Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Retiring the retirement dream

I've always had an idea of what my retirement would look like.

In between clogging up bank and post office queues at lunchtime, and yelling at teenagers who drop rubbish on my lawn, I envisaged travelling the world.   With no job to rush back to, I saw myself spending months wandering around Europe, the US, South America and Asia.

At the risk of being over dramatic, that dream is dying.

Are we there yet?

With the Federal Budget approaching and ongoing "conversations" about pensions and retirement savings, I doubt whether my generation and those that follow will ever retire at all.

Instead of wandering the world, I'll still be searching for a seat on the peak hour bus to work.   And rather than enjoying the freedom and flexibility of my twilight years, I'll be stuck in the monotony of nine to five until I drop dead at my desk.

Is that retirement getting further away?
We can expect to live longer, but we'll also be spending more health care, have less government support, and hoping our super will last as long as it needs to.  Even those with children must be wondering whether their "precious little darlings" can be relied upon in the future, or if they'll have moved to the other side of the country to escape the parental burden.

The upside?  In my mind, all this makes a more compelling argument (as if we needed one) as to why we should travel now as much as possible.  It may have once been the dream to retire and then travel Australia and the world, but it's time to fact the facts:

Fact 1.  You may never retire
As the government encourages us to stay in the workforce for longer, chances are we'll be working until we die or until we're too ill to work.

Fact 2.  If you do retire, you will be older than you parents and grandparents were
Your parents and grandparents may have retired in their 60s.   We'll probably be hoping to do so in our 70s.

Fact 3.  You probably won't have the money to travel further than the local bingo hall
Living longer means we'll also need more money to live comfortably.  The uncertainly of just how long we'll hang around for means we'll probably put off travel.

The Bottom Line:  Don't delay, travel today.

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