Why you shouldn’t retire!
By Judy Churchill
Before you all howl in shock and horror, hold your fire and read on...
Our current retirement model was invented in 1883 by the then chancellor of Germany, Otto von Bismarck. He declared that that the state would pay a pension to non-working citizens over the age of 65 and nothing has changed since! Of course, at the time there were very few people who would even make it to 65 so it was a pretty low risk ‘gift’ and Bismarck knew it. The state was unlikely to be handing out vast sums of money. In his day you retired and you died fairly shortly after. Were Bismarck alive today he would certainly raise the retirement age to 85 which would be today’s equivalent and he’d be doing everyone a favour into the bargain. Our current model is therefore an outdated format and no longer fit for purpose. So, what is so harmful about retiring?
The human body and brain were designed to be active, to problem solve, to workout hard and take pleasure in achievement and the long hard road that leads to that achievement and success. You all know the adage: ‘it’s not the destination but the journey that counts’. Once retirement becomes our destination perhaps the only journey we set out on is the one of routine and boredom which very soon ends up as destination ‘bar’, killing time and drinking. For those who really enjoy their jobs, the withdrawal symptoms can be very painful and lead to the next problem on the list………
With no real purpose and no reason to ‘get up in the morning’ studies have shown that people lapse into depression at an alarmingly fast rate. This can lead to an increase in alcohol and sugar consumption as a way to combat this and an increase in health issues. The onset of Alzheimer’s disease is speeded up by the fact that the mind is no longer kept active coupled with a feeling of uselessness as people are no longer asking your advice nor holding you in high esteem.
A number of studies show that death comes sooner to those who retire. The study carried out on Shell oil workers showed that those who retired early had a significantly higher mortality rate than those who continued to work – a sobering thought.
An overdose of the family:
Many people harbour the idea that when they retire they will be able to spend more time with the family. This usually backfires as wives who have organised their lives and activities around a husband who was ‘at the office’, suddenly find themselves with a spare part around the house who isn’t part of their social microcosm and who suddenly wants to be entertained and looked after. Likewise, many women who retire (one of my clients is a prime example) suddenly find themselves reclassified as an ‘always-available baby sitter’ for their grandchildren and never have a moment off. My client came to me suffering from exhaustion!!
Diminished social circle:
Many people’s social circle (especially men) is connected to their business network and it comes as a rude awakening when the calls suddenly dry up and they find themselves ‘out of things’.
The sooner you retire the sooner you will be using up your hard-earned funds and if you live (and statistics show this is very likely) to be between 100-150 years old, it is very likely that your funds will run out if you retire too early.
Passing on your skills and expertise:
As a senior, experienced person in the work place you have invaluable knowledge, skills and expertise to pass on to the younger generation. You are worth your weight in gold.
You can do the things you imagined anyway:
Most people live under the illusion that they will ‘do all these things’ when they retire: travel, paint, outdoor pursuits, go to the gym every day, enjoy exhibitions, read etc. etc. Facts show that you simply WON’T! Firstly, with no structure to your day, you won’t get organised or not for very long at least and the novelty will wear off. It is a simple fact that those who have all the time in the world do very little and instead of going to the gym, they just end up watching more daytime TV. So, DO IT NOW! All of the above activities are incredibly enticing when time is at a premium and you will enjoy them so much more when they are a treat rather than an easy option. Reduce your work, don’t stop it. Take more holiday, go away at weekends, organise your time so that you have more time at the gym during the week. When an exhibition/cocktail comes up, choose the one you really want to go to and ditch the rest. Remember the novelty of endless free time wears off but the thrill of doing a little more of your favourite activities doesn’t.
Opt for semi-retirement:
If you want the best of both worlds, the semi-retirement option is the very best so that you can keep your mind alive and active but enjoy more of your hobbies and leisure pursuits.
What to do if you have no choice but to retire:
If you are given no option but retirement whether you like it or not, then there are ways to keep your mind active. Do some volunteer work. There are many charities and associations that would be delighted to have access to your skills and knowledge and you will keep up your self-esteem from the achievements and the positive feedback you receive. Learn a foreign language. Doctors recommend learning a new foreign language when you retire as the very best way to give your brain a full workout. You will not only keep your brain cells functioning on all four cylinders but you will have fun and learn useful new skills into the bargain.
At the end of the day life is all about filling in the space between birth and death – exactly how you fill that space will determine whether you live a fulfilled, happy and worthwhile life or not.
Judy is based in Monaco and specialises in transformational coaching working with both individuals and companies.
Judy is also a qualified language teacher/trainer for adults and children in French, English and Spanish.
If you would like to receive coaching, communication skills training, language tutoring or certified translating from Judy, you can contact her on:firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com via Facebook messenger and www.judychurchill.com