Tag Archives: Retirement

My Top Financial Tip

If there’s one tip I’m constantly asked for, it’s what’s the best way to get on top of your finances?  And for me, that’s easy to answer – “Live Within Your Means!”  Good money management boils down to harnessing the cash flow and getting on top of debt – with the biggest gremlin being credit cards.

If the word ‘budget’ annoys you and has you running for the door, try ‘spending plan’ instead.  A budget/plan should be divided between fixed regular costs (those you MUST meet) and discretionary spending (the WANTS and nice to have stuff.)

Work out first what it costs for mortgage or rent payments, food, clothing, utility bills and loans.  This means you’ll have a much better idea of where you stand and how much you are spending on fun stuff like entertainment and non-essentials.

Losing the credit cards should be a top priority.  Learning that if you can’t afford it now, you can’t have it, is a great skill to take through life.  That’s not to say lay-buy or payment plans can’t work, but we need to move on from the ‘I want it now’ mentality.

Learn what you’re capable of when you’ve got less commitments like interest payments for items you’ve forgotten that you’ve even bought.  You may be pleasantly surprised at what you can achieve with better spending and saving habits.

Did you know, that if you’re 25 and have a nest egg of around $5000 and you’re able to save $50 – $75 a week at around 7% average interest (compounding over the long-term) you could have yourself a cool $1 million by retirement at 65?  It might be a while off, but it does highlight the opportunity cost of spending around $200 to $300 a month on eating out, movies, drinks and ‘stuff.’  Add that to your compulsory super and that’s not a bad way to enjoy post-work life.

Most however don’t really start thinking about retirement until they’re 40 plus and suddenly realise they’re half way through their working life and have been wasting the ready for over 20 years.  It’s time to analyse those poor financial habits now!

Reducing debt and saving as much as possible is imperative if you want to maintain a certain standing of living both now, and when you retire, and living within your means makes life a lot easier.  Life without ongoing financial stresses also helps you sleep easier now. Chances are, the Centrelink age pension will be harder and harder to come by and eventually disappear.

It’s up to us to take charge of our financial future, and the sooner, the better.  Living within your means from now, is vital.  Are you?

How many jobs?

It seems the days of lifetime service to a single company and retiring with the gold watch are well and truly over.

Do you think you should only have one main job during your working life or is it OK to have 2-3 part-time ones?

As the workplace continues to evolve, many people are finding that they do not want one primary job any more, but instead the flexibility of having a few projects on the go, sometimes consecutively, and sometimes all at once. How do you feel about working in more than one place?  Or, are you more of a traditional one-job style of person?

The main reason many look for additional work is to boost take-home income.  If you could find a way of supplementing your income and also your joy for pursuing something that stimulates you creatively, what would you be doing?

Research shows that we’re now going in the direction of working at more than one job.  Many find that they are way too attached to their job and if it changed, would be in total chaos.  But life has a way of throwing curve balls, so it’s not a bad idea to think of what else you could be doing.

Be prepared for the twists and turns.  What other type of work would you like to try?  Is there a hobby that you’d love to turn into a business?  Are you a budding entrepreneur just waiting for the push of being sacked?  It’s never too late to start pursuing something you love, even if it’s part time.

Rethinking Retirement

On my final morning in Beijing, we headed to The Temple of Heaven, a Taoist monument dedicated to praying to the heavens to bring a good harvest at the start of spring, and to offer thanks when it was done.

This is a 600+ year old building, that’s managed to survive the Japanese and British, and has been restored to its former glory for tourists the world over to enjoy.

 Temple of Heaven

This story however, isn’t about the monument, but about the fun that takes place in the surrounding grounds of 200+ acres surrounding the central buildings.

Over 55’s can buy an annual pass to the parklands surrounding the temple allowing unlimited annual entry for around $20AUD.  Over 65’s are free.  And you should see what these creative retirees are up to!

On entering at The North Gate, there were couples learning Rock & roll, and incongruously jiving away to classical Chinese tunes.  Check them out here: http://youtu.be/DLVBi86HPoE

Others were honing their skills with a shuttlecock with an agile version of Hackysack.  Paddles were available for those who prefer a racquet to using their feet and large and small groups were loving kicking it around.  The feathered ball was also available for purchase for anyone wanting to take one home to try with the family. I’m kind of regretting now that I didn’t grab one off the touts for practice at home.  Then I’d be a legend by retirement!

 TOH

Others were learning or had mastered the art of tai chi and slowly went about their moves, completely engrossed and ignoring all onlookers.

One group of four that stopped us in our tracks was a human game of quoits and I captured a little on video. Their skills obviously the result of much practice.  Check out their skills: http://youtu.be/dtwF4VzwvyQ

One woman regaled us with her operatic tunes while women danced, and more practiced their musical instruments, mostly brass, and loudly.  And if not well, at least with enthusiasm.

I kid you not, I’m sure I heard bagpipes!

Others had dressed up in traditional Turkish garb and were practising their Whirling Dervish routines.  And all with massive smiles of enjoyment on their faces at the fabulous gift of being alive and the wonderful sense of community they no doubt felt.

So, for all those who think retirement means hanging up the boots, an occasional game of golf or going home to die… Think again!

What was it you’ve always wanted to accomplish?

Maybe it’s time to find a tribe and invade your local park!  Perhaps I won’t lock myself away in a mouldy attic to write a novel after all.  It appears my seniors beach volleyball team awaits!  Or salsa lessons… Retirement’s looking better to me every day!  But hey! Why wait?