These were the last words from a piece of fiction I wrote a few years ago – on the topic of risk. But it is true in real life. There are many risks we take, some minor, others major and life changing. The two major risks that we have taken in recent years (10-11 years) were retirement and moving to Benalla.
Firstly, retirement. It had not been the plan at the time. Tim had been planning to retire at the end of the year, by which time he would be 61. I had said that while I was contributing to the organisation, while I was achieving something, then I would stay. One of the major issues was that it was not clear as to whether we would have enough to live on if we both gave up work at the same time. And what would I do with my time? On the other hand, I was working some long hours in a role that was in some ways quite stressful – I was tired. It was up to one of my teams (and so final responsibility sat with me) to confirm that new computer applications were ready to “go live” in the ATO. Certainly the final decision was not with my team, but the decision around yes or no would be made on our assessment. We had to confirm the teams building the systems had done everything, including that the systems were working accurately. Think about the Centrelink problems recently. If we got it wrong, the ATO would have had the same level of public criticism.
The offer for both of us to take a redundancy at the same time came out of the blue on a Friday afternoon preceding a long weekend. So we had a weekend to decide whether to look further into what the redundancy would mean for us. At our ages it did mean retirement. We decided to “wing it” and accept the redundancy packages we were offered. And it has worked well for us.
Of course, then there was the question as to what to do in retirement. Another risk: sell up in Canberra and move to Benalla. This provided a couple of pluses, but some negatives.
Our daughter and her two children lived in Melbourne. This move meant we were much closer and able to see them more regularly as well as help if necessary. And the largest Gliding Club in Australia was right on the edge of the town for Tim. But what could I do with no work and basically knowing no-one in town? But we did it anyway. And between voluntary activities around town, and joining U3A, I have a full life.
So the unknowns we risked were:
- Could we live on the income streams that we would be receiving?
- What would a move to Benalla mean financially and socially?