GETTING PRACTICAL: Toowoomba psychologist Judy Rafferty has spent four years researching and writing Retirement Your Way to help people get past focusing on the financial side of retirement.
GETTING PRACTICAL: Toowoomba psychologist Judy Rafferty has spent four years researching and writing Retirement Your Way to help people get past focusing on the financial side of retirement.

Wise words for satisfying post-work life

HAPPY retirement is about far more than just whether we have enough money.

Looking for answers for herself, family and friends, all approaching retirement, Toowoomba psychologist Judy Rafferty found a huge gap in practical tools and strategies to use in considering this next important phase of life.

So, four years ago, she set about researching and writing her own book, Retirement Your Way: A Practical Guide to Knowing What You Want and How to Get It. It's about purpose, connection and identity, Judy says.

"When you know what you want, that's how you decide if it's time to retire."

Pre-planning has been shown to improve people's experience in retirement, with aspects to consider including sources for wellbeing, exercise and mental stimulation.

"Some people absolutely sail through retirement and it's not an issue for them, and that's great," Judy said.

"But even people I speak to who haven't had issues benefit from reflecting on what they want out of life.

"So I've written this book for those not yet retired who need to create a vision; those who are retired, because we can always improve on what we are doing; and those who have been forced to retire unexpectedly due to illness, family crisis or redundancy, who often really struggle."

Judy said she regularly saw people in her practice who didn't recognise retirement-related issues were behind problems they reported, such as depression.

As part of her research for the book, Judy ran focus groups and discovered prime questions people wanted answers to included: How do I know when to retire? What am I going to do with myself? How do I avoid becoming a full-time grandparent?

Even good long-term relationships, she said, could be affected by the changes in dynamic and roles associated with retirement.

Suddenly, for instance, you find your partner has time to do jobs such as cooking and cleaning - which sounds ideal - but they don't do it quite as you would, leading to frustration

Retirement Your Way includes information, strategies and tasks to complete, and is available at bookstores and online.


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