How to retire with purpose

Posted by Stuart Williamson on Jan 25, 2018 1:45:16 AM

A prosperous retirement is a goal that looms in all our minds, and it’s our mission statement to help our clients achieve exactly that. A prosperous retirement is characterised by reliable income streams, healthcare and a lifestyle that allows you to focus on what matters.

But, at the same time, retirement is about more than just money and an investment portfolio.

Money is really a facilitator for something more important: a life that has purpose and is personally satisfying.

So what makes a prosperous retirement worthwhile?

Here are some ideas that others have found to be helpful in finding meaning.

Find your cause

The best expression of a career these days is no longer linear: working in the same line, progressing down a track, reaching an end-point and retiring. In fact, many people now see a life’s work as a logical and coherent collection of projects which support a belief about the world. And this belief about the world is linked to each individual’s unique abilities and talents.

Author Pamela Sim, in her book ‘Body of Work’, describes our careers a life-long work-in-progress. And underpinning that is the idea of a personal mission statement – an expression of what unique abilities an individual has and how they can use them. Invariably, this is the application of personal talents to real-world problems, with the objective of bringing about change.

An excellent way, therefore, to engage with the idea of the personal mission statement is to find a cause to be a part of. Causes range from everything conceivable and conventional: whether it be in the local community or in faraway places.

One individual who has done exactly this in retirement is Bill Morse, who retired in California and resolved to spend his time working in service of a cause he believes important: clearing landmines from agricultural land in Cambodia. Bill and his wife, both securely retired, now work in the most dynamic of ways full for the Landmine Relief Fund near Siem Reap.

Impart your knowledge

Having a lifetime of experience, both professional and personal, means a lot and can really make an impact on those around you.

One wonderful way of putting this into immediate practice is to offer to work with students in a school setting as a classroom assistant. This could be paid or unpaid: if you have a sturdy portfolio, it won’t much matter.

While working with children is not everyone’s thing, there are other ways of imparting knowledge and creating impact. Working as a docent or guide in a museum or gallery can be an extremely interesting way of spending time – especially for those with an interest in the arts. It is usually not remunerated, as galleries and museums see themselves as serving a public good rather than a commercial goal, so it is thought of as unrestricted gift of time on the part of volunteer.

Create, share, sell

One of the most satisfying activities for all of us involves creativity. The act of creation is gives a sense of purpose like few other pursuits. There is a direct link between creativity and overall well-being.

For some people, up-scaling a craft or hobby is a satisfying lifestyle – and, let’s face it, when we work we are usually too exhausted to do anything like this.

But in retirement, you can take it one step further by selling their output via small marketplace websites such as Etsy, or eBay, or promoting it with digital platforms such as Pinterest.


The key to happiness in retirement lies in taking action, to capitalising on personal strengths and beliefs, and making an impact. Of course, the blank pages of possibility that characterise a prosperous retirement are really only possible with a solid and well-structured investment portfolio – so it is absolutely essential to plan accordingly.

To make a success of property investment, start by learning all you need to know in our  Investor Education portal.

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