Why is there so much backwards thinking about retirement?
Posted on 18th April 2018 at 07:30
A couple of weeks ago we focussed on one of those well known clichés which most people have never stopped to think about. Living to work versus working to live.
As so often is the case, our observations have inadvertently ruffled a few feathers and led to some rather “interesting” conversations (!). Particularly with those who have always worn their long working hours as a badge of honour and are now seeing them in a rather different – and less positive – light.
So, while we’re on this topic, we’d like to give you a rather different perspective on a related topic. Retirement.
Ready? Then here we go.
The prevailing logic about work and retirement goes something like this:
You go to school – perhaps then on to College or University – and finally into the world of work.
You spend the best – and most productive – years of your life doing a job you don’t enjoy. Or actively hate. Often with people you don’t like either (!).
Why on earth do you do this?
Quite simply, in the hope that you’ll earn enough money to support yourself and your family.
And, as an added bonus, build up enough of a pension to allow you to retire at some distant point in the future. When that long awaited time finally arrives, you can put all your worries behind you and enjoy some well earnt leisure time.
Then, after 40 – or, in the future, probably more – years you finally reach retirement. Freedom at last.
But, here’s the rub.
Having been trained to work from an early age – really from the time you first went to school – you find yourself with long days to fill. It’s little wonder that so many people feel lost and BBB – bored beyond belief – when they finally retire. And then struggle to find anything to fill those long days, which were fondly expected to be full of fun and happiness.
Then, just to make matters worse, they find themselves having to live on a fraction of the salary they earned when working. Sadly, it’s estimated that over 95% of people can’t maintain their standard of living when they retire. So, rather than enjoying their long awaited retirement, they spend it juggling their finances.
Yes, we know we’ve painted a rather stark picture, but that doesn’t stop it from being true.
The question is: Does this still sound like a good plan?
And the answer has to be “no.”
So, continuing in the same vein as our recent post on the world of work, isn’t it time for a different plan? And, as usual, it’s much simpler than you’d expect.
Rather than living to work, why not work to live – and here’s the crucial bit – at a job you actually enjoy? One that feels more like a hobby, whether you’re self employed or working in a company.
No longer would the best years of your life be spent slogging away in a job you disliked; with your rose tinted spectacles firmly focussed on a long awaited happy retirement at some distant date in the future. Instead, you’d be happy and enjoying your life NOW.
And, here’s another radical idea, if you love what you do why would you want to retire?
Perhaps you’d decide to reduce your working hours, but you’d still want to continue doing something you enjoyed doing.
Or how about taking longer holidays – mini retirements really – of 2 or 3 months to do some of the things you’d always meant to do?
Instead of spending your retirement trying to find things to fill your time AND struggling to make ends meet, you’d actually enjoy your later years. Maintaining the same – or better (!) – standard of living while continuing to do all the things that make your life worth living. Remaining active and engaged in all the things you loved to do, whether at work or home.
We know many people who do just this, whether by a definite plan or one they simply fell into. Those with their own businesses, self employed or employed. The very physically active and the less so.
The one thing they all have in common is how happy and motivated they all are, with a purpose in their lives and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Sadly, the same cannot always be said of their retired contemporaries. And with all the concerns about ill health – particularly Dementia or Alzheimers – isn’t remaining active the best insurance policy you could have against this?
To us, it sounds like a much better plan all round.
And, if you think it’s already too late for you, you’d be wrong. The best news is that you can decide to do things differently at ANY time. It’s NEVER too late to make a change AND to benefit from it…
As always, the choice is yours.
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