20 January, 2010

Retirement, a scary proposition?!

Retirement may not have much connection with money or pension after all. The problem some people have, is the inability to stop work completely and retire full time. Many do not actually have to work any more; but it is hard to shake off a life long habit, the 9 to 5 routine. You are not the only one here who finds it difficult to retire and stop working for good.

I believe many people approaching the 55 to 60 age group, are finding it difficult to stop full time work. The solution is to find a part time job after retirement and slowly phase out paid work by replacing it with unpaid volunteer work or church work. Also at the same time, phasing in more of your hobbies, travels, involvements with grandchildren, religion, whatever, to occupy yourself fully. Look at it as an excellent opportunity to do what you have always dreamt about doing; but did not have the time to do during your working life.

Please let me share here what I personally experienced, switching over to this new life style called retirement. I retired from full time work at age 58 in Hamilton (2002). After a few months, the prospects of looking at 20 years of annual leave got to me (I became bored with doing nothing). I enrolled as an English tutor, did a short course in Hamilton and taught English to new migrants for 3 years (2-hour/week) During this time I was also involved with working for the Salvation Army (5 hrs every morning on Mon, Tue, Wed). During this initial retirement period, I also played golf in the afternoons. There was a gap of 25 years during which time I have not touched a golf club. I took up sailing as a hobby in the early 80's and played some tennis.

Soon, in NZ I became a serious golfer again, playing 3 or more rounds a week. In the end, I found that the volunteer work interfered with my golfing schedules and it was also too warm in the afternoons to golf. I stopped doing all volunteer work in the mornings and decided to play golf full time. I found that golf was not enough to fill all my free time. I intensified sailing as a second hobby and took part in regattas every Sunday and exploring the many lakes and harbours in the North Island. When the weather was not suitable for golfing and sailing, I blog. I became a very active blogger with 57 blogs.

Missing the volunteer work and the human interactions, I have now replaced that with cyber volunteer work on the internet helping new bloggers all around the world. I am now a blogging guru. This work is less demanding; but just as satisfying as the previous type of volunteer work. The interactions with different bloggers was very rewarding for me and satisfy a deeper need inside all of us to make contact with other people on a common ground, blogging..

I am also an active participant on the extanjong forum (human interactions) and have formed another Google group for ex-Shell employees (SSB). I am constantly looking for new ways to fill my time. I have even considered taking up photography seriously as a hobby.

Sharing my own retirement experience with you, will hopefully help some of you during this difficult transition period from full time work to no work. Please remember that it is a fact that you do not need money to retire. The secret is in keeping busy and learning to phase out the extravagant life style (5 stars hotels) and begin to live within our reduced budget and accepting our new identity as a retired person.

The simple truth is this: No one is able to save enough money to maintain the same standard of living for retirement because we do not know exactly how long we will live. It is therefore impossible to plan financially for our retirement. For this same reason we must retire now, today; and not work until we die. It could happen tomorrow!

a very retired person (according to Chang Yi, a friend)


  1. David, quite a few so called celebrities died shortly after they retired. They could not live with their new nobody identity. JC

  2. JC,
    That is true. I have seen a few of my Shell colleagues going to the happy hunting ground very soon after retirement at age 55.

  3. Auh~ Being retired must bring a good feeling. There's no stress at all! A retiree can do just about anything, including recreational stuff and sports! It's good that people like you also have so much fun being retired.

  4. you are retiring very gracefully. More people should learn from you.

  5. Ann, The secret to a successful retirement is in keeping yourself occupied; be it grand children, volunteer work or new hobbies.


Thank you very much for your visit and your comment.


Blogs that I follow