Where to next?

24 June 2019

 

For Peter and Eunice Hatch, retirement is just the start of a new adventure.

Retirement. It’s a word that suggests stopping, slowing down and stepping back. Or at least it used to. Following the government’s introduction of KiwiSaver in 2007 and the fact that we’re living longer, many of us now view our so-called retirement years as a new and lengthy chapter in life. And that’s certainly the route recent retiree, Peter Hatch has taken.

Although he’s lived in New Zealand since the ‘70’s Peter hasn’t lost his British accent. It’s one of the few parts of his life that has stayed constant over the years, because change is something Peter has always embraced.

‘I’ve never been scared of making a new start.’ Peter says. ‘When I came to New Zealand I told myself I’d give it two years. Too many of us came out here and because it wasn’t like home, we’d turn around and go back again.’

Those two years came and went as Peter held a variety of jobs, often travelling around the country on business. It was during this time that he got a taste for exploring his newly adopted home. ‘I basically got paid to see the country’ he laughs.

With a background in insurance, Peter eventually turned his skills into a new career as a financial advisor, a role he would hold until his retirement last year. ‘I really enjoyed it.’ Peter recalls. ‘Saving and investing is something I’ve always practiced myself and I got a lot of satisfaction from helping people get ahead.’

When he retired at the age of 64, Peter and his wife Eunice were ready for their next adventure. ‘The first thing I thought was “at last, I’ve got time to paint the house!”’ laughs Peter ‘I think retirement is really just another stage in life—a new start. I never felt it was time to slow down—it should be when you get to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.’

 “I think retirement is really just another stage in life - a new start. I never felt it was time to slow down.”

Those things came in the shape of a camper van, in which Peter and Eunice plan to spend a few months every year exploring. As we catch up with them, they are just back from a road trip to Paihia.

‘Freedom is really what retirement is all about.’ Peter says. ‘Having the financial independence and the time to be able to just up and go whenever and wherever you want to.’

Although he’s officially retired, Peter still chooses to keep his savings invested. ‘People think that when they retire, they’ll get this lump sum and that’s it.’ he says. ‘But if you’ve put aside enough, you can live on the interest. It’s a matter of scaling your life and your spending to fit.’

Last year, Peter and Eunice sold their home in in Auckland and built a new house in the beachside community of Papamoa in the Bay of Plenty. ‘It’s actually bigger than our old house.’ Peter says. ‘We have friends and family coming to stay all the time, but we’ll probably downsize eventually.’

Although not part of the KiwiSaver generation, Peter still believes it’s a great opportunity. ‘With the extra that the government chips every year and employer contributions, you’d be mad not to have a KiwiSaver account.’ he says. ‘As I used to say to my clients - building wealth isn’t about how much you earn, but how much you can save.’

“With the extra that the government chips every year and employer contributions, you’d be mad not to have a KiwiSaver account.”

What advice would Peter give to others nearing or in retirement? ‘Your health should always be number one, followed by your independence. Enjoying life—and for us, that’s hitting the road in the camper!’