By Bill Storie
I had lunch today with a long-time very good friend. Like me he took early retirement a few years back. He’ll be reading this so I better say nice things about him.
He made a very interesting comment over lunch.
He said, “I’m actually enjoying this part of my life better than probably any other part.” Curiosity kicked in.
“Because when I was working I was totally focused on the job (he held a senior executive position in a financial services company). I played the occasional round of golf when I could get the chance. But if I was travelling, or had to work at the weekend, the golf was missed. But now, I do have some work that I still do but don’t need to spend 24 hours a day on it as I literally used to have to do. So I can work a little, chill a little and play golf when I choose. The work stuff keeps me mentally alert and the money is handy.”
Not bad I thought.
We compared lifestyles nowadays as we have pretty much mirrored each other for about forty years work-wise and family-wise. I said, “At least you can go to bed at night and leave the work behind you whereas I’m still going on the Olderhood stuff because the other side of the world is active and the online management issues need to be handled in my evening hours.”
We both chuckled at how things have changed. We are both active and alert, well most days anyway. Yet the pressures of work issues are behind us now – meetings, presentations, staff issues, budget reviews, vacation scheduling and so forth. Now we can choose to do what we want, when we want, and if we don’t want, we don’t do. Maybe this retirement gig isn’t that bad after all.
I don’t think either of us planned it this way, we pretty much watched it happen. Neither he nor I had a really strong retirement plan a few years back when we were looking forwards to retirement. Part of the reason was that we were just too busy to think about it. So in many ways I guess we’ve been fortunate that our lack of planning hasn’t held us back too much, thus far anyway.
Yet, now that we have both been retired for a few years, it has become more and more obvious that retirement planning is a critical issue. I know that had someone whacked me around the head several years ago and said, “Wake up you dummy you need to think about this retirement stuff,” I might have whacked them back.
But thanks to the work we’ve done on Olderhood and the feedback we’ve had from hundreds of you, plus the reality that we are getting older and we do need to think about this aging thing, then simple common sense would dictate that retirement planning is something that all of you should do if you’re still in the work force – and the earlier you get started, the better it will be.
Don’t leave your financial situation to chance and hope it will work out. It might not, and the sooner you know that, the sooner you can start to get it rectified. Getting extra money when you are in retirement is not easy. Believe me, no-one believes your brain still works.
I could go on and on about retirement planning and tips and tricks, but I’d bore you. On the other hand, maybe I’ll just write a book about it. I’ll call it “Retirement for Dummies” – if the working population think we are dummies then why disappoint them. One day they’ll be dummies too, but don’t let’s tell them that and spoil their delusions.
Have a nice week.
By Bill Storie