INTHEBLACK July 2020 - Page 64



WORK SMART
// W I N S F O R A L L A G E S
AT A
GLANCE
BABY BOOMERS EXPECT MORE
STORY JESSICA MUDDITT
TRADING
RETIREMENT
FOR
REINVENTION
WHEN THINGS DON’T QUITE GO TO PLAN, KEEPING PROFESSIONAL
NETWORKS ALIVE HELPS ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE
PROFESSIONALS NAVIGATE DIFFICULT TIMES.
T
heresa Day FCPA planned to retire
from her role as national professional
services consulting manager at Sage
a decade ago, but life had other plans
for her.
“I started to slow down a bit and thought
I might retire, but work called me back and
gave me projects to work on from home,”
she says.
“Then I ran a sales division, because we
had a sales manager leave. I’m now 65, and
I’ve been working like this for 10 years – I’ve
never fully retired.”
Her husband of 44 years, Russell Day FCPA,
also had his retirement plans hijacked, but
under different circumstances. He was 53
when he attempted to retire after 35 years
with BHP, but the timing wasn’t right.
68 ITB July 2020
“We went straight into the global financial
crisis (GFC), and I realised that I needed to
make my savings last for another 30 years.
Within 12 months, I was back at work,” he
says. Russell took up a full-time contract role
with OZ Minerals.
These days, the Melbourne couple are as
busy as ever with part-time accounting work,
volunteering and regularly looking after their
seven grandchildren.
“The conventional idea of retirement was
that you gave up work to play bowls or move
to a seaside resort,” Theresa says, “but I think
nowadays there’s pressure on grandparents
to help with grandchildren, and to make a
commitment to not only minding them, but
also helping a bit financially. It can, therefore,
be good to keep a bit of money coming in.”
Russell, now 66, believes that a cut-and-dried
retirement is less applicable to his generation
than previous ones. Australian baby boomers
are wealthier and have a life expectancy of
84.6 years for women and 80.5 years for men.
This is up from 67.9 years and 74.2 years for
men and women, respectively, in 1960.
“People used to go from full-time
employment to a pension, and would cut
back to a meagre lifestyle to get by, but I
think baby boomers expect more: they don’t
want to just sit back and watch the grass
grow,” Russell says.
While some may continue working because
it is their passion, for others it is borne out of
financial necessity. In Russell’s case, after the
shock of the GFC, he resolved to remain “work
ready” by keeping his professional skills up to
date. With the current uncertainty surrounding
COVID-19, he says he is glad to have kept a
foot in the door.
Russell became a member of CPA Australia’s
Third Age Network (TAN) eight years ago, and
served as its chair from 2017 to 2018. The
network is open to CPA Australia members
aged 55 and over who are not in full-time
work, and provides networking and
professional development opportunities. It
was established in 2004, and has a presence
in Victoria and New South Wales. Some of
the network’s recent projects have focused
on tackling elder financial abuse and matching
CPA mentors with treasurers of not-for-profits.
“By participating in TAN projects, I’m using
the skills that I’ve acquired over my career and
applying them to the latest developments in
accounting. I believe that puts me in a place
where I’m ready to return to work if ever I
needed to do so,” Russell says.
For 22 years, Russell was chair of
CPA Australia’s Central Management
Discussion Group, and helped organise more
than 200 events between 1998 and 2019. He
enlisted speakers who were at the leading
edge of Australia’s accounting profession,
and says that facilitating the exchange of
ideas gave him enormous satisfaction.
In 2019 he became part of a joint
subcommittee of the Women’s Network
Committee, and became involved in a project
focused on bolstering women’s superannuation.


Retirement is not what it
once was, with changing
lifestyles and technology
that can enable continuous
learning and semiretirement, as opposed to
ceasing work entirely.
Members of CPA Australia’s
Third Age Network
advocate networking and
keeping professional skills
up-to-date, especially amid
the uncertainty driven by
COVID-19.

Volunteering is another
good way to apply the
skills acquired in a
corporate setting, to give
back to the community.
“It was an incredible project to be involved in,
as we identified how to lift the superannuation
balances of women, which are lagging so far
behind the balances of men,” he says.
LIFELONG LEARNING
Theresa says that her appetite for learning
remains as strong as ever and that her
volunteer activities are richly rewarding.
Since 2010, she has been a member of
CPA Australia’s Women’s Network Committee,
which provides professional networking
opportunities to female accountants. It also
facilitates sessions for women who are starting
out in the world of accounting or returning to
it after an extended break to raise children or
care for elderly relatives.
“When I joined CPA [Australia], accounting
was a male-dominated profession. That’s no
longer the case, but it remains important that
women have a voice and help one another
out,” Theresa says.
Theresa was a member of CPA Australia’s
Victorian Divisional Council between 2016
and 2018. She participated in career nights
involving up to 1500 students and gave
career talks at universities.
While it is not compulsory for semi-retirees
to undertake 40 hours per year of continuing
professional development activities, both
Theresa and Russell continue to do so.
“I hate to think that I would ever stop
learning,” Theresa says. “I picked up a lot of
things when computers first came in, and
throughout my career, whenever there’s been
a new piece of software to use, I’d be the one
saying, ‘Please give it to me’.”
A PASSION FOR VOLUNTEERING
Richard Blakeman FCPA retired from his role as
business operations manager at Eastman Kodak
at 60. What started out as a conventional
retirement turned out to be short-lived.
“I took up sailing and planned on becoming
a ‘grey nomad’, but I found myself getting
involved in voluntary work, and it began to
take up more of my time,” he says.
Blakeman, now 70, began volunteering in his
30s, but was never able to give it as much
time as he would have liked.
During the six years he spent as a committee
member of TAN in Melbourne, he helped set up
“By participating in TAN projects, I’m using the skills
that I’ve acquired over my career and applying them
to the latest developments in accounting. I believe
that puts me in a place where I’m ready to return to
work if I ever needed to do so.”
RUSSELL DAY FCPA
a treasurer mentoring program, was involved
with the financial abuse task force and
mentored young accountants.
“Being involved with TAN helps me
maintain an association with the profession
and gets me involved in activities that
stimulate creativity. It also helps to develop
a network of contacts and friends.”
Blakeman is currently on CPA Australia’s
Victorian Divisional Council. He is also heavily
involved with his local Rotary Club and has
served as its president. “The skills I acquired in
corporate life are valued in the community, and
the opportunity to give back is really satisfying.
“Being engaged in useful work also gives
me a sense of purpose,” he says.
Blakeman has also helped provide lifechanging benefits to individuals around
the world.
Last year, he visited the Indonesian island
of Sumba as part of a Rotary Club project
that performed cataract operations and
trained local health workers to carry out
such operations.
His advice to others on the cusp of retiring
is to maintain existing professional links and
cultivate new ones.
“My suggestion is to take advantage of the
opportunities within CPA to continue your
association with the profession. There are many
benefits to maintaining it, and even developing
it further during your retirement.”
intheblack.com July 2020 69

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