Retirement planning isn’t something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. Possibly because I’ve never imagined just stopping work. While my workaholic tendencies may have had the edges rubbed off over time, I am still constantly thinking about the business, improving what we do and how we do it. Which explains why I am sitting here at 4.53pm on a Saturday afternoon writing an article…
When you start out in your career, retirement seems so distant that you scarce give it a second thought. However at some point it inevitably creeps into view. At least into your peripheral vision. I think I’ve reached that point.
Now this may seem odd given I work in a career business. Maybe its the perfect “cobbler’s shoes” scenario. I spend so much time helping others with career planning I neglect my own.
My Dad starting talking about retirement in his early 50s. He had very clear ideas of what his retirement looked like. Most of which had to do with his passion for trout fishing. And he looked forward to it with real enthusiasm. Sadly he died at 59. A victim of mesothelioma – almost certainly a result of his exposure to asbestos while serving in the Royal Navy during the second world war. I remember his bitterness towards the end that all that dreaming had been wasted.
I’ve never had that clarity of what retirement looks like. Perhaps specifically because of my father’s experience. Subconsciously I may have been wary of tempting fate and history repeating itself. Passing the age my Dad died at was a sobering moment. And a time generally for reflection.
The beach hut
OK, I have had some vague ideas about retirement. Mostly involving owning a beach hut along my favourite part of the Suffolk coastline. However the prospect of spending £100k plus on what amounts to a garden shed with a view of the sea doesn’t fit well with my logical side. And I suspect Mrs G has other ideas about what that money could be spent on.
So here’s my conundrum. If the future isn’t about the view from a beach hut what does retirement mean for me?
The data is scary
The scary thing is how much research is out there that suggests retirement – especially retirement with no planning – can be seriously damaging to your health. And make no mistake, I want to live as long and meaningful a life as possible.
There’s a piece of research I saw the other day from the US that points to a spike in men dying at around age 62 (scary when you are my age). And its nothing to do with COVID. It is all apparently linked to more men retiring early. Work longer and the average life expectancy for a US male is apparently 79.
Another piece of US research also shows a very clear correlation between retirement age and life expectancy for men. Basically the earlier you retire the sooner you’ll die. Proving, I suppose, that work is good for you. Suggestions for why this is happening include adopting a sedentary lifestyle after retiring.
During the pandemic lots more people in the UK retired earlier than was expected… Maybe funeral directors should be expecting a boom in business as a result? Hopefully not from me.
The message I take away from all this is that retirement may not be all its cracked up to be. Or at least not if you haven’t planned it properly. So I’ve set myself the challenge of thinking harder about how I prepare for later life. A journey I’ll share in the weeks ahead.
How much have you invested in retirement planning? Why not leave a comment or drop us a line with your thoughts.