If you’re in your late fifties or early sixties, you’ve probably imagined what an early retirement could look like. There are a variety of benefits that come with retiring early, as well as a few reasonable concerns. Not having a traditional day job can be nerve-wracking for any person, even one who’s achieved a lot of success. This is because retirement and financial independence are not one and the same.
Retirement and financial independence are commonly used interchangeably. However, there are keen differences between the two. Financial independence can be applicable to any person who has earned enough to sustain their livelihoods without traditional work, regardless of their age. Retirement is, mostly, used to describe people in their later life – usually over 60 years of age – who are financially independent and no longer working.
Distinctions aside, the opportunity for early retirement is becoming more common for people of all ages in our modern world. Digital, technological, market and communication advancements have made earning passive and additional income more accessible than ever before. Both, early retirement and financial independence are more possible today than ever before.
Early Retirement and Financial Independence
Early retirement, in particular, refers to people who’ve become financially independent before the usual retirement age – 60, in the case of South Africa. Many of these early retirees have become squeamish at the use of the term ‘retirement’, but the reality’s that if you’re financially prepared to end your career, you can retire early! Achieving financial independence and leaving the workforce means that we’ve got more time to enjoy our accumulated wealth and spend more time with our friends and family.
The Benefits of Early Retirement
- Running errands and making plans is easier
With an early retirement, your days are freed up to do what you need to, when you want to. Early retirees can run their errands or do a weekly shop at times that are most convenient to them. Make plans with friends and family more easily, avoid the worst of weekday traffic and enjoy less busy parks, shopping centres, gyms or movie theatres.
- Try out free and discounted activities
Having all this extra free time allows early retirees to take advantage of weekday or monthly specials at local museums, movie theatres, travel agencies and restaurants. Don’t miss the 50% discount at your favourite restaurants and shops, reduced return flights or free-for-everyone days at the best museum in town.
- Enjoy a better social life
Most professionals work five days a week and from 8am to 5pm. It might not be this schedule exactly, but having the opportunity to develop a thriving social life can be difficult for those working a full-time job. Early retirement gives those who dedicated themselves to their careers for decades a chance to expand their social circle or enjoy new and different night-life and activities.
- Focus on your friends
In the digital age, it’s tempting to maintain some relationships online or over phone calls. The reality’s that by retiring early, you can focus your time and energy on your offline relationships and connections. Spend more time with your favourite people in the (real) world and when it’s convenient.
- Spend more quality time with your family
One of the best parts about retiring – one of many – is that you’ve got more time to spend with your loved ones. You’ve got the freedom, space and flexibility to spend more quality time with your family or speak to ones overseas. Perhaps you could even visit them more often. Early retirees can focus on their spouses, kids, grand-kids and extended families without the hindrance of a busy work life.
- Get in better shape
Without having to spend your whole day at the office, you can take better care of your health. Early retirees have the opportunity to improve their nutrition and exercise more frequently. After years of ordering takeaways, barely sleeping and stretching at your desk, retirees can focus on eating better, sleeping better and staying in shape. Not to mention, these are all so important for maintaining our mental health.
- No fear of getting fired
Without having a traditional job, you no longer have to worry about job security in this hyper competitive labour market. Retiring early, because you’re financially independent, gives you the freedom to live your life the way you want to. You’ll never have to adapt your lifestyle to appease your employer – ever again!
- Finding new purpose in life
Many in the working population mistake their life’s purpose for their professional purpose. As the saying goes, work is ‘what you do, not who you are’. Retirement, finally gives dedicated professionals the opportunity to prioritise other areas of interest and forgotten passions. The additional time and energy those early retirees have for new activities and interests can help them find new purpose in life.
Possible Concerns About Early Retirement
The most common concerns about early retirement are whether or not you’ve got the financial and social resources to maintain your current lifestyle without work, and what to do with all that free time. This takes planning and experience. You need to plan out your yearly budget and determine what you’ll need. This is usually a smaller number than you think, and most early retirees are well-prepared to live a happy life.
