By Jas Singh
I grew up as one of three children. My parents were working class and worked hard to give us everything we could have ever asked for. My dad worked hard in a local cooker factory, my mom a receptionist in the local hospital.
Although we didn’t necessarily have the latest toys or gadgets, honestly speaking I never felt there was anything missing in my life – I had everything I could have ever asked for.
It was my mom’s dream to see all her children become graduates and so they worked extra hard in our teenage years to put us all through university. My mom’s dream came true when each of us returned from university – a pharmacist, an accountant and a lawyer. Growing up, my parents were my hero’s – in fact they are still are to this day.
As we all settled, left home and eventually got married and started our own families, my parents decided to take their well earned retirement. Like most people who have worked their entire adult lives, they deserved it. In fact, like most people they had planned for it.
So they travelled. Spent time with their grand kids. Started a few hobbies. However slowly but surely the truth began to creep up on them – retirement wasn’t what it cracked up to be. Boredom set in. Then regret. Eventually they became borderline depressed.
They tried everything to find more purpose. More travelling. Spending time with friends. Exercising more. After almost five years of retirement, in a twist of fate they finally found something that gave them their zest for life back – a part time job. My dad now works on a farm a few hours a day tending to cattle – and I have never seen him happier.
Look at some of the greatest achievers of our generation. Warren Buffet. Rupert Murdoch. In previous times Andrew Carnegie and W.Clement Stone. When most of us would be settling for a life of tea and biscuits, these achievers show no sign of slowing down.
Obviously, all this is dependent on having a clean bill of health. But there is a case that as long as you are healthy, there is no need to retire.
Here are four reasons why retiring at the traditional age of 65 (or 66 in the US) is not a good idea:
1) You will live less longer
Most people retire earlier to enjoy life more and to “look after” themselves. Yet lots of research including studies such as this have proved that in fact the opposite is true. People who retire at 55 are actually 89% more likely to die in the ten years after retiring than those who retire at 65!
Pension companies have known this for a long time – which is why they are often happy to pay out less money for people who retire early.
Life is movement. The less you move, the less you think, the less demands you put on yourself the faster you age. Like all things in nature, unless we use it we lose it.
Funnily enough though, the likelihood of death due to retirement is much greater in males than females.
Retiring is not necessarily good for the health.
2) Life needs purpose
There are only so many cruises you can go on. Nearly every person I have worked with who came back from retirement has mentioned the same reason – it wasn’t all that it cracked up to be.
That might be hard to imagine with the stress of work, finances and family. But it’s true. We all need purpose – something that will allow us to grow, contribute and be rewarded.
The human mind is a creature of habit – it becomes accustomed to reward systems. After working most days for 40 years, it’s unrealistic to suddenly stop and think that everything will just feel OK.
We need purpose. We need to feel we have contributed and earned a day’s living. We are social creatures and need to speak and interact with people in a spirit of comradery.
3) It’s harder to get new work
When I speak to people, even the most successful executives, the usual dialogue to retirement goes like this. “I’ll retire, then find something else to keep me occupied. Something perhaps even fun, to enjoy, where I can give back to others and share my 40 years experience”.
Sounds grand in principle. But one big problem – finding a new job at 65 – even something part-time and “fun” can be extremely difficult.
Just like any candidate – it’s much easier to get a job when you have one. In fact this may even be more important for candidates approaching retirement age.
I’ve worked with a number of people – both clients and candidates who intend to work to some extent post retirement and my advice is always the same. Try and find new work beforehand – whilst you are currently employed.
4) You may have your best years ahead of you!
Why do most of us love our childhoods?
It’s usually because we are free. No stress. No ties. No responsibilities.
Approached with the right mindset, the very same can be said of people past the age of 65. It’s a chance to share unique wisdom, experience and skills that can be invaluable to others. It’s a chance to take risks, try things that are fun, things that inspire you.
Take someone like Warren Buffet for example. In recent years, he has been more active than ever in buying companies. He’s now even a massive investor in companies based outside the US – something he once publicly avoided. And the results and rewards he has had because of this approach over the last ten years has been incredible.
Successful people don’t retire unless they have to.
Hiring managers should take incredible advantage of this – there is a humongouspool of talent out there that has been there and done it – ready to get stuck in again.
When do you want to retire?
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