Why you may never retire: the good, the bad, and the sensible
For some, the prospect of never retiring is daunting. For others, it’s exciting – something to plan for. Whatever you feel about retirement, you may have to accept that never retiring is on the cards for everyone, whether you continue to work out of financial necessity or you prefer to keep active, involved and relevant for as long as possible. These two scenarios: forced to continue working, or working for the love of it, have the power to determine both your happiness and your health.
Today, the conventional practice of retiring at a relatively young age of sixty or sixty-five is considered an old-fashioned practice with little relevancy regarding current lifestyles, careers and financial planning. People are reaching these ages in good health and vitality, certainly not ready to test the rocker on the front porch for the rest of their days.
But apart from the simple impracticality of retiring at these young ages, there is the small problem of the rising cost of healthcare, which is forcing many to rethink their retirement years. While working past traditional retirement ages is not an option for many people, there is the tricky situation of obtaining and maintaining employment at an advanced age. So whatever your situation, you need to be planning your retirement not to do nothing, but to be doing something.
The value of continual work
There are some real positives emerging to support the practice of working well past traditional retirement age:
Keeping up with expenses: continuing to work brings peace of mind with regard to those unforeseen expenses that often tag along with health issues. In addition, many long-term company pensions that were set up decades ago, are now not sufficient to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Working longer brings a useful focus to life and may very well help you to live longer. Financial health is a major factor driving retirees back to the job. Working longer is considered more financially viable than just saving more for retirement.
Companies are actively seeking older workers: you’re not as over the hill as you may have thought. Millennials are not replacing baby boomers fast enough, and companies are putting expertise and experience at higher premium than fancy degrees or younger applicants who might be harder to retain. Loyalty and retention can impact big time on profits – and everybody knows that the older worker is much less likely to job hop. In fact, some companies have launched programmes called ‘returnships’ to re-introduce retired skilled personnel back into the jobs.
Working longer is better for your health in every way: people beaver away for years at their jobs and generally look forward to retirement. However, after a year or so of not much to do, some find they are starved for company in their old industry. They miss the camaraderie of the office and being able to contribute effectively – to prove value and relevance. For good mental health, these aspects are vital. Motivation to get up and go every morning is one of the drivers of a good outlook and healthier physicality. Being busy keeps your mind occupied, and an occupied mind doesn’t have time to dwell on aches and pains and the odd twinge in a toe.
The value of a second career: sometimes retirement actually presents an individual with the opportunity to do something they’ve always wanted to do; it may be stamp collecting or writing your memoirs, but more and more people are choosing to start a new business. It may be an endeavour started while working, and slowly built up to hold the possibility of real financial returns during retirement. People who do this – who find their passion late in life are happier and healthier than those who prefer the rocker on the front porch. It’s good mentally, physically and socially. Vitality begins in an active mind.
Tips to return to working successfully
- Examine your passion. What is it that you’d like to do? Continue on in your chosen profession of the last 40 years, or would you like a complete change because over time your interests have shifted? This is the first step to setting up a viable plan.
- Update your skills: Get back to study. There are thousands of courses out there on every subject possible. The world can become your oyster again, but you have to determine how best to learn new information: via the internet or through formalised class attendance.
- Join various organisations. You may reconnect with people this way – or certainly find more useful connections within the discipline you’re interested in studying or initiating as a business. Meeting new people is both stimulating and informative. This is an important focus – and in retirement you have time to do this.
- Rehearse your expertise. Always remember the value of your years of experience and the skills you have built up over time. This is more valuable than you might realise. When you add this to new learning, and a broader outlook for business options, you may find yourself spoilt for choice. Make a plan, define a strategy, set goals, and work your dream with motivation – and you can’t fail.
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