When 55-year-old Ann Nelson’s husband, Len, passed away at just 60 she knew her life was about to change.
While she was already self-reliant, having been married to a farmer and always kept on top of the family’s finances, the death of her husband meant learning a whole new way of life. In the few years after Len’s passing, Ann contemplated what to do with her future, and decided she wanted to learn about investing and attended every workshop and seminar she could.
This lead her to write her book Retire Well, Retire Happy, which advises people how they can have the best retirement possible.
Travel at 60 caught up with Ann to talk about how to retire well and get some of her best tips on how to afford a great joy of retirement – travel.
In Ann’s book, she talks about the fact that retiring well and happy will save you from a ‘depressing retirement’.
Ann says it's all too common to see people lead depressing retirements when they lose their partners who they are dependent on.
“It is sad when we lose that much-loved partner, however, life goes on and we need to be part of it,” she says.
“We still have a contribution to make to society and our life will just be different – not over – for the surviving partner.”
To avoid a depressing retirement, planning is key. Ann says we’re often so busy working in the lead up to our retirement, we don’t give it enough thought.
“Travel is the most popular activity in retirement but most of us can’t afford to travel 365 days of the year,” Ann says. “So, what else are you going to get up to? After three months, the novelty of retirement can wear off. I have heard of husbands following their wives around the house and even give cooking advice.”
Another major problem at the beginning of retirement is loss of identity. When you lose your working identity, you can drift away from that network of friends and acquaintances as well.
“It is surprising the number of people that tune out when you tell them you are retired,” Ann says. “I think the seniors in our society get a bad rap and need to be more valued and respected in our society.”
Ann’s tip for planning your time is to try out what you think you might be doing in retirement and join groups that interest you.
“This will give you a start on new networks of friends that will be there for you when you finish work,” she says. For example, if your passion is travelling, look for some groups with likeminded individuals in it, such as the Travel at 60 group.
Ann has some great tips for saving money while travelling as well. Instead of choosing short getaways, she says consider longer stays.
“Rent an apartment or unit and stay in one place for a few weeks or more,” Ann says. “You will get the benefit of a slower pace, get to know an area in more detail and a give yourself a chance to interact with the locals more.”
Travelling during the off-season will nearly always save you money than if you were to travel during peak season, whether it’s on flights, attractions or accommodation.
Major savings can be found with last-minute deals as well if you can leave on short notice.
One particular travel trend that may not be for everyone is flash packing, and it could save you money without having to skimp on clean hotels and little luxuries.
“The term refers to a more affluent breed of backpacker who travels on a similar trail to the backpacker but does it with more cash in their pocket,” Ann says. “They can afford to pay for more luxuries on the road.”
Here are some more of Ann's top tips for heading abroad.