We all need a retirement career ….
In life, as in sports, how you end matters more than how you start or how well you play in the middle of the game. With an average life expectancy of 85 and an official retirement age of 63, 22 years is the number of years we will need to support ourselves …. if we are average. One in two reading this blog post will live longer and very likely up to the age of 100.
While CPF Life will provide us with enough for the essentials, living life beyond ‘hand to mouth’ will require us to be able to continue earning some income after retirement. Even for those who have amassed a healthy nest egg, without money coming in, there will be anxiety over spending money for: (a) fear of living longer than the average of 85; and (b) how inflation whittles away the spending power of our savings.
I recently shared the concept of having a Retirement Career with some friends. Aside from the financial benefits, an active life brings with it health and mental benefits too. Getting out and about keeps us fit, and using our minds to solve work challenges delays the onset of ailments like dementia. This is corroborated by a 2006 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research that showed complete retirement leads to a 5% to 16% increase in difficulties associated with mobility and daily activities, a 5% to 6% increase in illness, and a 6% to 9% decline in mental health.
Hence, while embracing lifelong learning will keep us relevant and gainfully employed during our working years, it will do little to help us once we retire. Embracing lifelong earning, on the other hand, will help us stay relevant and employed during our working life and beyond by focusing us on: (a) saving and investing for retirement; (b) seeking opportunities to build passive or online income for when we are unable to work; (c) being prudent in major financial commitments like our homes; and (d) developing the necessary knowledge and skills to continue working beyond the retirement age.
With a rapidly aging population and no natural resources, the government of the day will not be able to help everyone. As responsible members of a community, we need to take personal responsibility to be self-reliant and have the social responsibility not to deny others of the finite public assistance resources available when we are capable to fend for ourselves.
If you have not already done so, it is time to embrace lifelong earning and to start preparing for your Retirement Career. Like anything retirement-related, the younger you start planning and working towards it, the better prepared you will be.