As far as the free time, potential laziness and wasted days that many considering early retirement are concerned about: trust yourself. You need to use this time to find new hobbies, try new activities, travel the world more and spend less time on social media and in your emails. Perhaps you’re a master pianist in waiting or an author looking for the right story, maybe you’re a capable endurance athlete or a gifted chef. You won’t know until you try.
Early Retirement Is Worth It
Whether you’re volunteering for a charity organisation, planning to visit loved ones in other countries or training to climb Kilimanjaro, early retirement and financial independence means that you have the time and resources to commit to them. Find new purpose, explore new places and try new things, the possibilities of an early retirement lifestyle are endless.
Deciding where you are going to live is a critical investment in your post-retirement lifestyle. If you are a retiree and considering where to call home on this exciting new chapter of your life – consider joining one of Manor Retirement’s beautiful and bustling communities.
It gives us great pleasure to welcome Deon and Bernadette Steyn into our midst.
As a couple they will be managing both Riverside Manor and Lonehill Manor. Deon and Bernadette have had a long and distinguished career in the hospitality industry. Most recently, over the last 20 years or so, they have been managing a number of game lodges in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Luckily for us all they have tired of the bush and have young children who they believe should grow up in a bigger environment and therefore their choice to move to Johannesburg.
Their energetic and efficient manner of operation is already making a positive difference in our villages, as witnessed by all those who have met them.
Welcome to the two of you, Deon and Bernadette!
Trying to find your “purpose in life” can be a difficult task at any age. This can be especially difficult for retirees, as their lives begin to slow down, and they have more time to explore new ideas, interests, and activities.
The days of waking up and getting the kids ready for school before heading off to work are gone. Although many of us feel the sting of an empty nest or miss our old office space, the reality is that older people have so much more time to invest in themselves and their goals after retirement.
Do not miss an opportunity to focus on yourself, find a new purpose in life and rediscover previous ambitions and loves. A busy schedule can fill your day with a lot of activity while navigating your professional career, however, you can spend your retirement years on fewer, higher-quality, and inspiring pursuits that will feed your soul.
Were you once an artist? Perhaps a carpenter? Or maybe you are a former chess champion that has not played in years? Now’s the time to rediscover what makes you happy and fills you with excitement. Your retirement years are for you. It is hard-earned and takes a long time to reach, that’s why retirement years are for exploration, rediscovery, relaxation, and freedom.
It can be a bit of a culture shock to go through these lifestyle changes. After years of taking care of your loved ones, performing in your career, and focusing on others, you suddenly have free days and calm mornings. Yes, it can be strange, but it can also be fun, intentional, and purposeful.
Living Life with a Purpose
In order to overcome the possibly unnerving calm and quiet of your post-retirement schedule, you need focus on goals, activities, and hobbies that drive your purpose. Living life with a purpose can take many forms and develop at different rates. What matters to you and what inspires you is your choice. Maybe you want to explore social service opportunities or travel the world with a loved one.
Perhaps you are interested in sharing your wisdom and experience with the community around you or learning a new language or picking up an old instrument. Once you have determined your goals and interests, you will be able to spend your days performing activities and trying new things that will help you define that purpose.
6 Ways of Leading an Active and Purposeful Lifestyle Post Retirement
Leading an active lifestyle that supports your new goals and life’s purpose will be the most important step after retiring. After which, you can begin organising your daily life to support your newfound purpose and fill your days with meaningful activities.
As you try to lead an active lifestyle post retirement, you should consider these 6 steps:
Creating a Schedule
Leading a disciplined life can be difficult without the structure of your professional and familial responsibilities. Creating a schedule that is intentional and fulfilling will be a critical part of your transition into post-retirement life. Concentrate on taking care of your needs. Besides your new hobbies and activities, you should try to sleep 8 hours a night, exercise 30 minutes a day and take any prescribed medications, regularly.
