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'You have to make sure you’re healthy enough to enjoy retirement. Your health is your number one priority: financial health but also healthy within yourself.’

Geoff, aged 65

I’m only four months into retirement and I plan to tidy up around the house and things like that – the stuff you don’t really get to when you’re working. I also just had to put my father in an aged care facility and have been looking after my mum, and there’s also the grandkids. I’m in that generation at the moment that’s stuck between the young and the old. I wasn’t planning for that – it just happens with life.

My wife and I would like to get out and do a bit of travel. I still want to be active – I just need to find something that suits me and my family. When I was working, I was getting up at 4am and I’m still up then. I think for the first six months you settle in and find out where you want to go. What you’d planned for retirement doesn’t really happen in reality. Other things get in the way. Once all that settles down, we’ll just go.

I wanted to retire at 60 but life events happened. I’ve been talking to SASS for a long time to make sure everything was on track. I saw an adviser at 45 and said, ‘I have 20 years of work left in me – I want to know that I’m on the right path and doing the right thing.’

I worked for Sydney Water and tell people to talk to an adviser as early as possible so you know where you stand and what you can do. When I started work, the boss told me to join the NSW Retirement Fund, join the union, and join Sydney Water – in that order. That's the best advice I ever received.

When I started work the retirement age was 65, then they changed the tax laws and I thought I’d go at 60, but things happened. I landed on my feet though. I think you can pre-empt some things, but you don't know what’s around the corner. You’ve just got to know that something's going to happen and if it does, well, you’ve got to be ready for it.

Now the stress is out of my life. I used to drive around Sydney as a trainer and workplace assessor and the traffic was horrendous. I’m pleased to be out of that. If it weren’t for the unions encouraging super for everyone and getting super changes, the younger generation would be much worse off than what we are as an older generation. The first thing I said to my daughters when they left school and started work was to invest in super.

I also tell younger ones about the importance of health. You have to make sure you’re healthy enough to enjoy retirement. Your health is your number one priority: financial health but also healthy within yourself.

‘The thing is, I'll have the funds because I can withdraw my money at 60. Why would I go to work when I can draw down on my super?’

Karl, aged 59

I'm going to retire next June. I'm taking long service and I won't be going back to work. Now that I’ve decided that I'm doing it, I'm getting more and more excited and I can't wait for it to come around.

I don't think life is going to change a whole lot. I think we're going to just keep doing the same things we're doing now. We've got a camper van that we like to go around in – we might be doing a bit more of that. Otherwise, not a lot will change. We might upgrade our car every few years.

We’re empty nesters, so we're rolling around the house. But at the moment we're happy where we are – no plans to move. And I'm never bored. If we're not going away or going out, I'm working in the garden, or we go to the beach for a drive. There's always something to do.

Financially I think we're in a good spot. We own the house and I've got my full points for super so I’ll get the full benefit.

The funny thing is, I never really gave retirement much thought until about 18 months ago. I was feeling a bit over work, and the minute I decided and got a date in my head, the ball kept rolling. From there, I just started getting more and more excited.

Before that, I was under the impression that I'll just keep going and going. But I was watching people getting sick – I've had a few close relatives pass away – and I've had a sort of reality check. The thing is, I'll have the funds because I can withdraw my money at 60. Why would I go to work when I can draw down on my super?

I’ll miss the people I work with. The job itself has been great. I’ve loved it but I always say everything has a use-by-date.

If you're happy at work and you want to stay, then stay. Some people want to stay forever. They love it that much.

But my only advice is just make sure you can afford to retire.

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This is not financial advice. This information is the personal opinion of the individuals concerned only. The views expressed here are not the views of Aware Super and should not be taken as a substitute for professional advice.

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