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Save it Strange: Mike Chunn

Posted to Financial Capability on 09-11-2015

mike chunn

Planning for retirement isn’t just about sorting your finances out, it’s also about understanding what is going to be meaningful for you in the future.

Musician Mike Chunn says it’s important to keep doing what you love most: “That's not so easy for ex-All Blacks. But for me I will strive to take the stage with my bass and play gigs to the punters at least twice a year for the rest of my life.”

The former Split Enz member is now CEO of Play It Strange, a trust he set up to encourage young songwriters, bringing music workshops to schools and running recording programmes for the students.

He gave us a list of the things he’d include in his retirement survival kit (see below).

Send your suggestions to for a chance to win an iPad and a full financial plan, worth up to $3,000.

22% of New Zealanders work full or part-time over the age of 65. Some do so out of necessity, others out of choice because they enjoy the fulfilment that their job brings.

This maybe something you want to consider, including the type of work you’d like to do and whether any re-training is required. Others opt for voluntary work, giving back something to the community they live in.

Also think about your passions, interests and hobbies; family and friends; and pets.

Brenda Joyce has entered our Survival Kit competition and said: “Gradually withdraw from free-time activities that are closely related to your work.

“Well before retirement gradually replace these with interests and activities that can provide spice to your life, that you have always thought of doing but have never had time for. “

Wellbeing means looking after your health too, whether that’s through regular check-ups, diet or exercise.

Another consideration is where you want to live, both geographically and in terms of the size of your home.

Some people down-size to release some equity or to make property maintenance easier. Others move to regions where property prices may be lower and the cost of living more manageable.

Another option to consider is retirement villages. The Commission has been running a series of free seminars to help people who are considering moving themselves or their parents into a village. Find dates and venues here:

Here is Mike Chunn’s retirement philosophy in action:

1. Mix.  Meet new people and broaden your social whirl. Age has no ill effect on the power of personal relationships. In fact the people in your life, of which you should have many, ARE your life. 

2. Read.  Not newspapers or magazines.  Read fiction; biographies and online news feeds where you can target insightful writing and detailed reporting.  Spend your 'retirement' years absorbing.

3. Keep your mind working.  I will do this (as I do now) learning to play piano pieces by heart. I'm bringing Chopin's Prelude No 4 to the fore.  I intend to learn at least two pieces a year, every year for the rest of my life.

4. Keep doing what you love most.  That's not so easy for ex-All Blacks. But for me I will strive to take the stage with my bass and play gigs to the punters at least twice a year for the rest of my life.

5. Maintain a continuous, low-level but 'real' physical regime. I won't run, do ironmen, cycle hundreds of kms, push weights, skip or bounce around in a pump class. I will catch waves at surf beaches for many, many years on my bodyboard. Low impact but thrilling. It works legs, core and arms!

6. Keep an arm’s length stance re: money.  You have a large mortgage? Then hopefully you've got a really cool house to go with it. Dig that.  Just keep that KiwiSaver of yours active and use it as your departure tax!

7. Try a new thing every few years. How many of you have never tried painting? Writing a poem? Playing an instrument? Writing a song? A tune? Many of you think all of that's too hard.  Yes it is. That's why you should try it. Mind you, it's harder learning to drive a car than it is to play a few chords on a guitar.

8. Explore New Zealand.  Have you caught a wave at Sandy Bay?  Walked to the top of Mt Richmond? Wandered through a freezing works? You get the drift.

9. Be charitable. You've lived long when you're in the retirement years. Spend some of your time mentoring; assisting; contributing etc etc.  Don't think "I must tend to the garden eight hours a day".  Put your hand up and help society.

10. Write your memoir. Leave behind your story with pictures. Don't just slip away and become a mish-mash of people's memories.

For the competition terms and conditions click here.

play it strange

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