It’s likely that when your Year 12 graduates replaced their school-books with a back pack and headed off overseas for what has now become the “rite of passage” gap year, you might have looked on a little wistfully.
This wasn’t just because you were providing the “get out of jail” credit card, but also because you realised that such luxuries didn’t exist in your day.
Baby Boomers might be the most prosperous demographic in history but we also grew up in the thrifty shadow of post-Depression and World War II era parents – the generation who resoled their shoes, darned socks, re-used tea bags and recycled cling wrap.
So, for most of us, the day we left school was the day we started university followed by work, work and more work. Now, in the twilight of a long career uninterrupted by excessive indulgence, we seem to be spending our time squirrelling away superannuation savings.
But we’re here to tell you – you now have permission to spend.
We are so good at putting our nose to the grindstone that our focus now seems to be how to survive the long cold winter of retirement (minus a government pension) rather than how we will enjoy the reward.
If you’re feeling up to your arm-pits in responsibility, then now is the time to throw a little abandon to the wind and plan your post-retirement in the same way that you are planning your super.
Rather than thinking of retirement as endless rounds of gardening and golf and morning coffee stretching to the horizon, why not plan a positively indulgent gap year celebration for all that hard work.
New York, New York
Your sixty something “gap year” – a responsibility free zone between work and retirement – might be 12 months in a Manhattan apartment studying a writing course and scribbling your Great Australian Novel.
Imagine waking up to the smell of fresh bagels and coffee in Tribeca, taking the subway to City University New York on Park Avenue to hear writers such as Peter Carey explain their craft and ending each day with a martini in a Downtown speakeasy before taking in jazz at the Village Vanguard.
Snow in Central Park, restaurant browsing in Brooklyn and the fall drives in Vermont can all be done at a leisurely pace if you “go American” for a year.
La Vie En Rose
Perhaps you have always dreamed of living in France – then what’s stopping you?
Start your French lessons now so that the only choice you have to make when you leave is Saint-Germain (amongst the Bohemian student lovers and Parisian street-side charcoal artists, just a stone’s throw across The Seine from The Louvre); or a cottage in Provence where you can retrace the steps of Picasso as you inhale the scent of sunflowers and lavender.
Perhaps your dream has always been more adventurous. How does a year trekking in India and the Himalayas sound?
Establish a headquarters in an old high-country lodge – a place to keep the gin and tonic on ice – then set out every few weeks on exploration missions retracing the journeys of the British Raj.
Or if that seems just a trifle colonial, you could volunteer to work on humanitarian projects and make a real difference to a global community. Help out in a children’s home, work on an organic farm or use your skills to teach and train anywhere from Mumbai to Costa Rica, Nepal to Ghana.
On the high seas
Then there are the world cruises – imagine living on a luxury ship for 12 months? In 2017 Planet Cruises promoted a 52-week voyage for £24,000 that was cheaper than living in London for a year.
The “cruise hopping” package which included five star cabin accommodation, gourmet meals and all of the recreational benefits of a cruise liner – from massages to casinos – offered stop offs in the Canary Islands for Christmas, Spain in the summer and Brazil in the northern winter.
Take to the open road
And finally, there is always the trusty caravan. If you feel you’ve missed out on driving at 80kmh between Adelaide and Brisbane being passed by road trains, sharing stories about petrol prices over a plastic tumbler of Fruity Gordo Lexia (not to mention the odd shower and toilet) then there is a veritable army of people out there waiting to relive your life stories for a rig.
While twelve months may seem like a long-time, the moral of the story is to do something for yourself, whatever the length of time.
Remember, no-one wants to be the richest person in the cemetery and as a wise man once said, you can’t take it with you, so why not give yourself a treat you deserve before you settle down into retirement for good.
At Advice SA we provide goal-based advice through discovery meetings that allow you to uncover your ‘blue sky’ dreams. Call us to find out what’s possible for you.
Mark Bastiaans is an Authorised Representative #296627 of Guideway Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN 46 156 498 538 AFSL 420367.
The information provided above contains general advice that does not take into account your financial situation, specific needs or objectives and is not intended to be personal financial advice and should not be relied upon without written advice from Guideway Financial Services Pty Ltd.