Retirement Redesigned

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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Retirement Redesigned

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Financial Worries

Reset Retirement — Monday Deadline. Even those fortunate people who retire with a reasonable pension worry whether they can afford to see out their retirement.

People are living longer, and the concern is that they may outlive their savings. We are told that it is only a small number of retirees that have the financial resources needed to sustain their lifestyle and to take care of medical and health issues. Instability in the financial sector and concerns about their investments become preoccupations.

Having to become more frugal in later life is a challenge. And it can be confusing. For those that have had rewarding careers and reasonably well-off lives is there a downsizing of the home and the cars? Are there fewer holidays and less often eating out? Previous indulgences have to be contained and the self-esteem of a more abundant life has to take some nocks

Most working people can dig themselves out of a financial hole by depending on their salaries and benefits like year-end bonusses. There is always the prospect of being able to earn more money by changing jobs or negotiating a raise or getting a loan based on the security of employment.
But the anxiety facing retirees is that they will not be earning a salary anymore. The door to full-time employment appears closed. Unless they have provided for it, they can land in an unexpected critical situation with no way out.

These days the so-called “sandwich” generation of people planning their retirement can have aged parents that still need care, on the one hand, and at the same time children whose lives have not worked out as planned and still remain dependent, staying at home. These can be additional causes of stress and a financial burden.

Because subjects like this are major talking points amongst pre-retirees, people facing retirement scramble for solutions. Some fortunate ones can stay re-employed by their companies as consultants. Other resourceful ones learn to ‘re-package’ their experience and skills to find part-time employment or project work in the ‘gig economy’ It is also seen as a good time to think of an entrepreneurial venture based on previous experience. Much advice is given now about starting a new business or making peace with self-employment. Professional people can simply stay in practice and continue to work for as long as they want to. But even they will have a ‘sell-by’ date at some time and need to prepare for it, facing the same issues.

Advocates for a ‘portfolio life’ in retirement point out that the best route lies in re-packaging the years of experience before retirement and setting up to work part time. In addition, they talk about opportunities in part-time mentoring or coaching that can add rewarding options. It is important, of course, to be careful exploring the internet which seems to be rife with companies advertising employment for part-timers and retirees.

While healthy motivated people can supplement their retirement income, the underlying financial concerns still linger, and the best course of action must be to get advice from trusted professionals.

Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.


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