Retirement at 60 is clearly a thing of the past, and even retirement at 65 is a stretch for many of us.
Some feel cheated by this state of affairs, because they rightly feel they have paid into pension pots for long enough, while others see it as an opportunity to keep on working and save a bit more for our eventual retirement.
Some even see it as a time to try launching a new enterprise, while others opt to go part-time and have a bit of the best of both worlds.
For others there is little choice, it is an economic necessity to keep working through their 60s and beyond.
There are a multitude of ways to approach your 60s these days, it’s a decade that now more closely resembles our 50s, even 40s – a sixtieth birthday is certainly not the milestone occasion it once was, one that heralded the journey into old age.
Keep on working
As a freelancer, I personally can see myself working into my 70s, health permitting.
As a writer I am in a profession where physical capabilities are not paramount – I just need a good Internet connection, a computer and a desk. In other words, there is less physical wear and tear in my line of work.
This means the chances of me working into my next decade are high, providing my brain keeps functioning at a decent capacity. If I was stacking supermarket shelves, or I was a builder, then the physical toll on my body might force me to retire sooner.
Plus, I don’t feel the need to retire, and I’m sure there are many others my age who feel the same. If I can keep working, why shouldn’t I? I’m really not sure what I’d do with my days if I stopped writing. I’m not a gardener, or a golfer and eventually reading all day, every day would become tiresome, even for me.
We’ve all heard about people who go into a decline shortly after retiring, and in the past people were forced into retirement even though they would have happily carried on.
But, for those in salaried positions, it was expected they would leave on a specific date and companies didn’t offer them the choice to stay on for a few more years.
Restructure retirement goals
Now that we are generally living longer, and staying healthier and more physically active into our later decades, we need to restructure our lives, starting from our twenties really.
If we shift our perception of how long we will have to work for, and how much longer we are living, then perhaps it is more realistic to set a goal of retiring by our mid-seventies, at least for our generation.
State pension age is creeping upwards slowly but surely in all Western countries, because their social security fund simply can’t cope with paying out to people from 60 onwards.
Our children and grandchildren will most likely celebrate 100th birthdays, so there is little likelihood that they will retire until they reach their 80s. Perhaps people will start working in their 30s rather than at 16, 18 or after graduating. Maybe the ‘gap decade’ will become ‘a thing’ as they say.
According to research compiled by Professors Gratton and Scott at the London School of Economics, “We can’t afford to retire at the age our parents did, or we will have to work so long that our mental and physical fitness, as well as our enthusiasm for life, could suffer. For people in their 40’s-60’s, we recommend becoming open to innovation, with consideration toward a multi-stage life and possibly several different career paths.”
Gratton and Scott also said, “the gift of longevity carries the curse of having to cope with it financially and socially.”
Seeing our 60s as the new 50s is a coping mechanism that can work.