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September 1, 2019

In the National Day Rally earlier this month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed the need for Singaporeans’ retirement age and re-employment age to be raised to 65 and 70 respectively by 2030. While there may be some who will have to continue working till their retirement age due to financial constraints, there are others who would have attained financial independence by then and thus have the luxury to choose whether they would wish to extend their career span. Nevertheless, it could be a good idea to continue working even though one may not be required to do so.

The work that we mention here, by definition, do not refer to jobs that you would need to drag your feet to the workplace day in and out. In fact, we would even suggest that you try to leave that position as soon as possible because such jobs are not only detrimental to your mental and physical well-beings, but also you are likely to be unproductive and not maximizing your optimal potential. Rather, one should try to seek employment in a role that he is passionate about, and will then be motivated to excel in his work and strive to be the best that he could be.

All Play And No Work Is Undesirable

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but all play and no work makes him an unproductive lazy bum. Sipping martinis on a beautiful beach, playing golf in a private golf club or even travelling around the world are common activities being associated with retirement. Indulging in these pastimes may seem fun and exciting in the initial few weeks, but keep doing that over the next few months and more often than not you may start to realise that they no longer bring you the same pleasure that they used to. Try repeating the same routines over the next few years and chances are such activities may even become boring and meaningless.

With the advancement of medical technology in the last decade, the life expectancy of the general population is also increasing as well. One can easily live for another 20 to 30 years post their official retirement age. Is there something more which you can still accomplish during this period?

It Is Not All About The Money

Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist in the 1940s, proposed that after satisfying basic needs for survival such as food, accommodation and security, human tends to pursue higher levels of needs including social acceptance, esteem and self-actualization.

A competent working professional assuming the position of high-level managerial role may suddenly find himself sinking into a void of purposeless and loss of identity if he is mentally unprepared for retirement.

All too often we have also heard of retirees lamenting on how they had missed the bonds and strong relationships they had built with their colleagues and co-workers. Hence, the connection with other people or “human touch” is one of the many reasons why retirees are joining back into the workforce.

Age alone should not be the sole determining factor to stop us from working if our health permits. Engage in an activity or hobby which you enjoy doing, one that you are willing to put in effort to build your competency around and become better at doing it. Subsequently, you may be able to derive greater satisfaction from your successes and make your post-retirement lifestyle a more meaningful one.

Balance Is Key

Just like most other things in life, we think that a balance between work and play is the key to achieving the optimal outcome. If you feel like having a holiday overseas or go onboard a cruise once in a while, by all means go for it. Simply take a few weeks off work because you deserve it. If having games of golf is your thing, perhaps you may want to commit to part-time work so that you still have the time for your hobbies.

To end this off, we would like to bring forth the example of investment guru Warren Buffett who still continues to hold the helm of Berkshire Hathaway at the ripe old age of 89. The way he put it, “I love every day. I mean, I tap dance in here and work with nothing but people I like. There is no job in the world that is more fun than running Berkshire, and I count myself lucky to be where I am.”

Perhaps this is the reason many retirees choose to invest in the stock market. Investing keeps one’s mind occupied. This is also a great time to be investing defensively for that extra bit of income to pay for your vacation and a little bit extra for the grandchildren.


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