3.   I actually might not want to ever stop some type of work outside the home.
  4.   Mrs HM and I need other factors in our life besides just each other.
  5.   'Typical' retirement is obviously now a myth of the past.
  6.   Many of the happiest and healthiest older folk I personally know have not fully retired in the conventional sense.
  7.   I do not want to be a boring, narrow-minded, shallow, annoying, judgmental old git - I feel myself automatically drifting this way ever so slightly and so I urgently need to put the brakes on that drift real fast. (I've scared myself a bit recently on this matter)
  8.   I need to keep up with meaningful technology - as much as I love simple living and frugality, being a Luddite is not a virtue. I see too many older folk allowing legitimate and life-enhancing technology to pass them by.

I still indulge in a latte when I visit my Sydney office once
per week. 

So some conclusions and goals from the above list would be:

1st and foremost - overhaul our health and mindfully plan and take action immediately so as to be active and self reliant for at least another 40 years (I hope I pass away with my boots on actually).  I have been losing weight steadily over the past few months but can now see that this is just a drop in the bucket compared to what I need to do to ensure another 40 years of meaningful life. My relationship with food still needs to be significantly overhauled as does my relationship with exercise. Mental health is also a huge consideration and I need to purposefully and mindfully heal myself in this regard too otherwise the next 40 years is going to be a struggle that ends with a bag full of regrets. 

2ndly - bite the bullet and understand Superannuation thoroughly and only use it for it's proven benefits. Other types of prudent investments need to be secured outside of Superannuation's highly regulated and fee-riddled, government-meddled-with, goal-post-changing, maze-and-mirrors scheme. Whilst the tax benefits inside Superannuation for most Australian folk are excellent, the fees pre AND post retirement are horrendous as is the limited ability to influence the investment outcomes with most Superannuation companies. My current Superannuation company (which I changed to a few years ago based on some positive initial research) is no longer as good as I previously thought.  Now that I am ready to go into using the option to choose my own stocks within my Super scheme, I was deeply shocked at the tiny handful of stocks that I was allowed to trade and the also the horrendous fees attached to doing so.  I am now wading knee-deep through copious amounts of Product Disclosure Statements from various Superannuation schemes to find which one has the lowest fees coupled with the greatest stock trading flexibility and choice so I can at least intelligently invest all that money that is mine but am not allowed to access till I am 60!  (Grrr).  Look, I too used to be a set-and-forget conspiracy-theorist when it came to Superannuation, but now that I am taking the time to educate myself and get the magnifying glass out on the ins-and-outs of Superannuation. I am no longer prepared to set-and-forget because that equates to oodles of my money out the window....I do still hold dark conspiracy theories about Superannuation - especially what it will be like when I am ready (allowed!) to access it. Nevertheless, I am determined to find who moved my cheese and to reclaim it as well as finding other sources of cheese! I intend to have some fun in the process too.

Crispy skin salmon with stir-fried Asian vegetables.
Succulent and nutritious 

3rdly - Work: working outside the home is something I actually enjoy under the right circumstances. True, I would love nothing more than to click the gate closed on my home and not emerge for at least two millennia (!), but it is not good for me and I am noticing this the older I get. External stimuli is the thing that will stop my brain aging and prevent me from willingly falling victim to my all-consuming introversion.  Also, having another small source of income is prudent even if it is a day or two a week or a month or two a year.

4thly and finally:  We still plan to caravan and tour extensively around Australia as well as have a cheaper property as a home base, however, I can see we need to be totally flexible with this general plan.  It is actually a bit of a selfish plan and I need to find a meaningful way to contribute positively to society as well.  I'm on the look-out for what that type of contribution may be and which can happily capture the last 40 years of my life....hmmm, let me see.

View looking down from my office window - so utterly different
 to the view in my mind's eye

Take care folks and stay nice out there.

Mr HM  (Phil)


  1. Hi Mr HM, I enjoy your thoughts on retirement and life planning. I work in financial planning and thought I would let you know that the actual age to access your superannuation is 60. Regards an interested reader

    1. You are right of course. I was thinking one thought whilst writing about another - so have now gone and corrected the post to read 60 instead of 67

  2. Ps I think you are referring to when you can receive an Age pension. Cheers

    1. Yes I was thinking about aged pension as I writing about Super - I have now gone and corrected the post to correctly read 60 instead of 67. Thanks for picking me up on that.

    2. Ha! I walked into one office today and there were three workers huddled around a computer trying to determine which of them would be able to claim an aged pension at 65 and which of them would have to wait until 67. I understand that the current federal government has a policy that if they are able to action it, would raise our pension age to 70. It really seems counterproductive as the economy benefits from grey tourism and having to wait til 70 to retire would put an end to travel dreams for many.

  3. Lots of thinking has been going on about retirement I can see :-) This is my fourth year of retirement and I really miss my work colleagues and the interaction at work. I don't miss the job so much though. I saw on TV last night that lots of seniors are starting up businesses online and are really loving it. Who knows what the world will be like by the time you are at retirement age but it does no harm to plan.

    1. I saw that too Chel, it was very interesting.

  4. We're about 7 years behind you, and we think about similar things. Although I have absolutely no faith in super at all. So we don't add extra. We'd much rather put the money into our property, or a business, where the returns are our own to choose. Our goal is not to need super - either by having set ourselves up with the infrastructure we need, when young and earning more, or living a more frugal lifestyle to not require as much; those are the bits we can control.

    I actually don't like things I'm told to do, which I have absolutely no bearing on - but asserted it will bring me security in the future. So I can understand you looking into superannuation further, to get more of a bearing. They have changed the system so much in my lifetime though, I have no doubt once the money runs out of govt, we won't be seeing much of our super to live on anyway.

    Which sounds like a depressing outcome, but is really incentive to push the carts we can influence in a positive way. Those things we can control, we should take measures to ensure are well versed on, set out and implemented. Thanks for the interesting discussion.

  5. I think the first item is the most important of all. You can make all the plans in the world but if you don't look after your health as much as you can, both mental and physical, those plans will mean very little. My mental health is pretty good but I need to work on the physical side a lot more. At least you have identified the areas to focus on now.

  6. I'm way ahead of you and hubby is retired, but he has a little job driving OAP's to their clubs, which he enjoys, he does it for an outside interest and some pocket money. We have been planning for years, as you say it's not only about the money it's also about your state of mind.

  7. for thought! I agree wholeheartedly on the need to take care of one's health first and foremost as this means more independent, active, less expensive retirement years. Superannuation is a minefield I just don't understand and actually, finance in general (apart from a simple budget) is something I've not ever been overly interested in. Time I took a more active role I feel! Meg:)


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