Don’t leave the decision up to other people.
It’s expected that once you reach a certain age you retire. Society is geared towards your eventual retirement. Left to its own devices it will automatically retire you. Which is fine if that’s the way you want to go. But what if you don’t.
Then you need a plan.
FINANCE. As with everything else finance is central to your decision to retire or not. Some people work until they drop because they can’t afford not to! If you want to keep working, make sure it’s not because you have to. Invest in your pension as much as you can as early as possible. This gives you the safety you need to make sure you are not tied to a miserable job. A decent pension makes it possible to move from job to job or location to location. It means you don’t spend your retirement years it a rut.
THE JOB. Look ahead. Check your own employment conditions in advance. Some companies have mandatory retirement ages. No matter how good you are at your job or how much you enjoy it, once you run up against that cut-off date, you will be cut off. Make sure your employer will allow you to work on. Or, move job. Find yourself a position which will allow you to work on until YOU decide to retire.
DEFINE RETIREMENT. For a lot of people retirement is synonymous with giving up, with settling down to T.V., bingo, pottering in the garden. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Not retiring needn’t mean spending twenty more years on a production line. It might mean working part time, it might mean (with the support of a pension) taking a wage cut in order to chase that dream job. After all, by then the mortgage should be paid off. Time to take a chance on something that might make the heart sing.
You might pursue the option of voluntary work, which might mean staffing a local charity shop, or it might mean working abroad with an aid agency! Many organisations, who may not be able to match your previous salary, might love to have the benefit of your maturity and experience.
OTHER PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS. Be aware that other people will have expectations of your retirement. Your children might expect you to move from professional to professional babysitter. Be firm. Much as you might love the little tykes, you are not a child minding service. Retirement does not mean you stop being an active, vibrant individual. Let family and friends know your plans in advance. That way they should be on board and not stunned.
RETIREMENT IS NOT THE END. Childhood is not a short time. Not a time that people are expected to just vegetate through. The teenage years are thrill a minute years that can seem to last forever. Your retirement could easily last as long as these to times put together. Don’t waste that opportunity.
You don’t need to retire just because everyone expects you. What you do need to do is plan ahead. Your retirement can be an exciting, useful, purposeful part of your life. Are you up for it?