For many people, the need to keep earning money is still there throughout this phase, right up to the pension age of 67, especially in the generation approaching retirement. And beyond that, many still need work to supplement their pensions.
For those in pre-retirement now, most people know their superannuation is only going to be just enough, or not quite enough to fund a comfortable retirement from 67 to their life expectancy of 85-88 or longer.
But, the events of the past few years have driven an attitude change. The post-pandemic world has brought into sharp focus the fragility of life, urging many to rethink their priorities.
The workforce shortage, ageism and the desire to live better, and longer, have made it more obvious that the traditional work model is no longer sustainable or fulfilling for a significant portion of the workforce.
And for the new generations of pre-retirees, the new concept of retirement isn’t a simple binary choice between work and leisure. Instead, we are embracing the idea of more flexible and rewarding work during pre-retirement and incorporating work into our picture in our post-retirement years.
This movement isn’t about working until the last possible moment but rather at some point after midlife, actively choosing work that aligns with personal interests and allows for a more relaxed, flexible, and enjoyable lifestyle.
The life-flex movement places a premium on quality over quantity. It encourages people to prioritise pursuits that bring them fulfilment and joy while still contributing to society and the economy. It’s about striking a harmonious balance between leisure, family, hobbies, and meaningful work.
In this era, post-retirement work becomes an opportunity for personal growth, exploration, and the pursuit of passions that may have been neglected during the demands of full-time careers. Whether it’s starting a small business, freelancing, consulting, or taking on part-time roles, the emphasis is on choice, autonomy, and a sense of purpose.
If you find yourself looking into your future and longing for more life-flex, where do you start?
Understand how much you need to earn versus what you earn today. That means some good old-fashioned budgeting for most people. Understand how much you need to retire and how much you need to live on from working in the years before and after retirement. Build your financial confidence so you can make choices.
Contemplate your skills and talents. Look within to the skills and talents you really enjoy using. Think about the things you do that really put you “in the zone” and explore how you could transform your work to more flexible roles that use those skills and give you balance.
Understand where you find meaning and purpose. Your choice of workplace matters. Some people need a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in the second half of life while others want a vibrant amount of camaraderie and teamwork. Think about the type of company and team culture that you want to work in.
Contemplate more flexible work types. You might only know conventional work types, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t contemplate the gig economy or working in delivery, rideshare or ecommerce; freelancing, using your hard-earned skills on a more flexible basis; and working in our care economy which is desperate for and loves more mature workers.
Bec Wilson is the author of the bestselling book How to Have an Epic Retirement and host of the new podcast Prime Time with Bec Wilson. She writes a weekly newsletter at epicretirement.net.
- Advice given in this article is general in nature and is not intended to influence readers’ decisions about investing or financial products. They should always seek their own professional advice that takes into account their own personal circumstances before making any financial decisions.
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