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Retirement

Do you need permission to retire?

By Peter Kelly
  • February 05 2020
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Retirement

Do you need permission to retire?

By Peter Kelly
February 05 2020

Don’t be misled by the title of this blog – I am not seeking permission to retire, at least not just yet! But do we need to seek permission to retire?

Do you need permission to retire

Do you need permission to retire?

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By Peter Kelly
  • February 05 2020
  • Share

Don’t be misled by the title of this blog – I am not seeking permission to retire, at least not just yet! But do we need to seek permission to retire?

Do you need permission to retire

The answer is “yes”.

If we have a significant other, having them in agreement is probably a smart idea. It is always wise to remain on good terms with one’s spouse or partner. After all, retirement is a significant life event and all parties need to be on the same page – committed and in agreement.

And having the agreement of one’s employer is also very important. After all, we would all like our exit from the workforce to be mutually satisfactory to all concerned. We want to leave on good terms.

But what about giving yourself permission to retire?

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The reasons people give for retiring are many and varied. Retirement may be forced upon us as a result of ill-health, redundancy, the failure of a business, or the need to take time out to care for unwell or ageing family members. Often, we don’t have a lot of control over such circumstances.

On the other side of the equation, retirement may be driven by the fact we have reached “retirement age” – although there is no longer an official retirement age in Australia, except in some occupations – or we have reached the age where we can access our superannuation or receive the government Age Pension.

But for others, retirement might result from the fact we are just tired of the day-to-day drudgery of getting up and going to work. Our work is no longer fulfilling.

For some, retirement simply can’t come quickly enough because we have so many other things we would prefer to be doing. I think they are the lucky ones. They have purpose.

Retirement will inevitably involve a significant change in lifestyle. There are adjustments that need to be made, both physical and mental.

Sadly, all too often many people retire without a sense of purpose. They just fiddle around the house, maybe watch afternoon TV or take the dog for a walk, or head off to a shopping centre, just to fill in time. It is not uncommon for people to feel lost in retirement.

I believe this situation often arises when people don’t have active control over the circumstance that result in retirement.

Let’s consider two recent retirees whose stories are not uncommon. One often says he doesn’t know how he had time to work. He has so much going on in his life with his golf, minding grandchildren and taking regular short holidays.

The other appears to be a little “lost”. After retirement, they spent some time travelling both in Australia and overseas. However, once the travel was ticked off the list, and all the odd jobs around the house had been done, the husband spends much of his time looking for things to do. Perhaps he feels he still needs to be working eight hours each day. However, his wife is involved in a wide range of activities and community groups. This leads to both frustration and anxiety.

When we have our retirement mapped out and have plans, we have effectively given ourselves permission to retire.

On the other hand, if we simply meander through retirement without purpose, perhaps we haven’t given ourselves that permission.

For many, retirement will consume around 25 years of our life. That is a long time to be living with regrets.

If we are not ready for retirement, then we shouldn’t retire.

Even if we are unable to continue in our present job, there are options out there.

Now, some will say that it is difficult for older people to find work – and that is true. However, there are many charities that are keen to get all the volunteers they can muster, and there are many employers willing to take on part-time and seasonal workers. Alternatively, take the skill developed over a lifetime of working and start your own small business or consulting practice, or commercialise a hobby.

When retirement beckons, embrace it with passion and purpose. Have a plan and, most importantly, give yourself permission to do whatever it is you want to do, when you want to do it, without any feeling of guilt.

After all, retirement is “your time”.

Peter Kelly is a superannuation and retirement planning specialist at Centrepoint Alliance.

Do you need permission to retire?
Do you need permission to retire
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