I am looking for general advice on making the shift from full-time working into retirement (happening at the end of January).
No advice is needed on financial options or how to make our remaining money last (there are two of us - and my wife stopped working some years ago). But more specifically on how to handle the shock of moving from working 5 days a week, to not having to do much of any great importance at all!
I have worked for 38 years in the city, and I think I am pretty lucky to be able to pick a moment of my own choosing to make this change. The move is also prompted by my hitting 60 last year, and knowing that I probably need to make the most of the remaining years ahead.
I will remain involved with my firm in a very small way by staying on one company board, but in reality I will be moving from full-on 5 days a week to maybe working 2 or 3 hours a week. It sounds lovely of course, I can listen to music a lot more, go to gigs, travel more often, take up hobbies (nothing particularly in mind right now!) etc etc.
But in the back of my mind I am wondering how I will cope with getting up on a Monday morning and not having to look at emails, attend meetings and then try to solve problems. Some mates who have made similar moves in the last couple of years have admitted they struggled a bit to begin with (in particular with being at home more often) and in some ways still struggle with filling the hours meaningfully.
Anyone else here who has made the move and can provide some sage advice? I am sure i will look back in 12 months and wonder why I ever posted this at all. It will probably all be rather lovely and wonderful. Sorry, some of you may even wonder what I am banging on about…
You raise a very valid point Badger. I, too, was in a similar position, having worked in the city for many years. I retired in 2018, then looked for contract work and ended up working full time due another 4 years, latterly 3 days a week! Having retired again October 2022, I then took on a short term contract February 2023 for 5 months, two days a week.
The point is, for me at least, moving to full retirement has been gradual. I would certainly keep the link to your company. Try to get at least 1 day a week out of it. See how you feel going forward.
The main focus, however, would be to identify and implement a new lifestyle routine. Keep fit, hobbies, travel etc. Try to get some routine established so you do not wake up on a Monday trying to figure out what you’re going to do for the rest of the week.
Legitimate concerns as everyone is different, I’m retired at 58 and don’t think I have ever missed work but did (and do) miss some aspects of work. My ex colleagues joke that all I miss were coffee and lunch breaks and to a degree that’s very true, it’s the people I miss so I try and meet them from time to time.
I do think one needs a psychological shift from where work is the be all and end all.
What is meaningful?
I now have freedom like I haven’t had since I was in my late teens early 20’s. I revel in it. Some days I can be bored but boredom is something I hadn’t time for in my working career.
It seems to be there are 2 types of reaction broadly when I tell friends I’m retired.
You lucky b@stard!
But what do you do all day?
There is sometimes a rush or impetus to fill your new found time with “something”. I’d suggest waiting a while until you see what way the huge amount of relatively stress free time affects you in the longer term.
You have many years of experience and consummate skills that you can deploy on a voluntary basis.
Consider your passions, interests and values and seek out opportunities that will provide you with fulfillment in helping small businesses, charities or community groups on a part time basis
I’ve been retired for ten years now and work a day a week (sometimes more) helping a small local business as its HSEQ manager. I have been involved with other ventures too such as parish clerk. It’s whatever turns you on.
Above all, have fun. Life is for living.
As SLB posted i missed the people. I meet up with some other retired ex colleagues for lunch every few months. One of my hobbies is music and i built up my system, still buy recordings. I think in time it will all fall into place……best wishes.
I could write a book on this…
Never, ever, ever, ever, think of retiring unless you have a something to do each day, each week, each month.
The number of people I know of that have retired and been bored within the first month. Or become spare wheels in Sainsbury’s following their wife round and just getting in the way.
Have a few projects lined up. I worked in the City and the first thing I did was a brick laying course (one of Winston Churchill’s favourite hobbies), then a sailing course at The Hague. I went up to London last week got off the train at Stratford International and walked the five miles into the City, I had to take the tube back to St Pancras but it was a great walk without the pressure of having to dash everywhere.
Keep physically active all that adrenalin from work and your body keeping back all those issues just to keep you going, once you take your foot off the gas will hit you like a freight train.
Other than that you’ll wonder why anyone goes to work - it’s a mugs game.
Remember, at least for the first year plan that day, week and month and above all enjoy it - you’ve earnt it.
I took early retirement just before my 60th birthday, nearly 8 years ago. I was very lucky in that I was a director of a well respected family business, a great company to work for. However, a very close friend, similar age, similar job, had bowel cancer diagnosed out of the blue. Eventually he made a full recovery, but it was enough for me to think life is too short. I went virtually “cold turkey”, from a busy, stressful, long hours working life to virtually nothing (that was my choice; the Company did try and persuade me to stay on part-time and effectively split my role into two).
