Giving up your day job doesn’t necessarily equate to boredom (though enjoy it if that’s your plan). There are plenty of options to ensure your retirement is a time of fulfilment, challenges, and new adventures.

Volunteer to help others

It’s the gift that keeps giving. Volunteering your time not only helps others, but can also be extremely fulfilling. According to healthdirect, volunteering can provide a sense of purpose, keep you in regular contact with others, and help develop a solid support base. It is also beneficial in protection against stress and depression.

It’s important to make sure you commit your time to something you are passionate about. Websites SEEK Volunteer and GoVolunteer are non-profit initiatives designed to connect you with the right positions. Options include offering your services to industries such as arts and heritage, businesses, welfare, community, education and training, conservation, animal welfare, emergency services, environment, health, parenting, children and youth, religion, and/or sport and recreation.

For the most up-to-date advice, Volunteering Australia provides a search function to help you to find volunteer opportunities according to your skills, interests, location, and availability.

Learn a new skill

It’s never too late to up skill. The WEA is a great place to start. The adult learning organisation offers courses in just about everything. Wrap your vocabulary around German, Hindi, Chinese Mandarin, the Kaurna language, or classical Greek. Master the art of painting or antique furniture restoration, learn how to live off-grid, how to ballroom or belly dance, and get the most out of your computer. WEA also hosts travel experiences. Experience off the beaten track India with a tour leader who was born there, or plan your own trip with information sessions on Japan, Scandinavia, France, and Russia. Courses change regularly so keep your eye on the website for updates.

Make a pilgrimage

Pilgrimage routes wind their way across the globe. They vary in length and difficulty but in each case, the journey is spectacular and can be transformational. People walk the pilgrim path for many reasons: religious, recreation, reflection, to honour a deceased loved one or simply to get away from everyday life. The Camino de Santiago (through France and Spain) is popular with Australians. Off the beaten track options include the Camino Ignaciano, Via Franicigena, Via Romea Germanica, Cammino di Assisi, Germany’s various Jakobsweg routes and France’s Chemin St Jacques. Fancy the spiritual impact of a (log) srroll through Japan? The O-Shikoku pilgrimage on the island of Shikoku spans approximately 1200 kilometres and includes 88 temples and many sacred sites.

Join a club

Meet new people and connect over common interests. For the handymen out there, the Australian Men’s Shed Association boasts more than 1000 independent community based Men’s Sheds nationwide. It’s not just about building stuff (though there’s deep satisfaction in crafting furniture or restoring bicycles for a local school). It’s also about learning new skills, getting out of the house and chatting with other men. Many communities also boast their own women’s shed. Join one or create a club of your own.

Other organisations devoted to positive, communal use of your time is View Club, a national women’s organisation with over 15,000 members. It stands for the voice, interests and education of women. Their catch-ups and outings are a hit with members. The CWA (Country Women’s Association) is a not-for-profit organisation made up of volunteers who work to promote the welfare of women and children. It’s particularly popular with fans of handcrafts and baking.

Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, and caravan clubs also operate in the far corners of South Australia (and the country).

Take up a sport

Golf, netball, yoga, badminton, tennis, sailing, lawn bowls… there’s a sport to fit every body, mind and soul. The South Australian Road Runners Club is great for anyone who wants to ease into running the safe way. Courses are enjoyable and appropriate for all levels of runners and walkers.

Hone your sport skills to perfection and you could earn yourself a gold medal. The Australian Masters Games are held in Adelaide during October 2019 and include a range of sports including archery, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, BMX, bocce, kayaking, cricket, croquet, cue sports, cycling, darts, equestrian events, fly fishing, football, soccer, golf, gymnastics, hockey, judo, shooting, softball, tenpin bowling and many more. Go on, it’s never too late to look after your body.

Devote time to family

You’ve worked hard all your life. Now it’s time to make space in your calendar for you and your family. Devote regular time to your loved ones. Set dates for trips to the playground with grandchildren, mini breaks with your offspring and one-on-one time with your partner. Or, take yourself on a date… you don’t have to go far. A bit of ‘me time’ can be as effective as a holiday.

Work it

You can enjoy retirement and employment, too. If you miss your former workplace have a chat with your employer. Sometimes part-time or volunteer positions are negotiable. You could also consider starting a small retail business, using your skills as a consultant, or taking on a temporary role. Be sure to investigate the time and income restrictions around employment after retirement. The Australian Government’s Department Of Social Services provides information on working after the pension age.

Work Bonus

Receiving the Age Pension does not mean you can’t undertake paid work. The Work Bonus provides an incentive for pensioners over Age Pension age to participate in the workforce, by allowing them to keep more of their pension when they have earnings from working. Under the Work Bonus, the first $250 of fortnightly employment income is not assessed as income under the pension income test. Any unused amount of the fortnightly $250 Work Bonus will accumulate in a Work Bonus income bank, up to a maximum amount of $6,500.

The amount accumulated in the income bank can be used to offset future employment income that would otherwise be assessable under the pension income test. The income bank amount is not time limited; if unused it carries forward, even across years.

For more information go to the Work Bonus factsheet.

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.