Are you waiting for the day when you will retire and relax and spend time with near and dear ones? But have you thought of life after retirement from all aspects? When you scale the peak of a mountain, your climb is not finished. You have to climb down. Similarly you have to live through retirement. It is not a destination, but a point from where a new journey begins.
Many sportspersons like Michael Schumacher and Shane Warne came back to competitive sports after retirement. Ronald Reagan the former president of the United States said “Two weeks ago I went into retirement. Am I glad that’s over! I just didn’t like it. Took away all the fun out of Saturdays”.
That might be the case for many of us. Here are some reasons that might make you think twice about retirement:-
1. Longevity –The average lifespan of the Indian has increased. According to World Health Organization (WHO), the average life expectancy of Indians in 2013 is 70 years and this is expected to rise. As quality of life becomes better and with advances in medical technology, there is a high chance that you may outlive your retirement savings. Medical costs are also rising. With age, this is an important component of your expenses. With increasing age and rising medical costs, it is better to work for more time and earn more to get the benefits of higher savings and investments. (I recently read “40 per cent elderly work for a living in Maharashtra”)
2. Work adds meaning to your life – You get the Monday morning blues when you have to get up and go to work. But then at the end of the day, you feel a sense of achievement. You will be a little lost if you did not have to go to office, meet your colleagues/employees and do something substantial. If you are healthy enough to work, have a meaningful work life where you contribute to your organization significantly, it makes sense to continue.
You might have a well-planned second career in place waiting to take off after your retirement from the current job/business.
You can also transform your hobby or an old passion into a full-fledged career. For example, my neighbour retired as a highly ranked executive from a bank. He returned to photography, his first love. He sharpened his skills, attended workshops and now travels worldwide for photography assignments. He earns more than what he used to when he had a full-time career.
3. Improve your lifestyle – If you have your financial plan in place and executed it properly, you might pay off all your liabilities before your planned retirement. You can now think of improving your lifestyle. Maybe your family wants to live in a bigger house or go for exotic vacations. You might have nurtured some dreams of living a better life that got lost along the way. Then you should not retire, but aim to for such lifestyle improvements.
4. Society needs your skills –You earn more if you don’t retire. But society also benefits from you being in the workforce. You contribute to the organization you work with and to the country’s GDP as well. After all every penny counts. You can take up activities like teaching the less privileged, coaching children etc. that will also pay you albeit lesser than what you used to earn.
5. Family and Social Life – In earlier times, when a person retired, there was a large family and he/she was never short of conversations and companions. Today most families are nuclear households and children go away to pursue their dreams. You should give a thought to what you would do the entire day. It will not help if you meddle into your spouse’s everyday affairs. Do you have a social life so that you do not get bored at home? Most people have colleagues as friends and spend the entire weekday with them. But just like, there is no contact with them over the weekends, once you retire you may not have anything common with them and realise that you have no friends to socialize with.
My uncle had an active life when he was working. Once he retired, he was at a loss as to what to do and became dull and depressed.
Maybe you like the rush of getting up early and going to work and facing challenges. If that is what keeps you going, you should not think about retiring early. But that doesn’t mean you should not plan for it – read: Is Rs 1 Crore enough to retire?
Retirement is a process for which one has to have a proper approach and plan from all aspects. If you are a person who has opportunities for self-growth even at the retirement age and feel complete only if you are earning money or are occupied doing something substantial, do not hang up your boots.
I will love to hear your views on this subject.Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net