Should you put off retirement and just have a holiday?
I recently ran into a man I've known for ages who retired about two years ago and is now back working part time in the company he left. "I was bored stiff" he said. After the big trip around Australia and a few months to relax and unwind, he found he had nothing much to do with his life.
Fortunately for him, his old company still had a need for his talents and experience so he managed to get a part time job without all the management pressure of his earlier, full time job. He's now much happier and finds that a part time job fills in much of his spare time, keeps his brain active and gives him some extra cash.
His story is a common one, and particularly at the end of a year, when we feel tired and overwhelmed and think retirement will fix all that. We forget all the good bits about working (not just the regular money). There's brain activity, social interaction and even routine. Before retiring full time, it's worth considering how these needs are met.
I've been writing these regular columns and spruiking our helpful books for over 5 years and yet nearly every week I run into, or get a call from somebody who's struggling to adapt to life in retirement,
The unfortunate reality is while some people make the transition easily, there are many others who have some form of difficulty. Some of them can be major life disasters, such as divorce, if you haven't thought about your relationship and the strains placed on it when you are together 24 hours per day every day.
So if you are either approaching retirement, or in the early stages, you might care to make the transition easier by taking note of the expert advice available in each of our five books. They are shown above and can be purchased on our web site at www.retirementbooks.com.au.
Your age isn't just a number
Ageing is a very personal issue. We all age at a different pace and all become "old" at different ages. Let me give you a few examples to illustrate the point - A friend of mine is in his mid-70s. He's self employed and works 2-3 days a week. He plays tennis once a week, walks most mornings and watches his diet. He's reasonable fit, happy and enjoying life as a healthy 75-year-old.
Another friend is a similar age. She had a successful business career, but had cancer in her 50s and it, or the chemotherapy has had a negative impact on her health. She needs a walking frame when she goes out and looks and feels older than 75.
Finally, another old friend who's 73 was a school principal and had a major stroke at 68. He's now in an aged care facility with very little mobility. So, three intelligent, successful people, all around the same age, all with totally different levels of health and very different lifestyles.
So ageing is a very personal thing. Some people are healthy and active in their mid-70s while others look and feel old and frail. This huge variation in health and wellbeing is very difficult for governments and the corporate world to handle. Clearly the Aged Pension can't be awarded to different people at different ages, depending on how healthy or unhealthy they are.
Because retirement age is generally regarded as 65, many people in their 60s and 70s who want to keep working and are physically and mentally capable of doing so, often find great difficulty in getting a suitable job once they retire or get retrenched. While they may be over 65, that doesn't mean that they can no longer be productive workers.
The whole perception of ageing will have to change in the 21st century as more and more people and society in general grapples with the fact that most people are going to be living for another 20 - 30 years if they retire around 65. The economy will need more workers and older people will need something challenging to do. 20 years of passive recreation and leisure will drive a lot of people mad with boredom.
How would you feel if society in general thought that you were "past it"?
If you'd like to read more about how to have fun in the last 25 years of your life, our 5 books have lots of useful information and advice. Check them out at www.retirementbooks.com.au