De-stress and Relax
This can be easier said than done but focusing on destressing and relaxing should be a top priority for those living a post-retirement life. Elderly members of society have spent their working lives taking care of their professional and familial responsibilities. By destressing and relaxing our minds, our mood improves, our body recuperates, and our soul replenishes. Try meditating 30 minutes a day or writing in a journal, use part of your day to look inside and prioritise calm and happiness.
Activities with a Purpose
Performing activities that are focused on our new goals and interests make living a purposeful life much easier. Spend 2 to 3 hours (at least) on activities that are complementary to your newfound purpose. If it is social service or learning new skills, teaching your community, or following an athletic pursuit, you need to make this a central feature of your post-retirement daily activities.
Spending Time with Loved Ones
Spending time with your friends and family’s important post retirement. We spend many of our office days wishing we could have had more dinners with family or drinks with friends. Work may have prevented you from travelling to meet loved ones overseas or meet friends with conflicting work schedules. Spouses, children, grandchildren, friends, and other loved ones can finally get all of the attention and time we’ve been wanting to share with them.
Spending Time on Yourself
Retirement gives us an opportunity to focus on our mental and physical well-being and health. This time allows us to pause, reflect and appreciate the past, as well as planning and organising for the future. Purpose cannot be found by someone else; we need to inspire those ambitions within ourselves. You will be the writer of your life’s next chapter, enjoy it.
Take Time Off
Yes, you need to find your new life’s purpose and fill your schedule with activities that help you grow and develop in your post-retirement years. However, you also need to take some time for yourself. You have worked all your life and focused on so many different responsibilities, you deserve a break.
Take time off for leisurely activities, like painting, meditating, or playing an instrument, and enjoy your new life. Calm and quiet does not need to mean boredom or inactivity, it can be time well-spent on yourself, a chance to kick your feet up and enjoy the spoils of your post-retirement life.
Deciding where you are going to live is an important part of defining your post-retirement lifestyle. If you’re a retiree that’s considering where to call home on this new and exciting chapter of your life – consider one of Manor Retirement’s beautiful and bustling communities.
It is with sadness that we announce the retirement of Linda and Cas Venter.
They have been the Management of Riverside Retirement Village from the very beginning and have become synonymous with the village. They began with Riverside Manor, moulded it and developed it through good times and bad times into what it is today. We are extremely grateful to them for the loyalty, efficiency and passion that they have contributed through the years.
It has been a wonderful relationship that we will cherish always and we wish them all the very best in the ‘second half’ of their lives.
It’s important to remember that everyone leads a special and unique life that will look different to the person next to them. Our professional and personal journeys should help us determine what we want our retirement to look like. Unfortunately, retirement planning can be a daunting and overwhelming process for many soon-to-be retirees.
These feelings are not unwarranted because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to retirement planning for South African families and individuals. In order to live out your retirement years in style and comfort, you’ll need to consider a variety of complex, individual circumstances to create the perfect retirement plan for you.
Even general guidelines, such as this, will only provide some direction for the steps you’ll need take on your retirement journey. From choosing the right financial advisors, investments and banking services to deciding where to live and what your post-retirement expenses will be; there are many thoughts about how South Africans should approach their retirement.
Here is a list of things you should know before considering your retirement:
A simple savings goal is not enough
Whatever your savings goal is, it probably won’t be the right number. Being financially independent post-retirement isn’t about meeting a saving ambition that you hope is enough. It’s about identifying your desired lifestyle, knowing your expenses and ensuring there’s money put away to meet those needs, for years to come. Basically, your savings goal needs to be determined by how much you plan to spend in your retirement, not the other way around.
Post-retirement expenses can be more than in your professional years
It’s a common misconception that you’ll be spending less in retirement than when you’re working. This can be true, but it’s not always. Yes, certain expenses will disappear in retirement, like paying into a pension fund or for petrol on your daily commute, but these savings could be needed for other post-retirement expenses.
