Compulsory retirement ended in New Zealand in 1999, and since then, the percentage of people over the age of 65 who are working has rapidly increased. It is estimated that 27% of men and 17% of women aged 65 or more are working – some through choice and some because they cannot afford to retire. By 2050, it is projected that 65% of men and 55% of women between the ages of 65 and 69 will be working. This makes good sense with life expectancy for 65 year olds now approaching 90.
Rather than retirement being a life changing experience that takes one overnight from being a productive worker to being permanently on holiday, it should be a seamless process where life is a continuous combination of productivity and pleasure, with the balance between the two simply adjusting over time. There is a common expression that life is journey, not a destination. Too often we are so busy focusing on how much better our lives will be in the future that we forget to enjoy the present. There is no reason why we have to wait until we are no longer working to enjoy travel and leisure activities. Similarly, there is no reason why we have to feel that after a certain age we are useless to society.
Doing fun things while you are younger and being more active and productive in your later years have been shown to help people live healthier, longer and more meaningful lives. Taking regular breaks is crucial to your physical and emotional well-being and new experiences help keep your brain active. A gradual transition to retirement requires the willingness to let go of some activities and introduce new ways to spend time which will form the basis of an enjoyable life in later years.
Liz Koh is an Authorised Financial Adviser. The advice given here is general and does not constitute specific advice to any person. A disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 273 847. For free eBooks, go to www.moneymax.co.nz and www.moneymaxcoach.com