Despite being happy in my work, I can honestly say that there has never been a single day where I’ve woken up and thought “I wish I was at work today”.
Despite Covid pinching nearly two years, we have travelled a lot, which was one of the big objectives. We now have two grandchildren, which is wonderful. I eventually got my golf handicap down to single figures, and did some volunteer work at the golf club. We joined a pop choir, and I’ve just started to learn the ukulele. We go to the gym several times a week.
I guess retirement means different things to different people. My wife and I do many things together, but also do some things separately, which I think is healthy. If I’m honest, suddenly spending so much time together did take some adjusting to!
Ironically, the friend with bowel cancer couldn’t take to retirement at all. Following his successful recovery, he was persuaded to go back to work. He’s now nearly 70 but continues to be involved in project work which takes up a good 2.5 days a week.
So, each to their own! My only advice would be, have a plan but be open to new things and have some flexibility and spontaneity.
I retired 12 days before my 65th birthday last year. I had a “low-powered” part-time job.
Like @SteveD there has not been a day when I have missed getting up at 4:00am, and wondering all day whether the A2/Dartford Crossing/idiots in general would screw up my journey home.
All I miss is the ££ and a bit of bantz with people at work. Frankly, circumstances aside, I had had enough.
Commuting was tiring, even though I have a nice, if not Ulez compliant car. I still preferred driving rather than getting on the tube: public transport was bad enough in 2010; God knows what it is like now.
I am not looking for my retirement to be full of meaningful activities blah, I am just pleased not to be obliged to anyone particularly.
My experience is atypical as it coincided with a son needing work doing on his house, so I went from paid work to unpaid, but with totally free choice of hours. I settled into a routine of getting up at about the same time every day, but later than when I was working, then a leisurely breakfast, otherwise I seem to be busy all the time.
I think it is very important to keep oneself occupied, physically and mentally. I cycle typically 5+ days a week at present, from “commuting” to my place of, erm, activity, to having a good off-road cycle once a week, weather permitting (I don’t enjoy cycling in the rain, and definitely not when icy). I have several hobbies that effectively have been dormant or nearly so for years, not having time to spend on them, which I promised myself I’d pick up upon retirement… That will happen once sons’ houses are sorted out. Because my wife stopped work at the same time, we bought a motorhome, and have taken several trips in it already, and plan to do probably one long (2-3 month) and one shorter trip every year. We’re also keeping up with other holidays, focusing on long haul destinations while we are still insurable. Other than being more relaxed, and aware that there is no compulsion to do what I do, life seems just as busy as when I was employed!
Whether any of this helps, I don’t know!
Lots of great ideas up thread. I moved to 3 day week when I hit 57, after attending funerals or seeing folk just burning out (working for a very listed global consulting firm) and that made the difference in stress levels that meant I stayed on until I was 63 rather than leaving at 60. Decision made for me with COVID driven redundancy and since then have completed my WSET Level 3 qualification which is as far as I really want to take my wine education other than drinking it and volunteering at the food bank twice a week. More opportunities for wine lunches too. It is really about finding your own equilibrium and having the interests to engage. Wine and music suit me just fine!
Another retiree on the forum. Are we the majority?
Having been retired for just over 2 years now I have settled into what I call a flexible routine. Much of this aligns with what others have said above. Many tasks eg household DIY remain the same so no change there. What has changed is what I do when I used to attend work.
My wife and I look after grandchildren one day a week - usually the same day hence routine. We also try to get out for a walk in local woods/country houses etc 2 or 3 times a week. Trying to keep physically active. I also volunteer with a local (ish) museum linked to my interest in computing and IT. This involves my meeting and interacting with members of the public and passing information to them in what is hopefully an interesting way. This also includes STEM activities with schools who visit so the age of people I’m interacting with is varied - keeps the grey cells active.
In short I find retirement in some ways to be much the same. I get up (timing has maybe changed), I do stuff during the day/evening, and retire to sleep at night. I just aim to keep each day interesting.
I do remember that someone once told me retirement is in 3 stages:
- Go-Go. One wants to get up and go do things and physically can go and do things
- Go-NoGo. One wants to get up and go do things but can physically no longer (NoGo) do them
- NoGo-NoGo. One has no inclination to get up and do things and physically cannot do them.