For example, higher medical costs, visiting family around the globe, increasing inflation on amenities and other lifestyle changes can increase your expenses. Most retirees are looking to maintain or improve their current lifestyle – not to reduce it. A retirement plan should consider how to replace annual earnings and plan for new expenses that may arise.
A maximum annual, tax-deductible amount on earnings is critical, but not sufficient
By allocating money to a pre-retirement fund, you’re able to reduce your taxable income for any given year, while building wealth in the meantime. However, individuals in higher tax brackets will not earn the savings needed to fund their current or future lifestyle expenses. The 27.5% tax deductible that South African investors are entitled to are subject to terms and conditions, such as a R350 000 monetary cap on deductibles per annum.
Even with years of tax deductibles under your belt, these probably won’t be able to replace a substantial yearly income. Investors and soon-to-be retirees should look to grow their savings beyond their tax-deductible earnings. It’s important to consider tax-free savings accounts, growing retirement annuities, smarter vehicle and residential investments and other ways of diversifying your earning potential.
Post-Retirement work can help to meet your savings goals, but can’t guarantee them
Yes, it’s possible for you to keep working into your sixties and seventies to secure a larger retirement fund for you and your family. However, there are a variety of circumstances beyond your control that can limit your earning potential post-retirement. Yours or your spouse’s health could deteriorate or your company could have different employment policies for older workers.
This is, especially, true for occupations that require healthy and physically-present professionals, such as doctors, teachers and tradespeople. Even if remote and adapted work is possible, there can be limited job security for retirement-age employees. They can be susceptible to downsizing cuts or reduced wages, after years of earning larger remuneration – and part-time, consultant and contract work that match your previous earnings can be hard to find.
Retirees can still have a bond on their house after retiring
Most professionals are hesitant to carry debt into their retirement. If you’re considering downsizing, buying a new home with cash or paying off a current home at an attractive interest rate, you can leverage those finances for other post-retirement spending. Post-retirement, you’ve got to balance the benefits of living debt-free with the opportunity cost of having less cash available for other purposes. Retirees should know how long they plan to live a that mortgaged home, what their post-retirement expenses are and what other financial means they have to meet their lifestyle needs.
Your retirement plan must account for future changes
Market volatility is a common concern for those entering their retirement years. The possibility of depleting your financial savings will concern even the most prepared, soon-to-be retirees. Some retirement plans will focus on risk-averse investment strategies, such as bonds or fixed annuities. This, however, can hinder potential earning opportunities.
In our modern world, people are living longer, digital platforms are making it easier to invest and access to global earning opportunities is growing by the day. As we mentioned earlier, you won’t know exactly how much money you’ll need for a happy and healthy retirement. Risk-averse strategies can secure a certain amount of money, but it can also limit your earning potential post-retirement.
If you’re considering growing your potential earnings into your retirement years, you should consult with experts who understand your personal circumstances and post-retirement goals. Financial and investment planning for upcoming retirees needs to be advised by qualified, capable and experienced financial advisors who can help you meet your lifestyle expectations.
Deciding where you are going to live is a critical part of defining your post-retirement lifestyle. If you are a retiree and considering where to call home on this exciting, new chapter of your life – consider joining one of Manor Retirement’s beautiful and bustling communities.
2021 is already looking more hopeful than 2020. Despite the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic trudging along, there is hope in the form of better practices, more pandemic experience and effective vaccines. The behaviours of all businesses, organisations and households have evolved to meet today’s requirements for staying safe during the pandemic.
The question has come up frequently over the past year: Are senior living communities or retirement villages safe to occupy during Covid-19? Like most communal, residential environments, senior living communities have adjusted and adapted to the new “normal”. The responsibility falls on owners, managers, caregivers and staff to create a safe and secure environment, in spite of the pandemic.
