Retire a little today

Pensions have been in the news for some years now, with issues including the state of pension funds, the increase in life expectancy and the need many will face to work beyond the age of 65 regularly reported.  We are constantly being urged to financially plan for our retirement. Financial security is important of course, but it certainly isn’t the only type of planning people should consider when thinking about retirement.

An equally important issue for everyone is what are you going to do with your retirement?  For people whose career or job has filled their entire adult life it is a crucial question that should not be left until the day of retirement.
Think for a minute – If your main expenditure of energy, your main source of interest and vitality, and potentially even your sense of self worth are all related to your job, then the day you retire all that will be gone.  It’s no wonder that depression is a common occurrence for people at that stage in their lives.

How to avoid it? Well the first thing is to avoid the common traps. As a balance to years of stressful living, people dream of retirement to the country or abroad to the sun.  For many they get there and are bored within a month.  They successfully envisioned where they want to be but not what they wanted to do when they got there. They thought of retirement as a holiday – yet if they had thought about it, they’d have realised they were also bored after two weeks of holiday!

Even for people who are full of ideas about what to do with their new found time there can be a problem.  They retire and suddenly find they haven’t the energy, will, real desire or ability to take up all those things they thought about.  The reasons for this are more subtle, and related to the fact that we programme ourselves by what we do, and what we do over many years becomes a strongly ingrained habit.  It’s a bit like the story of many millionaires who set out to make their fortune, thinking that when they’ve made it, they’ll give up work and lead the life they really wanted. They make their millions and then discover they don’t want to stop. They’ve become addicted to their work and their dream of what they would do once they had 'made it' has faded.

So if you want to enjoy your retirement to its full, don’t get hung up purely on questions of money or where you want to live, devote time to thinking about the things you will enjoy and begin programming yourself to enjoy them by starting now.  In other words, don’t leave retirement until you retire – start now by retiring a little today.


To contact Nick Woodeson, please email him at