7 tips to help you adjust to retirement

If you’re thinking about transitioning to retirement any time soon, it’s important to have a clear picture of the sort of retirement you’d like to have. Even with the best planning, there are some retirement factors that are outside of your control. The key is to be as well-prepared as possible, so you’re confident – this includes financial, health and wellbeing, and social considerations.

Key life changes, such transitioning to retirement, have some common factors which sit outside of a person’s control. These include things such as being overly invested in your work and not having work/life balance; your financial status; whether or not you have strong support network; or becoming redundant from your job.       

One of the ways to successfully adapt to retirement, according to Organisational psychologist Dr Sarah Cotton, from Transitioning Well, is to ‘harness the heck out of those factors that you can influence.’


7 tips to transitioning to retirement 

Here are 7 tips from Dr Cotton and Dr Eraj Ghafoori, Behavioural Economist at AustralianSuper.

These include:

  1. Continue planning for your retirement 

    ’Often when retirement starts, the planning stops. But you have to keep planning for retirement even in retirement,’ Dr Cotton says. This includes making sure your ongoing physical, financial and mental health needs are being met.


  2. Set goals

    The Retirement Confidence Index1 survey, carried out by AustralianSuper and Monash University surveys over 3000 Australians aged over 50 and provides a comprehensive look at Australians’ attitudes toward retirement, both before and after retiring, and behaviour in retirement.

    The report has found that setting clear goals is an increasingly important predictor of retirement confidence.

    ‘When setting goals, it’s important to visualise the kind of retirement you want,’ says Eraj Ghafoori, Behavioural Economist at AustralianSuper.

    ‘The next step is to start gathering information about what you need to do to achieve the retirement you want. Once you know what you need to do, you can start setting specific and clear goals,’ he says.


  3. Keep up healthy habits – or start them

    The Retirement Confidence Index has also shown that a person’s physical and mental health are extremely strong predictors of retirement confidence.

    Dr Ghafoori says: ‘Healthier individuals have a better retirement experience and have a more positive attitude toward retirement. Even with money and friends, without a healthy body and mind, it may be difficult to enjoy retirement.


  4. Consider transitioning to retirement

    Moving from work into retirement overnight isn’t ideal for everyone. For some, transitioning into retirement could provide a new work/life balance.

    A Transition to Retirement (TTR) Income account lets you access some of your super while you’re still working and can be used alongside your regular super account. You could focus on saving more leading into retirement, or you could balance your lifestyle by working less while topping up your take-home pay.



  5. Get some pre-retirement advice

    One of the best places to get retirement advice is from friends or family members who have retired well and are happy. They can help you understand what’s ahead and feel in control of the process. It can also be helpful to speak to a financial expert, to make sure you’re in the best retirement position possible.


  6. Don’t stop learning

    ‘We often underestimate the mental stimulation work gives us,’ Dr Cotton says. Therefore, continued learning – either formally or informally – through hobbies and interest groups can enhance self-esteem at a time when you no longer identify with your work-based persona. ‘Post retirement work is about finding the new rhythm and routines of your day.’

    Not sure where to start? Here are just a couple of things you might like to consider learning:

  7. Make sure you have social and emotional support

    Having people to rely on, and good relationships in your life, is a basic human need.

    People who feel connected with families, friends and the wider community are more confident about their retirement – social connectedness is a 30% predictor of confidence,’ says Ghafoori. “I believe the significance of social connectedness in relation to confidence is understated, because social connectedness also influences your mental health.”


1. AustralianSuper Retirement Confidence Index

This may include general financial advice which doesn’t take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision consider if the information is right for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, available at australiansuper.com/pds or by calling 1300 300 273. A Target Market Determination (TMD) is a document that outlines the target market a product has been designed for. Find the TMDs at australiansuper.com/TMD.

AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788, Trustee of AustralianSuper ABN 65 714 394 898.


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