Challenging Traditional Retirement

Are You Heading Towards A Traditional Retirement?

Have you ever considered buying a brothel in an outback mining town at 55 years old? Would you like to still be working at 102? How about becoming a barrister when you have just been sacked as the judge on a top rating television talent show? Or becoming an entrepreneur in your 60s?

These remarkable stories, and many others, were shared on The Late Shift – Insight on SBS Australia in 2017. Insight host Jenny Brockie interviewed people who, for many different reasons, are still working at a much older age than normal. She also sensitively dealt with the issue of older people finding it very difficult to find work. You can view this great program by clicking on the video below.

Questioning Traditional Retirement

With the trend of people living longer many people worldwide are questioning the paradigm of a traditional retirement, leaving work at 65 and just living off their investments, doing no more income producing work for the rest of their lives.

This idea of working during retirement is not new. It has always been common for successful business people to transition from full time work to becoming a director of a company with part-time involvement.  Retired professionals often become consultants within their industry and continue to work on a project basis, with blocks of full-time work alternating with blocks of full-time traditional retirement. Writing a book has long been the retirement project of people who felt they still had a contribution to make but wanted to do it in their own time, combining the lifestyle they desired with the challenge of creating a great book.

Seeking Purpose, Challenge and Meaning

People seek purpose, challenge and meaning in their lives, at all stages of their lives.  Why should this change when they hit the magical age of 60 or 65?

For many people this purpose, challenge and meaning comes from the traditional retirement life that they create; perhaps some form of community service, genealogy, pursuing a long-held interest, mastering a physical or art/craft activity or becoming actively involved in the lives of their grandchildren.

For others, this is a time of life when they decide to do the things that they couldn’t do before. How often have you heard someone say “I’ve got a great business idea but I can’t do it now” or “I’d love to work from home”. There is a spark of entrepreneur lurking in the most surprising people, and it is often when people get older that they embrace this aspect of their personality and are in the position to build a business and challenge the concept of a traditional retirement.

Will you outlive your retirement savings?

Outliving your retirement nest egg is a fear of many people as they approach retirement age.  The reality is that living is expensive and that a large proportion of people go into retirement worried that they will not be able to afford the lifestyle that they have dreamed they would be able to live in a traditional retirement.

There is no point in worrying about it but there is a lot of point in doing something about it!

Reinvent yourself

Technology has given us the opportunity to run a business from anywhere, with no borders, no need for staff, and no glass ceiling. It’s all about working out what you want for your future then, if a change is what you want, reinventing your way of earning and living.

There are many people who are earning very good incomes (sometimes extraordinary incomes) working online, all around the world.  Certainly there is learning involved, but that is part of the fun and the challenge.  Just like any business venture there are no guarantees, and it is essential that you trust the right people as there are many sharks online.

Similarly many people create a traditional offline business, perhaps offering the services that have been their area of expertise, while others follow their hearts to do something they have always wanted to turn into a business venture.

A traditional retirement is exactly what some people want and they love the life they create.  But if that isn’t how you feel, or if finances suggest that some income might be advisable, know that you are part of a growing trend.


Jenni Proctor

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