An appearance on the Standard Life ‘MoneyPlus’ site
I’m always delighted when I’m asked to give my perspective on retirement, especially when it’s by a pension company as large as Standard Life. Their MoneyPlus blog provides tips and guidance for an important part of retirement: your life savings.
Standard Life have included some of my thoughts in a recent article about some of the big questions people ask about saving for the future. You can read it here.
Saving for the future is such an interesting discussion point. As we’re all living longer, it would appear we have only two logical choices: either we delay retirement or we increase our savings.
It’s worth considering however that just because you have savings, doesn’t mean to say you can rely on these for the rest of your retirement, which could be as long as three decades.
Today, ‘retirement age’ appears to be a personal choice, yet it was not always so. When Caesar Augustus or Bismarck introduced pensions they placed retirement age way above the average life expectancy to make it workable. When Bismarck instituted 65 as the age of retirement, the average life expectancy in Germany was 58.
If we were using Bismarck’s yardstick, with life expectancy today in the UK at 79 for a male and 83 for a female, retirement age would be 86 for males and 90 for females. With this perspective today, there would be little discussion of retirement. If you knew you could not retire until you were 83 or 90, the critical question you should be asking yourself is – what enjoyable activity would you pursue each day?
However, I’ve noticed that when people focus on the word ‘retirement’ the only aspect they consider is the financial. Yet the health – mental and physical – aspect is probably as important if not more important.
The dictionary defines retirement as a withdrawal from active life. We know that nothing in nature retires: it is either growing or dying. So, it follows that if we retire, we are dying.
That’s why so many retirees experience loss of self-esteem, loss of identity, aimlessness, depression, loneliness, socially-disengaged, and shame. If one is engaged in a work one loves and is socially engaged, these symptoms are suffocated.
Your final opportunity
You could say this is a crisis: so how can we turn a crisis into an opportunity? I tell my clients that retirement is life’s way of giving us a new and perhaps final opportunity to become who we were supposed to be, to discover what we love to do, and where we lose all sense of time.
With that energy and passion ignited, we can create a new sense of purpose, and a new life post-retirement, that will not only keep us fit and healthy, but also keep us in gainful employment, without the need to deplete our savings.
So how can we do this? As Standard Life tells their customers and readers, it is indeed important to save for the future, and to start as young as possible. But as we reach retirement age, the importance is not on considering not how we will spend the money we’ve saved and while away the hours, but what we have done in our careers so far, what we have enjoyed the most, whether this was part of the job or a hobby. Then, as I say in the article, think about how that could be monetised.
Retirement is an opportunity to break old habits, to renew the old you, so that you can allow new habits, the new you, to emerge. This is why I talk about a ‘Retirement Rebellion’: because this view is not the one held by most people. But by adopting this mindset, you can create fresh energy and find a new lease of life.
At retirement age, are you daring enough to discover your purpose? If you are, I can help. Subscribe to my newsletter and be the first to find out about my new online course, Dare To Discover Your Purpose, coming soon.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you’d like to learn more about my retirement coaching and consultant programs, visit my site at georgejerjian.com or contact me at [email protected].
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