Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What do we now mean by 'retire'

When I was a kid it seemed like anyone who was 50 years old was way past their 'sell by' date.

I just heard on Talksport Radio an interview with an 85 year old man who plays in the over 85’s world tennis championships.

On Monday this week I played golf with a 76 year old man who plays 18 holes twice a week most weeks. He looked amazingly fit.

Sir Alex Ferguson is 66 years old and still as passionate and ambitious as he ever was for his team (and mine) Manchester United.

I hope to be the player manager of a five-a-side football (soccer) team for men over the age of 100 when I reach that milestone in 2052.

How times have changed ….

As Tom Peters says 60 is the new 30. This surely has massive implications for the definition of ‘retirement’ from work. I hope to work until I am at least 75. My academic supervisor Professor George Giarchi still works at the University of Plymouth at age 77 and as far as I know George has no plans to finish work for few more years.

How do you see retirement nowadays and does it really matter about having an 'age' of retirment?


Anonymous said...

I hear numerous people say, "I hope to work until I'm..." Here's the acid test: if you won £5m on the lottery this weekend, would you retire or keep working as you do currently? If the answer is anything other than retire, I'd challenge you to revisit the, "I hope to work..." statement.

It may very well be that you'd want to carry on part time or with specific projects in mind, but do you really want to carry on with a full working week, travel etc etc?

I'd suggest that we shouldn't define 'retire' by some arbitrary age. Instead, we should look at a ramping down from a 40-hour week (or whatever!) to a part-time position and probably more not-for-profit or social work coming into play.

Joel D Canfield said...

I was just saying to Best Beloved yesterday that the only reason I charge money for my consulting is because I prefer living indoors and eating regularly.

If I were suddenly independently wealthy, I'd drop my web dev biz in a heartbeat. But my business consulting? I'd still love talking to entrepreneurs about what they're doing. I'd still love advising them about their marketing plan, helping organize their website, teaching them how math can be fun and why technology is a servant, not a master.

I've been doing all this stuff for nearly 40 years. I just finally got smart enough to charge a bit for it so I can do it more, and better.

If 'retire' is the opposite of 'work', and if it's true that "if you love what you do you'll never work again", then I'll be retired in short order. I'll just continue doing what I love.

David Wike said...

Yep, if I won that £5m I’d stop trying to earn a crust but I would still carry on ‘doing things’.
I think that TP is fooling himself if he really thinks that 60 is the new 30. Maybe 45 is more reasonable.

It is interesting that Trevor’s hero Sir Alex has been rather ageist this week by suggesting that rivals Chelsea are too old with an average age of 28 for their first choice eleven. Which in itself is interesting as Manchester United’s average age is ... 28 apparently!

And while we are on football, we’ll judge Trevor’s chances of playing in that 100+ game AFTER he has run that race that Annie has entered him for – I wonder if she’s told him yet?

Trevor, I suspect that you will have to retire well before 75 if you are to get in shape for football at 100. I seem to recall that you can’t run 5 kms as quickly as Annie at the moment!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks guys for your comments – appreciated

Mark – If I won £5 million on the lottery I still feel I would want to work – maybe not quite so hard and maybe more choosy about what I do but the ‘appeal’ of doing nothing does nothing for me. And there is no need to be retired before we start doing something in the not for profit sector. Many of us do a lot of work in that sector whilst still ‘working’ of course - Do it now while we are young enough I say.

Joel – ‘loving what I do’ is a wonderful expression. Since becoming freelance and independent almost four years ago after a career in corporate healthcare I would say I love my work even more as I get older and see no reason to slow down as long as I still love it. The greatest joy for me like you is working from home and most of the time at ‘work’ being with the person I love most – that is immeasurable.

David – Sir Alex is clearly starting the mind games early this season obviously :- )
We have plans to run a half marathon in October and the London marathon in spring 2009 … you will be leased to know David that I am improving ….. My training is on schedule and by the way …. I have you lined up as our sweeper in the over 100’s team by the way …. Annie is still ahead of me in the raining programme but rest assured I have the aim of catching up!

David Wike said...

I am leased to know that your raining doesn’t include PT!

Trevor Gay said...

Good to see you spotted my two deliberate mistakes David - I would expect nothing less of course :-)

Anonymous said...

Retire? I just see it as an opportunity to do something different, something to enjoy working on. Single Working Parent issues are of interest to me right now and advocacy and community development work would be enjoyable and meaningful.

Trevor Gay said...

I'm with you Dave - as I get older I want to keep myself very busy .... but only doing stuff I WANT to do.

Take care and good luck with the SWP project. I'm delighted to be involved in a small way in that.

Anonymous said...

So instead of talking about retirement, maybe what we should really be asking is, 'What is the meaning of work?'

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Mark – that is a brilliant question – thanks - I think I might do another posting using your question.

David Wike said...

How about if we all ‘retired’ and became politicians? We could form the ‘I’ve Had A Proper Job’ party to head off all these ‘professional’ politicians who couldn’t even run Trevor’s bar let alone run a country.

Joel D Canfield said...

Trevor, I think the comment machine is b0rken—it actually looks there like David is recommending we all become politicians.

That can't be right.

