Retirement is the perfect time to start something new. You’ve worked hard for many years building your wealth and creating the foundations for a strong financial future… so it’s time to do the things you’ve always been interested in.
Once you are no longer working the regular nine to five week you have more hours on hand to find a truly rewarding hobby.
From sculpture to philosophy, computing skills to tai chi, the University of the Third Age (U3A) offers an incredible selection of courses from hundreds of locations around the country.
Eula Scott, First Financial client and a U3A member tells us,
“I first heard about U3A from some friends who were doing different courses. They offer an incredible range of topics… there’s so much variation in what you can choose to do… it really is fantastic!”
The concept of U3A originated in Toulouse, France in 1973. It was developed through a connection with the local university and aimed to provide retirees the opportunity to engage in further education.
By the early 1980s the idea had been embraced in the United Kingdom and continued to spread around the globe, arriving in Australia in 1984.
The first branch of the U3A started in Melbourne, followed by Adelaide, the ACT, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.
Today, you can find a U3A in almost every corner of the country.
How U3A works
U3A is open to anyone who is no longer working full time. There are no minimum or maximum age requirements and there are no prior qualifications needed. You simply pay a small annual membership fee and enrol in as many courses as you wish… based on class availability.
Every branch of U3A in Australia has different classes that are designed to extend your knowledge and enable you to share your skills with your community.
All courses are taught by volunteer members. Often the teachers are students of other subjects and if you have a topic close to your heart you can put forward a proposal to present a course too!
Eula tells us,
“I’m a member of the Bayside U3A and we have set terms that follow the school year as a lot of the people are grandparents and help with children during the holidays.
The classes are run in various locations in Bayside, Brighton and Beaumaris, so they are very easy to get to, whether I’m walking or going by car.”
Benefits of U3A
Apart from the obvious educational benefits of U3A, there are many social benefits to the organisation as well.
U3A Online discusses this in its brief history outline,
“As Australia reached the end of the 20th century there was a growing recognition of the demoralising effects of social isolation, particularly within the older sector of the community. Because it is largely invisible, it is an issue that until recently has been given scant attention. Being lonely is not something that many people are prepared to admit to; doing something about it seldom captures the imagination of mainstream society.”
This is where U3A offers a unique social support system and can truly enrich people’s lives. Connecting with others in the community and extending your network while participating in a new activity is highly beneficial to your health and wellbeing. Eula says,
“There are a lot of lonely people around as you get older and at U3A classes people can make great friendships. I would absolutely encourage anyone to get involved.”
Making the most of retirement
At First Financial we know that your dream retirement is as unique as you are, and we understand how important it is to have financial freedom. We have years of experience helping our clients plan for their future and meet their retirement goals.
Retirement is about so much more than money and planning early gives you the freedom to spend your post-work years on what matters to you most.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, contact our team today. Plus, if you want to learn more about U3A courses, visit their website and find a branch in your local area. Read more Retirement Planning articles.