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1# Retirement: Let the journey begin!

Updated: Apr 29

A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step - Lao Tzu

The First Step

Future? Zimmer frame walking? Not for me!
Wix imaging

The first step in this journey of retirement is deciding when to actually make the leap! At what point in our lives do we want to retire. Do we wait until we are of government retiring age when we will be walking with Zimmer frames and needing the loo every hour during the night. Or do we throw in the towel earlier, take the plunge and retire early?

For me, my government retirement age is 67. I am 59, 60 next year and I already have health and mobility problems. At 67, I have no idea what I will be like. On social media, you see so many posts of people who had the dream of freedom and living a nomadic life, but left it too late. Some had even bought their vans or Motorhomes and were now selling them due to ill health. I did not want this to be me.

I want to live and travel this beautiful country of ours, Australia!

Developing a plan...

Beautiful view from my room. Travel Adventures Australia. Whitsunday Sands Resort
Greys Bay, Bowen

I first decided that I wanted to retire early when I was driving back from a road trip to Bowen in North Queensland early in 2021. The 13 hour drive, especially driven alone is best time to think about your future and to make life changing decisions.

Over the years I have made many decisions whilst driving up and down to Bowen. So, this trip was no different, but retiring...really? I knew that retirement was lurking in the shadows, but the thought had not seriously entered my mind before now.

I stopped overnight in Rockhampton and decided to do some research and make a few notes in my journal of my thoughts. It is always good to sleep on any major decisions, especially one as massive as retiring? Was I crazy? Was I dreaming? Could I? Sleeping on it certainly helped. It gave me even more clarity in the morning that I needed to make the decision.

Did I still feel the same was after a good night's sleep. Yes! I most certainly did. So... in my journal I started making plans.

To keep everything real and to keep myself grounded, I crunched some numbers to see if it was at all possible. The numbers looked promising, was it possible? Yes it was!

My Budget

  1. Predicted superannuation in 5 years.

  2. Calculated income between receiving my Superannuation and collecting the pension.

  3. What sort of RV - researched average cost.

  4. Calculated income - average cost = what was left was divided into years, months, weeks before I could claim the pension.

At this stage it still felt like a dream... Was this really going to happen?

Initially my plan was going to be a 5 year plan, retiring at the end of my 63rd year. That would leave 3 years 4 months that I would need to make my remaining super to stretch until I could claim the pension.

Over the next few months I researched everything I could about Motorhomes, legalities and what I would need to go off grid. I watched YouTube videos on van life, travelling full time in a Motorhome and building a van. Everything piece of relevant information I wrote into my journal. My plan was developing.

Plans can change

Over the next twelve months personally things went from bad to worse, increasing my stress levels negatively affecting my health. My job was not a nice place to be, and I was trying to run a house on my own that I could not afford or maintain with prices rising things were just getting worse. I was surviving (just) not living... so I re crunched the numbers to see if I could retire earlier. I found that even with lesson income it was actually doable.

My 5 year plan was now a 3 Year plan. To me, I still had time to sort out the house, gradually sell everything, research more about RV living and plan for what I need to do with the animals (4 Chickens, a cat, and a dog).

My Super - shutterstock_266039069

At the beginning 2022, I decided to keep track of my Superannuation, hoping that my estimations were close to correct. I was very shocked. Instead of my superannuation increasing with contributions and investment gains, it was not increasing at all, not even by the contributions my employer and myself had made. I was terrified, still am. My Super was going backward. Investments were all negative! With the world economy crashing, I could lose ALL my superannuation and I would have nothing.

Since then, boy has my plans changed! I am now looking to retire next year, when I am sixty and when the government will not tax me on my superannuation. Why so early? I want to live life to the fullest while I still can! I want to get what is left of my Superannuation and live a life of freedom.

My plan of buying a Motorhome and renting out my house has now changed to selling everything I own (except for extremely sentimental things), including my house and buying an All Terrain Camper Van! I desperately want the freedom the van can offer.

No time to waste

With no time to waste and now a plan in action, I have given myself twelve to eighteen months before I retire. I have decided to re home the chickens and at this stage I will take the dog and the cat with me. The dog (Kahra) will adapt well because she has travelled with me before. I do need to plan and prepare for her safety and life on the road. The cat (Nahla), well there is a lot of preparation needed for her transition to life on the road. She is a lot older and has not travelled in a car for over 5 years, she loves her freedom, she has not used a harness in 6 years, let alone walk with one! I have bought her a covered in litter tray as this will be the type I will use in the van. She used it straight away! 😅. For her, I need to work out how she can have freedom yet still being restrained.

Everyone needs to have their own retirement fund as a buffer.
Retiremnt fund - shutterstock_494196811.jpg

My biggest and most overwhelming job is that I need to start decluttering my house. This is a huge job. This will mean lots of trips to the dump, Lifeline and I will need to sell or give away what I can. I cannot procrastinate. I do not have time now, but I still need to work. So, time is limited. I also need to start saving hard for my retirement. As well as savings, everything I sell, birthday/Christmas present money goes directly to my retirement account to create a buffer fund when I retire.

A Purpose in Life

Everyone needs a purpose in life. When you lose your purpose (which I did) you can become overwhelmed and consumed by society and life challenges. Deciding to retire has given me back my purpose. The relief is surprising. The excitement of expectation is exhilarating. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel... Freedom.


How did you take the first step towards retirement?


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