Temperature checks, sanitisation, social distancing, PPE and, now, vaccinations have become a regular part of retirement living. Having these protocols in place have allowed these communities to keep their residents and staff safe, while managing to maintain the thriving social communities that exist in South Africa.
Most seniors have been forced to miss out on their favourite activities during the national lockdowns. From restaurants to indoor exercise and family visits to local movie theatres, keeping up with your regular life as a senior citizen has been difficult. Fortunately, the careful preparation and learning over the past year has allowed retirement communities to continue some old – and adapted – social activities, safely.
You might be wondering if this is possible. Can now, really, be a good time to move into a senior living community? The reality is that this is a huge decision for you or your loved ones at the best of times. However, there are still a variety of benefits that are associated with living in a retirement village in a post-Covid-19 world.
Here are six of the main advantages of moving into a senior living community now:
All of your necessities are covered
Residents of senior living communities are assisted in all of their day-to-day activities, like cooking, cleaning, bathing, taking medication and shopping. There are a multitude of daily tasks that become harder to complete as we age – and even harder during a pandemic. All of the caregivers that assist in these tasks are tested, trained and advised on how to keep all residents and themselves safe during the pandemic.
Most retirement villages have transformed the way they cater to and serve their communities to ensure that all residents’ necessities and needs are covered, while keeping Covid-19 out. These communities will continue to evolve, in order to guarantee all of their residents are kept safe and well-cared for. Shopping, exercising, socialising, organising meals and housekeeping are all made easier in a senior living community, in spite of the pandemic.
Easy access to onsite healthcare services
Most senior living communities are equipped to offer assisted living and frail care options on their premises. This is in addition to the nurses, caregivers and staff that are trained to provide daily assistance to our senior population who are suffering from mental or physical decline. Some retirement villages have an onsite clinic which can perform emergency procedures, provide constant care and conduct necessary testing when needed.
These clinics will often include a dispensary and speciality services, like physical therapy or mental health services. Easily accessible and fully-integrated, these healthcare services are onsite to ensure that all residents are being taken care of and living their healthiest possible life. All of this helps to reduce the health risks associated with aging and adds an extra layer of protection and reassurance during the pandemic.
Strict health and safety protocols
In every retirement village, members of staff are being trained to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and residents to follow best practices. Beyond this, all common areas, like hallways, dining rooms, elevators, lobbies, etc., are being heavily sanitised and cleaned every day. Screenings and tests are being conducted to ensure all staff and guests do not exhibit symptoms and can safely interact within the community. Additional steps, such as contact tracing and mandatory mask wearing have become standard health and safety protocols.
Easy access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines
Phase 2 of South Africa’s vaccine rollout plan will include residents in congregated living environments and persons over the age of 60. This means that the vast majority, if not all, residents living in senior living communities will be eligible for a vaccine. Even further, these residents may have access to testing at their onsite clinic or government-funded testing, or be enrolled in a vaccination programme, without the hassle of confusing websites and online booking systems. Frequent testing and high vaccination rates are the fastest way to building a safe, Covid-free community.
Socialise more safely and confidently
Senior living communities have adopted some of the safest ways of socialising within their community. Communal practices, such as small group gatherings, outdoor activities, scheduled dining experiences and socially-distanced exercise classes, allow residents to carefully and confidently socialise with their community. This is on top of the strong public health practices and behaviours that are already being employed, like frequent sanitisation and testing.
Ensure financial stability
The financial security and stability that comes with living in a retirement village – during these times – can’t be overstated. Community members don’t have to worry about the maintenance, upkeep and sale-value of a home amidst the pandemic. Managing expenses, preserving your lifestyle and securing needed care or assistance in these communities is also easier than ever. Becoming a part of these vibrant communities is not only beneficial during the pandemic, but at any point that you or a loved one need a little extra help and support in their daily life.
If you’re looking to move into a senior living community, make sure you’re choosing the best one for you or your family member. Manor Retirement offer a wide range of independent and assisted living options with the best healthcare services and well-trained caregivers to support you.