Should You Retire?
We are living longer than ever. When the first government aged pension was invented by Bismarck in 1889 the age applied was 70 – this was when the expected age of death of a German man was 72 years!
The Federal government had planned to increase the age pension age to 70 – this was scrapped after criticism. But if we keep living longer it is very possible that this will be revisited – particularly once we start getting down to the grim task of paying for COVID-19.
Financially working longer is viagra for your retirement plan. Those extra years of saving (assuming you actually save into super), can make a mammoth difference.
But the big benefit is the social benefit. Seeing people, fellow staff and customers or clients, can be an important social benefit. I understand that many people will be unable to physically keep working, or perhaps they are unable to get work – a big problem is ageism in the workplace. But meaningful work or even less meaningful work with a social benefit can be good for you.
Build or Maintain a Network of Friends and Family
Just now I am reading a book call ‘Growing Young. How friendship, optimism and kindness can help you live to 100.’, by Marta Zaraska. She highlights that from a longevity point of view, diet and exercise have much less effect on your health than human relationships. As she says. ‘Studies show that building a strong support network of family and friends lowers mortality risk by about 45%. Exercise..by 23 to 33 percent … following the Mediterranean diet ,,, 21%.
In our modern society, many people are apart from their family these days. Many people are cut off from their family because they don’t get on or there are abusive elements to those family relationships. So join a group and get out there. Recently I met with clients who regularly bushwalk with a bushwalking group. A friend of ours whose other friends all have children and she doesn’t is going to do beach volleyball this summer.
I met friends of ours when I took a Greek course several years ago.
Recently we watched Shaun Micallef’s On the Sauce. Micallef, a fellow South Australian, gave up drinking long ago when he was at Uni. He visited a retirement village in Queensland (I think) and showed how the evening consumption of wine had become central to seemingly all social interaction. Older women in particular are now drinking a lot of wine – it is seen as socially acceptable. But the effect on people’s health is going unnoticed. The link between alcohol consumption and cancer has only been more widely recognised recently.
We love camping out with our little Avan (yes it is shaped like an ‘A’ when you open it up and is the tallest thing in the caravan. No shower though!). But I have noticed how the grog comes out every evening at around 5 o’clock.
Look I don’t want to come across as a wowser, but if you can, try and limit the grog. You will live longer and better.
A close relative of mine (Happy Father’s Day Dad!) spends a lot of time and energy working in his local community groups. It keeps him invigorated. If sports are not for you, consider helping out. I recently heard of a friend of ours who has just retired and is spending time as a volunteer at a local old peoples home – and is loving the experience.
Get a Dog
I have read more than once that people thrive with pets. I know several people who live alone and their pet (often a dog) is an important part of their life and reduces feelings of loneliness. Having our Westie, Duncan, is great fun and it would be hard to imagine not having a dog in the future.
When people (particularly men) retire from work, life can lose some of its context or even meaning. Try to find some greater meaning in your life that drives you forward. Have a project or something to chew on (that is not food!). Try to stay (happily) married if you can, that alone will be for your good in most cases.