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Survey: share your retirement experiences

About 700 Australians retire every day. How will they spend their time? Does retirement meet their expectations? How much income do they need? Did they transition away from full-time work? Do they have any tips for someone thinking about retiring?

A few weeks ago, a reader, Alex wrote a comment on an article about retirement:

"Some day, I'd like to hear more about what people actually do in retirement. What replaces 10 hours a day of work?"

We received several responses, such as Mark:

"You can play 3 rounds of golf or more, swimming, walking, dine out, rowing on local lakes, travel for $2 anywhere on govt transport after 60, travel overseas, cruising, meeting friends, cycling, donate time for charity work, etc. Many things to do Alex. Especially after working from the age of 15 it is my free time now to enjoy."

We thought we should learn more, especially at the time of the 2021 Census released this week and the end of the financial year, when many people retire.

As every retirement is different, it is not easy to frame the questions to apply to each person, so some generalisations are needed. For example, we ask about couples when many people live alone in retirement.

But with these limitations, if you are retired, please take a moment to complete our short survey, and perhaps guide others into what to expect in retirement. Results published next week.

The survey is now closed


Robby G
March 09, 2024

I am looking at retirement next year.
I will be 62 yo.
I have a DFRDB pension 28k
I have a DVA pension 12k
I have super 700k Sunsuper/Australian Retirement Trust. Interest abt 8%
I own my own home. Estimated 500k
No loans
Will it be enough?
Rates/insur 10k
Shopping 10k
Other veh, insur, fuel, veterinary
Best course of action.
Holidays hardly ever

Andrew Gee
July 03, 2022

I was a business owner, flying 12-25 times per month, doing 50-60+ hours per week and dealing with customers throughout ANZ and then retired to a complete stop in my late 50's - which was interesting! Suprisingly, I had no problem in adjusting to the slower, less-intense pace.
My suggestions for those retiring:
1/ Decide on the lifestyle you want in retirement, work out how much it will cost you, and aim for that with your investments. Frankly, I expected to live as well as I did while working, and that has worked out for me.
2/ Be sure you have interests, hobbies and a social network, otherwise retirement will be boring as heck.
3/ If you have the items as per point 2/, then be sure you have the money to fund them.
4/ No matter what the "experts" tell you that you need in retirement savings - do your own calculations, and don't forget that at an inflation rate of ~7%, your retirement savings and devived income from them, will have their buying power reduced by 50% every 10 years or so (inflation does that).
5/ Remember, people that retired in the last few years, whould never have budgeted for, or thought that they would be paying over $2.20 per litre for fuel, $6 for a lettuce, skyrocketing healthcare, power, council rates etc. so soon into retirement. Exect the unexpected.

July 03, 2022

Good survey. not too long with pertinent questions. Frankly, I have nothing to add because whatever I would have said has already been said.

Paul G
July 02, 2022

Since retiring i certainly wouldn't pay my self by the hour any more. Nice to have the time to enjoy the tasks you chose to do. Three tips for retirement.
1. Don't let the door hit your arse on the way out.
2. Don't let the old man into your life.
3. Just remember retirement is 6 Saturdays followed by a Sunday

Marg M
July 02, 2022

I wonder how I ever found the time to work! The freedom I have as a self-funded retiree is amazing. People ask me what I do in retirement and I answer I do what I used to do on weekends and when I was on leave from work BUT I now do it full time. I've always had hobbies, played sport and travelled as much as possible while I was working. Now I still do those things but I also volunteer my time. Check out the Association of Independent Retirees (AIR), a National not for profit, volunteer organisation advocating for self-funded retirees and those planning a sustainable retirement. Volunteer for the Red Cross, look for local Coast Care/Land Care groups, sew Boomerang Bags. Do something at a local level and at a National level.

David Carmichael
July 02, 2022

Before you retire move as far away as possible from your parents and partner's parents otherwise you will spend the "best" years of your retirement caring for ageing relatives.

July 02, 2022

Some of use love and appreciate our parents and see spending time with them and caring for them in their latter years as a privilege, particularly after they have dedicate much of their lives to our development and well-being.

July 02, 2022

I agree with you 100%. Family is so important. We should enjoy our lives with them while you can. Before we know it, we will be alone and lonely.

