Retirement Rebel: Richard Murphy
Retirement Rebel: Richard Murphy
Welcome back to our monthly ‘Retirement Rebel’ interview series. This month I talk to Richard Murphy, a former actuary who is now the Liberal Democrat candidate for Police & Crime Commissioner for Hampshire & Isle of Wight, as well as a father, activist – and of course a Retirement Rebel. You can find out more about Richard here, as well as follow him on Twitter.
I’m really looking forward to sharing Richard’s inspiring thoughts with you. In the meantime, if you’re a rebel too, and you’d like to be part of this series yourself, email me at [email protected].
Do you consider yourself retired – and if not, why not?
Definitely not retired. I stepped down from my job as an actuary this year after 30 years. I loved that role, but life is short and I wanted to take on some other challenges before the opportunity to do that slipped away.
How do your thoughts on retirement differ from most people – in other words, what makes you a retirement rebel?
My work meant that I spent quite a bit of time with very senior people who were still actively working in their 70s. They were still ambitious to succeed in what they were doing, but they had found things that they loved to do. Success was about working with people and getting stuff done. They inspired me to keep active and to aim never to retire.
Do you have a typical day? What does it look like?
At the moment life is busy. I am campaigning to be elected as a Police and Crime Commissioner in the May 2021 elections. If elected, this would be very different from my previous role but is a real chance to give back to my local community here in Hampshire and to make a difference to people’s lives.
I do some voluntary work with the charity Pancreatic Cancer UK, supporting their social media campaign for 15 minutes a day. I also hope to work with the students in Southampton University. I have just been appointed a Professor of Practice there and I hope to be able to use my experience to inspire the next generation.
What’s been your proudest moment since you turned 50?
I only turned 50 in February 2019, and like most people, simple getting this far through the pandemic feels quite an achievement!
Do you have a favourite quote that inspires you?
One thing I have done for the last few years is to give talks to community groups (mostly Women’s Institute branches) about positive change in the world. With all the bad news we see, it is easy to forget how much safer and healthier we are than in the past and that this trend is still improving.
I like this Barack Obama quote which sums it up. Despite everything that has happened since he said it in 2016, I think it is still true.
“If you had to choose one moment in history in which you could be born, and you didn’t know ahead of time who you were going to be… you wouldn’t choose 100 years ago. You wouldn’t choose the fifties, or the sixties, or the seventies. You’d choose right now.” Barack Obama, May 2016
What’s your favourite social media channel, and what was the last thing you posted on it?
For posting I quite like Instagram and my most recent post is a picture of us out dog walking. For watching, my new lockdown guilty pleasure is TikTok – there is a lot of high energy fun and kindness on TikTok that is absent from other social media. It makes me smile and maintains my faith in young people.
If you could tell your 18 year old self one thing, what would it be?
Say yes to opportunities. You’ll regret the things you did not do much more than the things you do.
When did you last belly-laugh, and what was it about?
Not meeting up during lockdown is hard, so I had organised a whisky tasting online with friends last weekend. We have been posting small bottles of whisky to one another over the last month.
There were a lot of laughs over Zoom. I have known the six people on the call since we were all teenagers. There is something special about meeting up with old friends.
Do you have any regrets?
That is always a hard question as my mistakes have brought me to where I am now as much (if not more) than my good choices. I wish I had learned guitar as a child because it is so much harder to start from scratch now – I am struggling with that, although the band I am in is very supportive.
What are your aspirations for retirement – how would you like to see the way the world thinks about life over 50 change?
My aim I suppose is to live life, rather than have it pass by. There is so much we can learn from those countries who are already experiencing ageing populations, particularly Japan. Keeping everyone engaged in their community is so important.
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