At the time of beginning this blog both Paul and I are 58 – too young yet to fully retire. Our kids have long since been independent and even our two lovely grand-sons are now well on their way to being young adults. Our oldest grandson, Tim, recently celebrated his 18th birthday, and Josh, our youngest grandson is soon to turn 17.
Tim kindly set this blog up for me yesterday, wish I could put him in my pocket and take him with me wherever I go and bring him out the numerous times I need technological assistance. Suspect he’d be out of my pocket more than he was in it though.
Anyone with any head for maths can realise that to be 58 and have two grandsons well into their teens meant both early parenthood for both us, and the parent of our grandchildren. Correct, both children are from a previous life before I meet Paul. Kelvin, my first-born came along I shortly after my 17th birthday. I came from Christchurch NZ and at that time from 18 – 21 wasn’t an uncommon age to start motherhood. So, 17 was only slightly younger than was common for most.
Paul and I met when we were 25 and have been happily married now for 31 years. Alice, our youngest had her first child at 20, so we became grandparents at the age of 40.
We have brought up the kids, watched the grandchildren grow, worked hard and now have our little nest egg to see us secure in retirement. We have a little block of land at Busselton only 3 minutes walk to lovely Geographe Bay to build on for retirement, but it’s too soon yet to give up work and move there. This raised the inevitable question with 8 more years to go before pension age – what are we to do now with those 8 years.
The choices that we came up with were:
- keep working and build up more money than we’ll need, risking health deterioration as we’ve seen in others as they get closer to retirement.
- Retire fully at around 62 – 63 and dip into our super to support us until we’re old enough to draw some pension.
- Or join the thousands of other Grey Nomads trekking around Australia, and pick up some work now and again to make our savings last until full pension age. This would mean we could leave our super in tact and be adding little bits to it on the way.
Once we’d done the research it became a no brainer. It seems rural Australia has so many Grey Nomads traversing the country, and no youngsters wanting to work in these areas. As a consequence those of the Grey Nomads still willing and capable of work have become the reliable work source in these communities. It seems there’s more work in the rural areas than there is people to do it, and these communities are now reliant on people like us who have taken early retirement and have hit the road full-time. In fact, the work ethic that goes with a more mature age is becoming preferable. People are preferring to hire people who turn up for work every day, even if they work a little slower than the younger ones who only turn up for work if they don’t get a better option on the day.
We knew it was a common thing for people to do, but it wasn’t until we starting seriously considering it as an option for us, that we realised just how common it actually is. Almost every person we mention it too relates a similar life experience of either one of their relatives or a close friend. We constantly hear stories of people who have now been on the road for anywhere between 1 and 17 years. 10 years is certainly not an unusual amount of time.
So with the decision made we set ourselves an outside date of 1 September 2015 for departure, but sooner if we could. The sooner part in that became our main focus, and low and behold, it’s now mid November 2013 and we’ve set plans in motion to enable our departure to be late February 2014.
Lots of ideas were considered along the way to coming up with the one we’re happy to go with. We decided a week ago to sell our little over 55s villa in Perth, keep our dream retirement block in Busselton, and invest enough of the proceeds from the sale of our little unit to enable a house to be built when the time is right again for us settle back into a home. The rest of the money will pay for our rig and give us savings to fall back on with our super still in tact for when we feel the time is right to give up work altogether.
We put our unit up for sale, and it went under offer within the first week and is due to settle early in January. So, all going well, we’ll be financially set up to begin our journey early 2014. We both feel a work responsibility revolving around the lengthy Christmas break and other employee’s impending holidays, that means the fair thing for both our employers, is to give them around a three-month notice period. We also have things to get into place before we can leave that will make that a good time for us, so it isn’t an entirely selfless decision.
So, that’s a little about Paul and I and the road we’ve travelled down to get us to – Getting Ready.