July 02, 2022

Keep moving and don't let the bastards get you down. ??

July 02, 2022

For those men out there who want a long term (age 50-85) and absolutely engaging interest in retirement years, think about a male choir. Never thought I would - best thing I've done in retirement. A flexible commitment, great camaraderie with people you would otherwise never meet. Two hour rehearsal in the CBD on Tuesday nights and terrific concerts with other acts every six weeks or so. Soaring harmonies, professional staff - and a night off for your partner each week!
Go to:

Govi Pillai
July 02, 2022

Great survey with pertinent questions. Important to focus on health in the 4th quarter of our lives - spiritually health, physical health and relationships health. They are all interconnected and interdependent. Am involved in facilitating a workshop called Engaging Q4 - rethinking retirement.

July 01, 2022

A well thought out survey that does not go on and on, Being retired I don't have time to sit in front of a computer answering survey question ad infinitum.

July 01, 2022

The worst thing is that after doing 70 hour weeks for 20 years and having approx 20 weeks holiday I managed to have a business to sell and now the tax office "rewards" me by kicking the guts out of me for the last 4 years now for all my sacrifices and endeavour.Only the pollies seem to have it made in retirement!!!Wish more money had "fallen" out of the till before I finished up!!!

June 30, 2022

Not yet retired but hopefully will do soon. I am looking forward to the results of this one !

June 29, 2022

It is the best timeframe stage in your life. If it’s cold in the morning, stay in bed for extra time, ifs its hot, get up and go for a earlier swim. Take up a activity, like sport, golf, bowls,
Gets you outside and moving, being in nature where you can stop and smell the trees, grass, flowers, and best of all socialise.
Then come home and check the ASX, and read Firstlinks.

June 29, 2022

Sold my tax practice at 60, kept 40 clients gradually they reduced and few more added, worked 1/2 days per week until total retirement at 80 years, kept mind active and played stock 2 hours per day 4 days a week.


June 30, 2022

To Ross White: Clever man! I too enjoyed my working-life! While I was in business I worked 7 days a week, but I only ever worked half days and it didn't much matter which 12 hours I worked either. But boy oh boy, am I enjoying retirement so much more!

June 29, 2022

I believe it is important to have more than you think you need. It allows you to be prepared for the worst case scenario be that financial crisis or personal (eg health). Keeping doors open to part time work you enjoy is extra insurance.

Martin Mulcare
June 29, 2022

I am curious about your definition of retirement in 2022. Zero paid work? Zero paid or unpaid work? Perhaps there is scope for a survey of people who have no intention of giving up some part-time paid (or unpaid) work until their health prevents them from working?

Graham Hand
June 29, 2022

Hi Martin, as I said in the introduction to the survey, we could add a massive amount of qualifications: how much for a single person, how much for a couple with children, are returns real or nominal, yes, what is retirement. We tried to keep it simple to learn a few basic lessons.

June 29, 2022

Don’t retire completely. I urge the government to give aged pensioners the choice to keep working without the punitive penalties and Centrelink paperwork involved in the present system.
Let them work and pay income tax if they are prepared to opt out of the SAPTO and pension Work Bonus

June 29, 2022

Thoughtful survey

July 06, 2022

Be prepared for serious health problems with on or both.
It seems that dementia problems completely change ones perspective and outlook.

Survey comment
June 29, 2022

I prepared for retirement by working shorter weeks before I actually retired. Since retiring, I have remained active in voluntary activities as well as catching up with family and friends, enjoying our garden and reading - and by travelling

Survey comment
June 29, 2022

Our general life styles and interests are established well before we retire and retirement provides the opportunity to do a lot more of those things we enjoy.

Survey comment
June 29, 2022

Feel more relaxed over nearly everything except the overwhelming sensation that the $ I currently have needs to see me though my last 35 years or so.

Survey comment
June 29, 2022

The ability to choose to spend each day however you wish to is quite liberating, and a much more positive experience than I expected.

Peter Graham
June 29, 2022

I teach people how to retire. Most people do not know how to do it...hence, I am told that they are bored. In fact, 57% of respondents tell me so. 


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