Posts Tagged “retirement”

What is your retirement song?

Dec 24, 2011 Posted Under: Guest Blogs, Retirement Living

Guest Post from Dr Ann Villers:

‘Don’t get to your grave with your song unsung’. So said American speaker Cavett Robert. It’s my favourite saying. Why? Because it challenges me to think about the big questions in life. Why am I here? What do I want to achieve while I’m walking this planet?

I’m a baby boomer and I’m keenly aware that there is now more life behind me than potentially ahead. So I find myself pondering what’s important to me, what would I still like to do. And I’m not alone in this. Plenty of people, not just baby boomers, wonder about what their song is and whether they are singing it.

We don’t just have one song in life. We could be singing multiple songs at different stages of life. The songs you sing as an unattached, free-ranging 20 something will differ from young parents juggling jobs and bills. Stacks of songs are possible for baby boomers, depending on whether you’re an empty nester, need to care for elderly relatives, have an interesting job, are in good health, operate a business or have a mortgage. What I find though, is at some point people start thinking: Is this all there is? They have a sense that at some deep, personal level, something is missing. Of all the songs they’ve been singing, ‘their song’ has yet to be sung. Retirement provides an opportunity to sing it.

While you’re busy juggling many demands, you may not have given much, if any, thought to that period of life called ‘retirement’. Why would you? You’re still working and there seems no pressing need to consider the next stage of life into your sixties and early seventies. And certainly there’s no time to think about it, let alone plan. Yet planning doesn’t have to take a lot of time, nor be completed in one sitting. But it does need to be done.

Retirement is a process

Retirement has traditionally been regarded as an event, marking a distinct phase of life, when full-time work stopped, and people moved into a life of leisure and relaxation. This model of retirement, with its cold turkey exit from the workforce, may still apply to some, but with the line between working full-time and not working blurring, baby boomers need to consider their options.

Retirement is now more a process than an event. Without some planning, the risk is that people retire from what they are doing, without having a clear idea of how they will retire and what they are retiring to.

How do you find your song?

Planning for retirement is just as complex and important a process as deciding what occupation or profession to embark on in the first place. We place much emphasis on asking the young ‘What would you like to do when you grow up?’ This is not a once-only question. It’s also a question that can have different answers each time it is asked. Pre-retirees also need to ask themselves, What do I want to do now? What is my song now and for the next couple of decades?

I suggest baby boomers become ‘career activists’. These are people who take charge of their life, thinking through what retirement means, how they want to live it and creating their own path to find it.

Why become a career activist?

Three reasons come to mind as to why baby boomers should take charge of their careers:

Firstly, each of us needs to work out for ourselves what retirement means. What comes to mind when you ponder retirement? Is it positive or negative? Whose retirements have you observed? What would you like to emulate or do differently than these retirements?

Secondly, retirement is a major life change. Our roles, relationships, daily routines all evolve. Retirement involves a transition between two significantly different stages of our lives. Drifting into retirement with no clear plan, hoping it will evolve on its own, is a poor recipe. Career activists have the skills to handle this change so as to obtain the best possible outcome.

Thirdly, this transition is stressful. Three areas cause stress in retirement. People underestimate the emotional impact. Do you understand what you are leaving behind? Will you miss your job title and all those problems you face at work? Stress also comes from a lack of fulfilling activities. Have you thought about the loss of structure to your day? Will playing golf be enough? Yet another source of stress is the change in family dynamics. How much time do you really want to spend with your spouse or partner? In short, can you imagine rising each day with the same anticipation you experience during your working career?

There’s much to think about for a pre-retiree career activist. The main task is to make sense of retirement in the context of your own life. The popular image of the happy retired couple strolling hand in hand at sunset along a pristine beach may fit and be attainable. Then again, you may wish to join the grey nomads touring the country, topping up the coffers with casual farm labour, such as fruit picking. Or you may wish to indulge some long-neglected hobbies. Any of these are worthy songs so long as you’ve thought them through.

Naturalist Diane Ackerman said: ‘I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well’. Part of the breadth and depth of life is singing your song.

What will your song be?


Dr Ann Villiers, learning guide, professional speaker and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist® specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people. Visit to learn more about Mental Nutrition. Visit for free resources unlocking the mysteries of public service jobs.

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Over 55’s retirement village

Oct 17, 2011 Posted Under: Buying a Retirement Home, Retirement Living

  What is an over 55’s retirement village ? Is it actually a retirement village?

OK, well lets get the technical legal terms out of the way first: A retirement village is technically whatever is described as a retirement village in your particular state or territory retirement villages act. Typically, it describes a retirement village as a community of older people (usually with a prescribed minimum age limit of 60 or 65) that occupy homes under a retirement village ‘scheme’, whereby they pay an in-going contribution and an exit or departure fee.

To call itself a ‘retirement village’, a retirement community has to be registered under the state or territory retirement villages act, and comply with that act.

