O'Donnell Kerr Financial Planners
  • 24 July, 2019

Retirement - Don't wait to live until you retire

“Retirement at 65 is ridiculous. When I was 65, I still had pimples” George Burns (1896 – 1996)

A little while back Mark penned a blog about retirement and referenced his own pre-retirement journey. A copy of that article can be found here.

However, today I would like to take a slightly different tack.

When Mark and I get together, we often talk about retirement – not in a coveted way, but rather, we share the experiences we observe in others.

For example, I have two retired friends – one who has embraced retirement and can truly say he doesn’t know how he ever had time for work – and another who appears to be struggling to find meaning in retirement. 

Mark has shared his view of retirement – a time of travel, bike riding and running. He knows the exact day – a couple of years hence – when he will pull up stumps. But the next two years will be punctuated with short breaks as he “practices” his retirement.

In my case, I don’t have a clear-cut idea of what my retirement will be like.

I enjoy my work immensely – it is mentally demanding, and I get to interact with a bunch of really nice people on a daily basis. I find this very satisfying and I don’t have any plans, at this stage, to withdraw from my working life and disappear.

But one day, that will happen. If I get to a time when I no longer enjoy my work, or I don’t think I am adding value, or I discover something else I would much rather be doing, or I will just have a good old dummy spit, then I will retire.

However, I see my retirement of being what I heard demographer, Bernard Salt describe as a “portfolio lifestyle” - a time in life where retirement in interspersed with periods of work.

Anyhow, that is all in the future. The important thing is that we all need to be enjoying what we are doing now – and not simply persevering from day to day, dreaming of some magical time in the future.

On occasions, Mark has referred to retirement as “My Time”, a time when we choose the things we want to be doing to fill our days.

While this is very true, there will be times in retirement when we don’t have complete control over the way we spend our time. There will be commitments to family and friends, there will be times of sickness and caring for others, and there will be times of loss.

As I look back over my 50+ years of working, I have been extremely fortunate. I have pretty much always enjoyed my work, I have enjoyed learning new things, and I have enjoyed sharing what I have learnt with others.

So, who knows what the next 20 or so years will bring?

For me, I will continue to work while I enjoy it, but I also have some new skills to learn – like learning to fly my drone that has been sitting in a cupboard for the last 18 months, and learning to take some half-decent photographs and videos.

What is your vision of retirement? Please share your comments.

And just to finish off, how about another quote, this time from Abraham Lincoln -

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years”

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