Planning to retire? Plan some enjoyable work

Yes, it sounds like a paradox. When we think about the future, and the word ‘retirement’, we often think about trips around Australia and spending more time with family.

Yet many Australians want to do some work when they retire - to foster social connections, keep active and of course - the money is good !

So planning for the type of work that we will do as we get older is really important. Flexibility, purposeful work and work close to home become higher in priority.

We are likely to live 10 years longer than our parents and many see this extra time as an opportunity to be intentional about our plans for meaningful work

Indications are that some people are already leading the charge - new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday showed the number of people aged 65 or over who are working had grown by 25 per cent in the past two years. By contrast, those aged between 15 and 64 had only increased by 4.5 per cent.

What work will you do?

As I reflect on what living longer means for me, I think about the work that I want to do, how it is likely to change and how I am investing my time. Just like the formal learning I did when I was 20 years old is no longer relevant today, the formal learning that I completed five years ago won’t sustain me for the next 30 years either. Plus, many of us want to shift into something completely different. Fortunately today’s learning options are a lot wider, more accessible and cheaper than even five years ago. Learning today takes many forms - social, iterative and online.

But always enchanting is the wonder of learning new things - the world continues to be an amazing place.

One question I like to reflect on is ‘Will my 80 year old self be happy with the choices I am making today?’ If we can envision our 80 year old self in a positive light, then we will make more optimistic, forward-focused choices for our future.

If you would like to explore your options for work and other aspects of our longer lives, then join Dr Catherine Rickwood and I for our workshop on Discover the Opportunity & Joy of a 100 Year Life on Tuesday 27 August in Parramatta. We’d love to continue the conversation.