8 March 2023
AustralianSuper member Greg thought he’d find transitioning to retirement hard, but he’s loving every minute. Read more about his story and watch his video below to find out how his goals to travel more are driving his retirement dreams.
Feeling confident in retirement is a mix of 4 key factors – financial awareness and skills, health and wellbeing, social connection, and retirement awareness (goal setting) and planning. Together these factors all contribute to a happy retirement1.
For AustralianSuper member and Newcastle fitter and turner Greg, planning for retirement centres around his ‘kingdom’ and loved ones. The 60-year-old grandfather says a home is more than bricks and mortar and mortgages. It’s the people and moments inside (and outside) those walls that truly matter.
For Greg, family life is incredibly important. ‘Between us, my partner Angela and I have 6 kids and 6 grandchildren,’ he says. ‘We’re close with the grandkids and see them weekly for dancing, soccer, football and rugby league.
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Member: Greg Hayter
Retirement's what you work for. It's what you work for your whole life to finish up and enjoy the things in life that you wanted to do. That's why you work.
I'm Greg. I'm a fitter and turner. I've worked for the steel industry in Newcastle for 46 years and I've recently started long service leave. That will finish up when I'm 61 and then I'm going to retire. I've been with AustralianSuper for 25 years.
I don't think I'll miss the physical work, probably just going to work and being with mates and having a yak and yarn. Our goal is to travel as much as possible and I'm looking forward to going down the beach every day. I love the beach. Just the simple things, really. I think loneliness in retirement is a big issue. One of the key factors is having the purpose of what you want to do, where you want to go, what you need. And I think you don't have to have lavish plans to have a purpose.
AustralianSuper Education Manager: Jaclyn Livingstone
AustralianSuper has conducted a national study called the Retirement Confidence Index, and we've been doing this since 2017. AustralianSuper has been partnering with Monash University and the study explores what makes people confident as they're approaching retirement, as well as when they're in retirement.
So there's four key factors that influence retirement confidence. The first one is financial awareness and skills. There's social connections, your physical and mental health, as well as your ability to plan for the future and set goals.
Some people might be really strong in some areas, but then they might need to spend a bit more attention on some other areas. The Retirement Confidence Index shows that you need to balance the four key areas in order to be confident in your retirement.
Member: Greg Hayter
You work towards finishing up. I thought I'd be terrified, but I haven't missed a day yet. I just love it. It's been great!
Life begins at retirement
After 46 years in the Newcastle steel industry Greg was nervous about slowing down – not because he’d miss the graft, but because he would miss the camaraderie with workmates.
‘I thought I’d be bored when I retired – but I love it,’ says Greg, who now has much more quality time with his partner Angela, their children and grandchildren, and their beloved golden retriever, Sonny.
Through Greg’s working years, his job not only helped him connect with others – it also helped keep him fit and active. But Greg’s job was especially demanding.
‘Being a fitter is hot, demanding work, and I knew my body was not going to last in that industry,’ explains Greg. ‘I didn’t want to come into retirement with any physical injuries.’
Good physical and mental health are key factors of retirement confidence. In fact, together this makes up 50% of someone’s confidence score.
Luckily for Greg, his love of the beach keeps him active. ‘We love taking long walks on the beach – with the dog, of course!’
|Confidence in retirement|
|Financial awareness and planning (30%)||Health and wellbeing (30%)||Social factors (20%)||Retirement awareness and planning (20%)|
|Financial literacy||Physical health||Social connectedness||Future uncertainties|
|Financial attitude and behaviour||Mental health||Goal setting for retirement|
Goal setting in retirement – a passion for pools and travel
According to the RCI, goal setting is also key to help keep you focused in retirement. For Greg, there are both local and international goals on his wish list.
‘One goal we did set for our retirement was to get a pool put in, and this is our kingdom out here,’ Greg explains. ‘We sit by the pool every lunchtime and eat, and we love it, sitting here in the sun.’
But there are plans to go further afield too. After a lifetime of working to provide for their families, Greg and Angela are planning to travel.
‘When I was younger, I had kids, family and a mortgage to think of. Angela and I have been together for about 20 years now, and we’ve both worked hard and found a shared passion for travel and adventure,’ Greg shares.
‘We plan to take a cruise around Europe exploring Italy, Greece, France and Spain, and then we’re going across the US, through the Caribbean, and stopping off in Hawaii on the way home.
‘We’re also keen to see Tasmania and Western Australia and hopefully take Sonny with us, as there are a lot of dog-friendly hotels.’
Setting goals is part of retirement awareness and planning and makes up 20% of a person’s confidence score. Combined with the other factors it’s essential for a happy retirement.
Find out more: Planning your retirement
Financial planning has given Greg freedom for the future
Having the financial freedom to pursue their passions was important for Greg and Angela as they planned for retirement. ‘You wouldn’t want to worry about where your next dollar is coming from, so having some security in our retirement plan and owning our own home is a big part of that,’ Greg says.
Retirement planning was another top priority. ‘I always put more into my super and Angela has done the same. That’s been working well for us,’ Greg explains.
‘To have a happy retirement, you don’t want any money worries’, he says. ‘We’re happy with where we’re at: we own our house and have done for years now, and we feel like we’ve already done the hard work.’
The RCI takes 4 key factors into consideration, but having enough super savings is still a top priority, according to members surveyed2.
Staying connected to ex-work colleagues and friends
Staying connected in retirement is also a key part of feeling confident. For many, leaving work can mean seeing people less, and this is an area many forget to consider when planning their retirement.
Greg is planning regular catch-ups with fellow retirees who he worked with in the steel industry.
‘We’re going to meet up on a quarterly basis and have a beer and a meal at the pub,’ he says. ‘We’re really focused on maintaining our connections.’
A new focus for retirement?
Greg hasn’t ruled out unretiring, returning to the workforce to carry out some part-time work. Perhaps at a hardware store, to meet people from other walks of life and stop any retirement boredom.
‘After working in the same job for 46 years, I’d like the challenge of doing something different,’ Greg says. ‘It’s not about the money. It would be nice to work in a job where you are meeting and interacting with different people.’
Plenty more ahead
While it might be the end of Greg’s career in the steel industry, there’s plenty more ahead.
‘You work to feed your family, look after your kids and get yourself a house,’ says Greg. ‘But at the end of the day, you’re working to finish up and enjoy life. And that’s exactly what we plan to do.’
Achieve the retirement you deserve
How confident do you feel about retirement? Take our quick quiz to see how your retirement confidence score compares to the average Australian.
Support planning your retirement
AustralianSuper provide a number of services that can help members feel more financially prepared as they plan for retirement. The RCI shows that retirement planning can boost financial literacy, and help relieve financial anxiety, both of which can help boost confidence and outcomes.
- Retirement Confidence Index, AustralianSuper and Monash University
- Retirement Confidence Index, AustralianSuper and Monash University 2022
The views expressed are those of the member based on their particular circumstances, reproduced with their continuing consent.
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