I used to think retirement was something wobbly and grey, toothless. A finish line we passed after pens down at sixty-five, a place we’d go to slowly wilt like tired lettuce.
Its very existence as a milestone, the pressure planning to ‘have enough money for retirement’ made me nauseous, even though as a financial practitioner, I taught that very principle for years.
The old paradigm had us worrying about savings, having enough money to live on until we die, and that was about it. We knew we had to pay off the mortgage, have a decent bucket of capital, and draw a pension to cover the rest.
Now I don’t see myself or any of my peers ‘retiring.’ I can count only one or two people who’ll leave ‘the firm’ with a comfortable pension, walk out of the lift and spend their twilight days drifting around the countryside in a Winnebago.
The paradigm has changed. Ask any Gen X how they see retirement and see what they say. My husband and I see ourselves riding bikes, running, golfing, travelling and most significantly, still working to pay for it. There’s not a limp lettuce in sight, it’s all one long continuation of Living; of Life Plus. Hooray!
There is one caveat, it works as long as we love what we do, because if we don’t it’s not hooray, it’s purgatory.
In accepting this truth the next inexorable question is, are you doing something you love enough to keep doing it for life?
Personally, I want to write, keynote speak, travel and do it all with a Purpose. I know that possibly sounds like a nauseating Instagram quotelet but it’s not meant to, and frankly it’s taken me a bloody long time to realise it as my truth.
In my mind now, retirement isn’t a place or a status, It’s simply an age when legally I can access the savings on which our kind and forgiving tax office gave us a small break.
Whilst having a decent bucket of capital helps, the new focus for all of us is far more about “am I doing something now that I want to keep doing, and can and will, it pay me enough to live?”
These are the more fundamental human questions for our questioning existence than the old, tired ‘do you have enough in super?’
What does your retirement look like? Are YOU doing something you love enough to keep doing it for life?