Retirement isn’t a destination – it’s just life.

It's far too easy to think of retirement as an exented holiday and not consider how to get more out of your new circumstances.   

Barry La Valley is a Canadian educator and retirement expert. He’s been in New Zealand promoting his latest book: ‘So you think you are ready to retire’.

Barry says too often people are clear about they are retiring from but not entirely clear about what they are retiring to.

“My advice is to remove the focus on money and start thinking about life issues. Start looking at retirement from an emotional perspective. Your life still has to have meaning so figure out what you value in life before you retire. Retirement is the opportunity to spend time on things that you love doing and are already doing.

“Retirement isn’t one long phase of life but a multi phased journey. At each stage there are opportunities and challenges so you need to roll with the punches. For example when you face a health issue think “how can I get the best out of this situation?”

Successful retirees are generally optimistic people who believe they can control parts of their lives.

“They seek out new opportunities to learn or experience new things – they refuse to give in to an attitude that focuses on ageing as negative or that retirement means being “near the end”.

Barry La Valley says many people make the mistake of spending like drunken sailors in the first three years of retirement.

“My grandmother use to say “cut your coat by your cloth”. In retirement this means making adjustments to your lifestyle so that a reversal in the share market isn’t likely to change the way you live. The key to financial comfort isn’t about how much money you have, it’s about how you feel about your financial situation.”

Barry’s retirement tips:

  • Assess how you live your life today and how you want to live it in the future
  • Remove the focus on money and start thinking instead about life issues.
  • Good relationships and health are the biggest keys to a successful retirement
  • The same skills that helped you succeed in the work place will make you successful in retirement.

‘So you think you are ready to retire’ by Barry LaValley with Cambridge Partners NZ.