For some Covid-19 will have been an opportunity to reflect and consider ‘What’s it all about? Why am I still doing what I do? Is there another way?’ Many working people will have been forced to work from home and this may have given a new perspective, without the commute ‘Can I continue working for longer or at least let’s wait and see’. For others Furlough may have give an insight into what retirement could look like. Those made redundant will be forced to think about ‘what now?’ Look for another job or could this be a blessing in disguise and the start point for another career on MY terms. Others having done the sums, possibly for the first time might be pleasantly surprised and choose retirement, the quick route from TOIL to TOYL. Having choices is obviously key and some will have had negativity thrust upon them, especially those at that ‘difficult age’ when too young and financially insecure to stop working but perceived by many to be too old, expensive and/or experienced to employ. These are the cohort we should really feel for, as through no fault of their own they have been thrown on the proverbial scrapheap or at least that’s how it may feel. I fear for a tsunami of mental health as change is often NOT as good as a rest but perplexing and difficult to comprehend. Fear and uncertainty can drive anxiety and difficult circumstances drive depression.
Please take care of yourselves, the vaccine and herd immunity are within sight, not around the corner but there is light at the end of the tunnel. We will never return to the old ways and the new normal hasn’t even been characterised well yet. For some this will be a sweet and pleasant land of opportunity, others who are less resilient or flexible this may be the worst of all worlds. All I would say is that you probably have more influence over your future life and the world that you will inherit than you think. Don’t wait for governments to show you the way, they haven’t exactly been worthy of being showered with praise – get out there and look after yourself and make your community a better normal!
Below was my blog written in better times. The real world is often very different from the ideal world and if we didn’t know it before we surely do now.
Ensure a smoother transition by retiring in stages easing off your workload over a year or more. This allows adjustment to working less and avoids ‘jumping off the cliff edge’ which as attractive as it may seem seldom is as easy as it might appear and only about one in three actually view ‘retirement’ as the point at which they immediately stop working. Over half of workers globally envision continuing some form of paid work in retirement with many seeing it as an active stage of life where they aspire to stay socially connected, involved in their communities and continue to work in some capacity.
The Financial Lives Survey 2017 found that 10% of adults aged 65 and over in the UK are still in work and of these 40% are self‑employed and for 30% are working part-time before winding down to full retirement. 73% of people will keep working because they are worried about their income and the size of their savings pots with 2% suggesting they still have financially dependent children at age 65. In the UK, 29% of people in Aegon’s study said they expect to retire at age 70 or older, while 2% say they will never retire.
In ‘The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity’ Lynda Gratton & Andrew Scott suggest that in the future our children will have multiple careers requiring multiple stints of training and due to the increased working lifetime more ‘gap’ months/years etc. Some ‘grey gappers’, the over 55s who take extended leave from work for overseas trips etc. seem to have pre-empted this and have a break from the TOIL of work and dip into the TOYL ahead of time!
Instead of suddenly stopping work at the retirement age many embark on a planned period of partial retirement, gradually reducing work commitments over a period of years whilst drawing down all or some of their pension which these days have a great deal more flexibility than in yesteryear.
Employers might not advertise the fact that they offer reduced hours or phased retirement, so if this appeals you should ask! Your employer may not have a formal phased retirement program, however you may be able to negotiate an informal option where both employee and employer benefit. Actually, many employers suggest these programs help with worker retention, knowledge transfer and workforce planning with new workers hired at a lower cost.
Reducing one’s hours and commitment to ones established career/job is one option, but another is to have an ‘encore career’. Whereas 15% of people plan to continue working in the same field past retirement age, 11% will keep working but in another industry with 10% of people Aegon surveyed globally said they plan to start a business. 10% said reaching retirement age would make no difference at all to the way they work.
A hobby job is one that is less demanding, and which focuses on existing skills and interests with more flexible and less demanding hours etc. These might include dog walking, an online/eBay business, tutoring or in my late Father-in-Law’s case becoming a clock-maker/repairer when he lost his job.
Of course some will not have the luxury of being able to plan in this manner as they are either financially in need of a full-time income or lose their job through redundancy etc. However even this may have a silver lining if it opens up possibilities that would not otherwise have been seen or looked for! If you have a real passion it is far more likely you would be successful pursuing this in business – You might not make a fortune but you’ll be happier and those around you may well believe in you more than might otherwise be the case!