You just have to try and make each stage the length you want.
I’d do two things. 1. Investigate you local U3A. 2. Buy this book.
I second much of what has already been said. Mrs. G retired last March, I retired 9 years ago. For us the most important thing is to have some sort of routine. So we get up around the same time each day, have breakfast, deal with the detritus of the day (washing up, laundry, house cleaning etc) and then get about the more enjoyable aspects of the day ( hobbies, visiting, etc).
You will find that life throws curve balls at you and you have to deal with them. I decided early on that if the drains get blocked or a tree falls over in the garden, or a tap leaks and so on, I would learn to fix these problems myself rather than call in an expensive expert. I now have skills I never imagined I would have when I was at work and have saved a fortune, which we spend on more enjoyable things.
We also planned ahead of retirement to spend our winters in sunnier climes than the UK. We now winter in south Spain and have developed a second life down here. We have many friends now, of several nationalities, and go hiking 2 days a week, mountain biking 2 days a week, language exchange group on the beach 2 mornings a week…… See how the days fill up? There’s no excuse for being bored or wishing you were back at work. Just get out there and live your life.
A great retirement is there for the taking. I hope yours is wonderful for you.
I’m in the minority here…at 69, no intention of stopping paid work! Lessening hours, fine…
When I get too old to for the paid physical workout (no sitting in my job and a lot of lifting/carrying etc), my plan is volunteering - Battersea Dogs, local environmental group, NHS, whatever…something with a purpose.
Somebody said once:
“Working iron doesn’t rust”
Mug I may be, but that rings true to me.
Take 4 significant holidays per year, play tennis 4 or 5 times a week, cook interesting food, eat with friends and listen to loads of music!
You can find ways to fill the time, music, museums, reading, theater etc…
Not to sure how physically fit you are but I would recommend finding a personal trainer and working in a fitness plan. I built up a program with a trainer that I worked with for a few years and now stay active with two or three visits to the gym weekly. I also do daily walks, usually 3+ miles. Also do some stair climbing pretty much every day.
I only mention this because I have a few friends who took the serious arm chair approach in their retirement along with food and drink.
Stay active and on the move! Life is Sweet!
It’s a timely thread. I’m planning to retire in about 18 months and looking at these questions.
I can’t believe this has all happened so quickly and to me 1985 seems quite recent until I stop and think about it. It’s not of course! The last 20 years have been a blur and I feel like I’ve mislaid 10 years.
The fact that my University friends are stepping down or stepping out, school friends have started dying, commuter buddies have all stopped work or travel and my older colleagues and contemporaries at work are all moving on has reminded me daily that I need to get ready.
I’d quite like to teach, travel, volunteer, hang out with my already retired friends more, see what my hobbies are when I’m not working or ferrying children and probably will spend more time in the garden and on the house.
I did think of retiring to leisure for a bit and that really suits some people I know but I don’t think it will suit me. I had two colleagues who retired into Covid lockdown and it took them ages to find something to retire TO. They were really in a bad place for a long time.
My big sister still nags like a big sister should, is a GP and her warning was that on average post 60 you have 10 good years to do the more strenuous things on your list. Some will get more, some less, but “get on with the list before you’re too f**ked to do it” was the key phrase!
Well I had a load of good intentions upon retiring; I volunteered with a wildlife trust, first out in the woods and fields then as a trustee. I then read for a doctorate that took a few years but am only now put it to use. I also planted a wood, but don’t tend it as much as I intended. I also am a clerk to a couple of charities. But the best thing I did was get a dog.
I don’t ‘work’ in the mornings and don’t get pressured by other people.
My advice: if you have anny unfulfilled ambitions do them now.
Does anyone here do a physical job, or is it all office workers?
I’ve just turned 60, been an aircraft tech/maintainer pretty much from leaving school, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can retire at 65 ish, with a still functioning body and mind. If the country keeps shooting itself in the foot, no chance. And new or even used hifi boxes have been well off limits for many years now.
Thankfully I’ve no urge to travel the world now. I detest airports and airliners.
Cycling and photography might fill chunks of my time, but I have absolutely no problem ‘wasting’ time. I enjoy it!
Well, 2024 is here and I’m still working even though I’ll be 71 this year. The original plan was to hand over my business to my son, but I’m still here helping him keep it running.
He’s taking over but it’s also a very skilled and creative gig. So Dad is welcome with his experience.
I have to say the the help means I work about three to four days a week and it really keeps me going. It also keeps me out of the missus hair (another consideration)