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You Have The Money – Why Aren’t You Retired?

You Have The Money – Why Aren’t You Retired?

Written by Michal Park – Senior Adviser

Some of you may know that every Tuesday I send my clients a two-minute clip of myself waxing lyrical on varied topics relating to the financial planning industry that may be of interest (PLUG: Two Minute Tuesday with Michal Park – google it on YouTube).

This month I posed a question to my viewers who are retired – “what was the catalyst the led you to pull the trigger on retirement?”.  I am finding more and more that we may all joke about being desperate to retire, however, when the time comes and we are financially able to retire, many of you just aren’t quite ready to pull the pin.

I had some terrific feedback and the general theme of those who continue working, regardless of their financial status, was about staying connected.  Here are some of the responses that were emailed in:

1) I don’t retire because I like the work I do. Being self-employed, I can take time off whenever I want, so work does not restrict any travel I might want to do (or be able to do in the current climate).  I no longer actively seek out new clients; so I will retire when the phone stops ringing.

2) I was working as a contractor for IBM. When the contract finished, they didn’t renew, so I retired.  I had projects to work on (digitise and catalogue family photos, transcribe an old book into HTML) so it was just like working from home with no boss no pay.

3) Here are some thoughts in no particular order as to why I am still working and not becoming one of those people who wondered how they ever found the time to go to work previous to retirement:

  • I have a sense of belonging to a large company and a group of people who are my fellow workers.
  • Comradery and a sense of achievement by completing work on time.
  • I feel that I am contributing to the company and my clients and do not want to cause angst to everyone by leaving.
  • Enjoy getting dressed up to come to work instead of getting around in old clothes at home.
  • A sense of security in having money coming in each month from the wages.
  • My father taught me to have a strong work ethic – I have worked all my life and don’t know how to stop working.
  • A fear that there may be a global downturn and our investment’s value will drop dramatically, thereby cramping our lifestyle. I do not want to be poor.
  • Work is keeping my brain active and healthy – I have seen people that retire become “old” very quickly.
  • By keeping on working I am building up our assets.
  • I do not want to be reliant on a pension, I have never sought government help in my life.

4) Been thinking about this “retirement” caper more and more. 

  • It’s not that I don’t enjoy my job, it’s more so the pressure and expectation of the role.  I can only mentally do it for so much longer.  The red tape I can do without. 
  • Can I afford to leave?  I am working on it.  I would like to walk out the door and be close to debt-free as possible with the income stream in place unencumbered by any debt (tax-effective or otherwise). 
  • Do I have a target – yes, but it moves.  Last year wasn’t fun in terms of 1 income stream (being dividends) that was pretty much reduced, but now recovering.  I could have been further down the line and closer to the target.
  • Some external things I would like to fall in place and probably will in a few years time, but I am not counting on them.
  • Another part of your message was the “social” side – after the covid isolation I would agree social “contact” outside of the video screen is an important part of life no matter how removed you would like to be.  I am happy to potter on doing my side gig and want to get involved more with creative type outlets.
  • Then there is the focus on physical health which is becoming more important as the years roll on by.

Many of my clients were thrown into retirement due to circumstance (ie redundancies etc), so sometimes the decision to retire is made for us.  And rather than stay retired, many of these clients have picked up work elsewhere and are enjoying a slower pace of wanting to work to stay connected, whilst enjoying the freedom that comes with not having to work. So I guess that is the key right there – the knowledge that one could retire if one wanted to.

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