The End of Early Retirement?

I’m rapidly approaching the “normal” retirement age. The thing is, I’ve already been retired for 6 years.

Recently I read a newspaper article about how the concept of early (or for that matter normal) retirement is dead. Because we are all living longer, we should want to keep on with a fulfilling career after 65, and not retire as our parents and grandparents may have done.

There were some interesting examples of such paragons of industry, to wit:

  • A former psychologist now earning his bread as a renovations carpenter.
  • An ex PR manager who tried making it as a professional house sitter, but had to take some work in her former field as a proofreader.
  • A guy who formerly managed a major clothing retailing firm, now employed as a tax preparer / construction worker.

Maybe it’s just me but I don’t see these “ stimulating positions” as any reason to continue on in the workforce if you don’t have to financially.

I worked a couple of years after retirement as a volunteer for a small company in the coffee business, but eventually decided I didn’t want to get up early and work 10 hour days if I didn’t have to.

In addition to this, after my wife and I retired we had a bunch of life issues – illness and death of her sister, aging and deaths of both my parents, her mother getting older. These took up a lot of time and thought and I really don’t see how we’d have done it all if we were committed to earning a paycheck in our senior years. Besides, we’ve got grandchildren now.

I acquired some pretty significant IT skills over my years at work and I now put those to good use helping others in the neighborhood. Most of my “clients” are around my age, and they trust me as much as the younger geeks they’d have to deal with otherwise. I suppose I could make a few bucks charging them for my services but hey – I don’t really need to, and they really can’t afford to pay me for whatever value I bring to their problems.

I have a lot of sympathy for those folks who haven’t been able to save enough to retire and may have to keep on working into their 70s. But those of us who can retire should get out of the way of people who really need to work.

There’s plenty of stuff to do in retirement, and you don’t always have to get up early to find it.

Published by Ray MacDonald

Ray MacDonald is a retired food scientist who lives in Almonte, ON.
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