By Robert Northcoat

You have been around the block; you know a thing or two. So, what are your plans and dreams? How often do you think about retirement these days? 

Or, maybe a better question is: How much have you thought about the non-financial aspects of retirement? It’s the easy question, right? In all the hustling around to set your retirement finances in order, many people don’t give enough thought to how they want to fill their days once they say goodbye to the “day job.” 

Now, you may have big dreams of what you’ll do with all your free time. This is the “honeymoon” phase of retirement. It’s when you can finally catch up on the house projects, travel to those exotic destinations, visit family, and finally read all those books you’ve been meaning to get to. So what about after, when the honeymoon is over, and retirement stops feeling like an extended holiday and becomes the new normal life? 

For many, retirement conjures up images of carefree days, no responsibilities, and no schedule. While some eagerly strive for that, others (mostly males) cringe at the thought of no structure or plans. That’s the beauty and the beast of retirement; it’s a challenging time for many where you get to reinvent yourself —you can make it what you want it to be. So here are some ideas for you to consider as you plan your “encore,” your ideal retirement.

What Would Be Your Dream Gig?

Just because you’ve retired, you don’t have to stop working. So what would your new dream job be? We’re not talking about the kind of job or career that most young University graduates aspire to, with power, money, and influence attached. You already have that. We’re talking about that job that makes your heart race when you think about it, a project you’ve always wanted to pursue but couldn’t fit in, or maybe you didn’t feel it could pay the bills. 

Would your dream job involve sharing your experience? Maybe mentoring a business startup or even opening your own business. Or perhaps being part of the sharing economy, inviting people to your home, Airbnb style, or even driving for Uber on convenient days.

Doing what you want to do is the thing. Whether that involves supplementing your finances or adding to your emotional bank account, it’s your choice. When you have some financial comfort and independence in retirement, the pay scale doesn’t have to keep you from taking on a job or a project that you love.

Volunteering, Not-For-Profit Work

There are thousands of associations and groups that survive due to the goodwill and efforts of their volunteers, and not everything worth doing generates a wage at the end of the day. Volunteers get to experience as well as share their experiences, which offers up some great opportunities. Whether it’s nearby through your local Council at the animal refuge or maybe an overseas opportunity (, the rewards, the enjoyment, as well as the people you will meet, are the reward in getting out and getting into your community. 

The opportunities to volunteer are practically endless. 

Invest In Your Family 

It’s never too late. Even if at times you have felt guilty about those long hours at work instead of being with your loved ones, retirement is a great time to turn that around. It is the perfect opportunity to invest your time into the younger generations of your family. Be intentional, and use this time to get to know your loved ones even better and to create some special memories they will cherish long after you are gone.

There are always special moments, and after-school and holiday programmes are an excellent opportunity for grandchildren to spend time with their grandparents. It’s incredible how even a few days a week really adds to and positively impacts both the young and the old. 

Don’t Stop Learning

Do you ever dream of finishing that degree you started or studying a topic you’ve always been interested in? Your reinvention time is an excellent opportunity for you to do just that. 

Importantly, studies have shown that the more you work your brain as you age, the longer it lasts. Cognitively active seniors with an average age of 80 are 2.6 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia than those with less cognitive activity. (1) That’s another excellent reason to get off the couch and back to study!

Experience Entrepreneurship

There is also a strong correlation between age and being a successful entrepreneur, and the numbers are in your favour. (2) Middle-age and older entrepreneurs experience much higher success rates than the younger ones. Your hard-earned life experience counts for more than you think! So, instead of seeing retirement as the end of your working life, it can be a rebirth—one where you call the shots or at least offer a few suggestions.

Are You Ready For Your Encore (Retirement)?

If you want to chart a course to retirement, we’re here to help. We can also help you set the sails and choose the crew. All it takes is a bit of navigation. So, let’s explore, plan, and help you prepare for your voyage into an ideal retirement. That’s what we do…

To learn about our process, we invite you to check out our website, and then schedule a complimentary discussion (face-to-face or web). You can call T 08 9022 7722, email, or book an appointment using our online calendar!

About Robert

Robert Northcoat is the founder of Echelon Wealth Management with over 30 years of industry experience. He specialises in providing advice on self-managed super funds and helping clients build sustainable lifestyles in retirement. Robert holds a Diploma in Financial Planning from Deakin University, a Graduate Certificate in SMSF from The University of Adelaide, as well as both the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Specialist SMSF Adviser (SSA™).

Outside of the office, Robert enjoys watching a good Wallabies win, a good wine, and great company. Robert and his wife, Maree, spend their free time travelling to exciting places, sailing, scuba diving, and cycling. 

In 2017 they sailed their yacht, Scarlet Ribbon, in the Fremantle-to-Bali yacht race and continued to navigate a passage through Indonesia and Malaysia. Scarlet Ribbon is currently up in Thailand. “It’s not retirement just yet, but it’s a great intro.” To learn more about Robert, connect with him on LinkedIn.