To keep working or not … that is the question! 5



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Times have certainly changed regarding work and ‘retirement’ options.

When I applied to be a flight attendant in my 20s, you had to ‘retire’ from that role by age 36! Regardless of what age you choose to ‘retire’, considering what work you will do for the rest of your life may sound odd, especially when we think the purpose of conventional ‘retirement’ is about not having to work anymore.

Being aware that conventional ‘retirement’ is fast becoming a thing of the past with people living an extra 25-30 years, you may wish to reconsider your options. You may have an intention to never give up work, or you may be someone who can’t wait for the day when you don’t have to show up at the office ever again. It all comes down to what work has meant for you, and balancing that with your plan for the future.

For some people, leaving paid work is not an option, and they will keep working until they’ve bridged the gap between what they want to spend, and what they will receive from their investments … or any other sources for example: the Age Pension.

Others reach their financial freedom date and want to use their time with volunteering opportunities they love; doing charity work or giving back to the community in some way. My partner Nicholas started his charity to save the black rhino in 1987, and when he sold his business in 2001 to ‘retire’, he’s worked in his charity every day since.

A lot of people simply want to work less, have more time to do what they really want and have less pressure in their lives. They may choose to continue doing the same work on a part-time basis. Some people change their type of work. Some professional people change their jobs to become consultants. Others replace their work by taking less physically taxing work options. Some people keep working because they want to be out in the world making a difference doing something they love. For those who are self-funded and never want to work again, they may choose to live their life in conventional ‘retirement’.

They might ‘work’ at spending the kids’ inheritance by going on every holiday imaginable while they still can! One of the most common concerns people have, is wondering what they will do every day, for the rest of their life, after ending their full time job or exiting their business. How secure you feel about replacing the non-financial aspects of your work activities and practices in your next phase of life, will give you an indication of your likely daily satisfaction.

3 key considerations when choosing your work-life future

Structure – Think about what you will do with your time every day. Think about your daily schedule and goals.

Socialisation – Think about the number of conversations you have every day in your workplace, or as part of your daily work. How will you replace those, and with whom? Will all of your friends still be working? How will you satisfy the need to have daily conversations, and make meaningful human connections?

Status – Think about what will give relevance to your day. Suffering from relevance deprivation syndrome, can happen after losing your status as part of your work, so you will need an outlet to replace it.

It’s important to consider how much you think you may miss your work, and explore all of your options in advance.

Tell us, are you considering retiring soon? What are you thinking of doing in the future?

Maree Wrack

After selling her business she ‘retired’ (unsuccessfully), which led her to embark on a journey of understanding and researching the challenges of the ageing workforce, and the issues and myths of conventional retirement. Her first book ‘Champagne life on a Beer Budget’ was published in 2011, and upcoming book: ‘HOT SECOND HALF! Reinvent Yourself for Work-Life Meaning and Purpose after 50′ is due to be released mid 2015.

  1. Husband & I retired 25yrs ago, did not want to go from work to the grave. We enjoyed every bit of it, every day is a Sunday and love the simple things in life, that we didn’t have time for when working.

  2. Personally I make sure I am healthy so I can keep working at 66….the chalenge and all that entais running a busy Cafe keeps me young and has actually made me fitter as well…..tirying yes but I needed the interest in something else besides retirment days.

  3. I stopped work when I was 66, more because there was no work for me when I returned from an overseas holiday. I was an English Language Teacher in an ELICOS college and they only employ you on a casual basis. So I didn’t think I would work again and I agree with the writer, I ended up a couple of years later wondering how I was to fill my days meaningfully. I had little enough savings, so was gradually creeping into debt, when a job fell into my lap, the best job and perhaps the hardest I have ever had. However the most rewarding, and one that will allow me to eventually build a small studio for myself for when I do actually leave work. But in the mean time, I will stay working in the remote (NWQld) town I find myself in and hope to stay at work until I am 70 at least. Having no partner, and now no pet in my life, I am free to be here and I’m making the very most of this place and even finding time to grow flowers. As long as I am healthy in Body, Mind and Spirit, I will keep working!

  4. My husband is 71 and still working, the Doctor told me that is what’s keeping him alive he would be lost without his job

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