When it comes to life planning, deciding when and how to retire is likely to be the most important decision you ever make.
For earlier generations it was easy – you worked through to your 65th birthday, probably in the same industry and maybe even the same employer. It was then time to collect your gold watch and maybe have a few years of ‘retirement’ – but most likely you will have ‘checked out’ by 70. Today the average UK life expectancy is over 80 and, if you have looked after yourself you can add a decade or possibly two to that.
Funding these years of post employment living is one challenge but an even bigger one is deciding how and when to spend that lifetime of savings you have accumulated. I’ve talked previously about by father-in-law who, at 98 with a 100 year wife, refused to spend anything as ‘he needed it for his old age’. Another client, who found it difficult to give up the work he loved, is now racing around trying to ‘do it all’ just as his health is giving out.
There is no ‘right’ answer to this, each one of us is different and we have to do what seems right for us at the time.
When it comes to the ‘next generation’, the rules of the game have changed again. Starting work in their 20s they can only think about retirement when they can afford to do so – for most that will be in their 90s. However, what inspires me most are the clever ones – those who have worked this all out and decided they will live their lives by a different set of rules. Rather than waiting until old age to ‘enjoy life’ they are living their lives in segments – working in a role, leaving that role to travel, explore the world or learn new skills – then returning to work – probably with a different employer possibly doing a different job – they are having their retirement ‘adventures’ as they go along – and loving it!