Over 50’s or over 55’s villages are completely different.

These communities come under your state or territory’s demountable homes or caravan parks act. This is because the nature of your occupancy is more in line with caravan parks than retirement villages, in that you own the house and lease the plot of land that the building sits on. So you only pay for the house and you lease the plot of land from the community operator. Age restrictions are not part of the legislation, but may be enforced under the local council’s development approval from the village or the retirement community’s by-laws.

In theory, if you wanted to leave the village you are quite within your rights to lift up the home (as you would a caravan) and take it to another site. However in practice, the homes are there to stay and cannot really be moved. Many of the original over 55’s villages were demountable-type homes which could be relatively easily moved, although the new over 55’s villages today are proper brick and tile on slab buildings no different to a standard suburban home.

Other features of over 55’s villages include:

  • They are targeted to a younger demographic than your standard retirement village, which may have a qualifying age limit of 60 or 65.
  • You own the house outright and lease the plot of land – in retirement villages you occupy your residence under a lease or licence, or occasionally under a freehold arrangement.
  • You pay a regular fee (ie, weekly or monthly) that is similar to a body corporate or owners corporation fee and covers off the maintenance of the grounds and common areas, security, insurance, etc, as well as a component of rent for the land.
  • The rental or lease component for the plot of land your house sits on may attract the government rental allowance, if you qualify.
  • Most over 55’s villages don’t apply departure fees or take a share of any capital gain when you leave.
  • Because the facility is aimed at a younger demographic there are usually no care services provided on site. However there is nothing to stop you from bringing in any care or other services you need from an external provider, the same as you would if you were living in your own home.
  • They should be a cheaper accommodation option because there is no land component in the purchase price.


Some things you need to be aware of  however:

  • Make sure that your lease term on the land extends for a decent length of time – at least as long as you will be living there. 40+ years should be adequate.
  • Make sure your lease agreement does not allow the operator to terminate your lease agreement for any reason that you think is unreasonable, such as if the village operator goes broke or sells the village.
  • Make sure that your lease agreement does not allow the operator to arbitrarily raise the lease fee amount.
  • Find out who pays the rates – is this included in your weekly fee or not?


I am a big fan of the over 55’s villages if they don’t apply exit fees, as they will provide the retiree with a good financial outcome when they exit, unlike retirement villages, which can decimate your savings

It is always important to good advice on any purchase of significance and retirement villages are no different. Give us a call if you have any questions on 1300 425 442.

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Thinking about retiring? Think again…

Sep 10, 2011 Posted Under: Ageing Population

A special report by the NSW Treasury released with the state budget this Tuesday has provided an insight into state finances in 2050.

A key finding of the report was that impacts already expected by the ageing population have not fully materialised because older workers were staying in the workforce for longer.


The workforce participation rate for men in NSW aged over 65 has lifted from about 10 per cent in 2005 to 15.1 per cent in 2010-11. Treasury says this trend will continue and by 2028 one in five men over 65 will be working.

For women over 65, the participation rate has risen from about 3 per cent in the mid-2000s to above 7 per cent, and is expected to continue to rise to 12.3 per cent by 2050.

You can read more at the Sydney Morning Herald site HERE.

Why is this happening?

My feeling is that people are unable to retire due to the impact of the GFC on their retirement nest eggs and have to stay in the workforce longer until they can top-up their superannuation or their investments recover. Either way, I cannot see this trend changing anytime soon.

What about you? Are you staying in the workforce longer than necessary for financial reasons?

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When 60 is the new 20

Aug 27, 2011 Posted Under: Ageing Population, Retirement Living

As the average lifespan increases, ageing is not something to take lying down.

Getting older no longer looks the way it used to. Once upon a time, reaching your 60s meant saying goodbye to work, settling down in a cardigan and snuggling up with your grandchildren. Today, it might equally mean running a marathon, starting your own business, or going on a full-scale bender worthy of a 21st birthday party.

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A fast and simple way for seniors to get connected

Aug 20, 2011 Posted Under: Completely Unrelated, Retirement Living

Introducing the Telikin – a simple, easy-to-use computer.

This is an ideal product for older folk who would like to get connected to stay in touch with kids and grandchildren, without all of the added complexity of a typical desktop computer.

Check it out HERE.

By the way, I am posting this because I think its great – no money or product has changed hands!

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The dangers of debt in retirement

Jan 26, 2011 Posted Under: Retirement Living

You should have two primary financial goals for retirement: Retire with enough money to meet your retirement dreams, and retire without debt. Sadly, many people are choosing to ignore the second piece of advice and are retiring with a large amount of debt. And we’re not just talking about an affordable mortgage payment. A growing tendency among new retirees is retiring with credit card and other consumer debt. This is an alarming and dangerous trend that can quickly derail even the best laid retirement plans.

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