Yes, the definition of 'retire' depends heavily on the definition of 'work.' I'll restock the old vin zinfandel and open another bottle of Jameson's when we come back to that question.

David Wike said...

Sorry to worry you Joel; perhaps we need a little re-branding. Scrap the word politician; the marketing budget isn’t of adequate size to re-position the image of the word and the people to which it pertains.

What I am suggesting is that we self-appoint ourselves (OK, have elections if we must) to project manage the running of the country. That is, to do what is the best for the country rather than what is most likely to get us re-elected. And do it in a professional manner using the experience gained over many years in the ‘real world’.

This week I was talking to a guy who had been in a discussion with the head of a major company. On various occasions this CEO had met up with government ministers and the conversation had come round to an environmental project that the company was undertaking. Apparently the politicians’ eyes lit up at the possibility of associating themselves with this in some way. As soon as they realised that the delivery was a few years off i.e. after the next election, to a man (or woman) they immediately lost interest.

But hey, it’s a warm afternoon, it’s Friday, dinner will be alfresco accompanied by a couple of glasses of lightly chilled rosé. Running the country can wait until Monday!

Trevor Gay said...

David and Joel - Cynicism rules about our politicians … I will sign up immediately for David’s new party – The AFP - ‘Alfresco Friday Party’

We have the ‘Monster Raving Looney Party’ already well established in Britain for many years … and there is plenty of room for more such sensible people to challenge the more stereotype politicians.

Annie and I are about to enjoy the balmy evening weather with a nice bottle of Chilean Red in the open air and as David says, to hell with it till Monday.

Thanks guys – have a great weekend.

We obviously have 3 founder members for David’s new party … I have a feeling there could be a few more ‘out there.’

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Retirement is what I did first. NOW I'm working.

Trevor Gay said...

So you are in my five a side team for the over 100's John - by then you will be reaching your peak!

JOHN O'LEARY said...

You're assuming, Trevor, I'm not already a centenarian.

Trevor Gay said...

Excellent observation John - I must stop this habit of assuming ....

Maybe the give-away is the picture I’ve seen with your ‘afro’ in the early 70’s – However hard I try I can’t believe you were really 70 years old in those days my friend :-)

Anonymous said...

I'll be 55 years old in 2009 and will complete 30 years with the Baltimore County Goverment. I will be able to retire with full benefits. Will I damn straight I will. Not because of laziness but in 30 years I saw so much underhanded bull that I can't stomach it anymore. People getting high salarys in Supervisor positions spending half of their workday on a golf course and calling it a "function" or not saying anything and wanting to hang a subordinant for being late with a report. Many Family members and friends of Administrators being placed in high positions while passing by excellent employees who have given their all to the county over a course of many years. Being a non-profit organization not caring how money is wasted on food for meetings, worthless equipment, dead end courses etc. Yes the folks that say "I won't retire" must be working a very fullfilling position

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Anonymous – sounds like you are in a pretty uncaring organisation. Sorry to hear that and I can understand why retirement is an attractive option for you. You will still of course be very young at 55 next year. I read recently that people reaching 50 still have more than half their life to go. You have plenty of time to do what you want to do rather than being driven by others agendas. I hope it works for you like it worked for me. I left a corporate job at 52 after over 30 years and I’m now 56. I have never been happier because I am my own boss. Take care and stay well – thanks for visiting Simplicity Blog – I wish you well.

Marilyn Jess said...

Dear Trevor,

It's been a while since my last post--more on the reasons for that later :) You've hit on an emotional and important issue.

Suffice it to say I follow the Warren Buffett philosophy of retirement. He doesn't plan to, as long as he can work. Neither do I. Good enough for Warren, good enough for me.

So much fun stuff left to do.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Marilyn - I'm with you 100% - I can't see why I wuould want to stop working ....

J.KANNAN said...

A very well presented article in brief and crisp with acceptable facts.

“Retirement from work” is not the words in my dictionary, nor will I allow these words to penetrate in to my dictionary. Yet you will be surprised to note that I have retired 1n 1976 when I was only 30 years young and now ‘am only 62 years young. You may be wondering what this guy is talking about - by saying, having retired in 1976 @ 30. It’s indeed true and to be precise I have retired from pursuing academics due to various factors, and not from work. My present age for working is, just reverse my actual age 62, and it becomes 26. So I have a long long way to go unretired and continue working (if bodily unhurt).

One thing what I have learned all these years is the skill of relaxing while at work. That’s a special skill I have practiced on my own right from the beginning of my career due to circumstantial necessities (Thanks to Indian Air Force where I have begun my career way back in 1964) by the grace of Lord, I have never experienced work pressure, on the contrary enjoyed work pleasure under all circumstances including tiring ones.. It’s all in ones mind. If one thinks of retiring he will retire undoubtedly and one thinks of working, will keep working as long as one desires, determines and lives.


Trevor Gay said...

Hi JK – good to hear from you.

Fabulous comments thank you. Like you, I love my work and always have loved work. My late beloved father always encouraged me to work hard and as a consequence I’ve had a high work ethic. I see no reason to stop working until my body tells me to. I love you term ‘unretired’ – what a great concept