I retired at 58. I didn't really want to retire that early, but I was a police officer and still operational, so wrestling 21-year-olds at 58 just wasn't convenient.
When I left school, I studied horticulture, ended up getting a diploma, and worked in that field until I was 25. And then I joined the police. Now I’ve gone back to horticulture; I work in a hardware store in the garden centre, but I only do 12 hours a week. I enjoy the social aspect of it. I've worked with a lot of young people, so I guess it keeps you in a decent mental state.
My father was in the military all his life, and when he retired it was like he just got out of jail - he was so regimented. It took him a little while before he found his feet with retirement. And I guess, because of him, I don’t have to go down that same path.
What’s the best thing about retirement? It’s funny because a kid the other day said, ‘You know, now you're a retired old bloke. What do you do? It must be so boring’. And I said to him, ‘You know how you really like being on school holidays? Well, it's school holidays. Only with money.’
The best advice came from the Aware Super financial planner. I went to a seminar and I had that whole mentality of ‘I'm not going to have enough money’. But he said ‘you don't want to be the richest man in the cemetery. You want to get out and enjoy yourself’.
So we have been travelling and have bought a couple of new cars. And, you know, I'm at a point in my life where I thought I couldn't be more comfortable. And I've still got plenty to kick on with. It didn't help that the whole financial industry collapsed about four months after I retired - I guess that was the biggest worry. But after a while, it all bounced back. Always does.
The one thing I would say to other people thinking about retirement is don’t be frightened. Retirement should be up there with the great traumas in your life, along with moving, divorce and death, because it is such a giant change. But you get through all the others (other than death), without too much drama.