As our life expectancy has doubled since three decades ago, we have been lucky to be able to work and stay active in many different areas before retirement. Even those who have retired tend to find new projects or ventures to keep their brains stimulated and their minds expanding.
The average Australian retirement age is around 55.3 years, much younger than the world’s average. So retirees are not sitting idle at home, at least in Australia. They are active participants and drivers in the economy. Sydney is ranked as the best city to retire in based on a Mercer report comparing 230 cities across the world on 39 factors and is full of programs and projects geared towards or initiated by the retirees.
So if you are one of the unemployed yet equally ambitious retirees, here are some ways you can explore how to use this new blank canvas.
Evaluate who you are and discern how you thrive
You’ve been around the block and likely have decades of colourful experience in your professional and personal life. You know situations you’ve hated, situations that helped you thrive, and situations that made work feel like fun.
You now have an opportunity to do something different and cherry pick what you work on. It is the status you have been working hard to achieve your whole career: you are the sole decision maker!
But first, get to know yourself better by analysing all dimensions of your personality in an objective way. There is always a little exercise and willpower required in reconciling the idealised version of yourself and the most consistent version of yourself. What are the environmental factors that make or break your success? What makes you happy? It’s not just about the nature of the work/project or the industry; it is about the people you want to surround yourself with and the culture you want to create in your daily life.
Find or create careers on your terms
Many often opt in to become advisers or consultants for growing companies in the field of their expertise. You can mentor new generations of companies and their young, ambitious entrepreneurs. Continuing your legacy this way is a tempting choice and hence a popular one.
You also would have accumulated a fair amount of transferable skills that could help you try a completely new field if desired. Want to get into writing? You can try becoming a freelancer to get your writing career started. There are no barriers to entry.
You could take TAFE courses simply to learn something new and pivot your direction somewhere different while still building on your experience and knowledge. On the other hand, you may also be able to host training classes or webinars to share your knowledge. An endless cycle of learning!
Seek New Projects to Invest In
What are some of the things you’ve always wanted to do if you didn’t have a family to raise or if money wasn’t an issue? Maybe a hobby you twiddled around with?
Now it’s time to devote 100% of your energy into them. Have you thought about having a farm or vineyard? Maybe you can buy a small piece of land where you could start harvesting. With all the tools and information readily accessible, you’re likely going to be able to DIY all tasks needed to make your once dormant dream come true.
Do you love gardening? Work with local governments and their community engagement initiatives – sign up for a gardening project in your neighborhood to help beautify a church, shelter, etc. Why not be a volunteer and be the driving force of good that our societies often desperately need but lack?
No matter which path you choose, remember not to settle. It’s your golden years, so make sure they stay golden!