Mr Tan knew that, after running his own business for 25 years, at some point in the future he would be retiring.
But, as with many of us, it wasn’t something he wanted to think about. He was used to the routine of working, the camaraderie of his employees and customers, and the perks and fringe benefits.
Thanks to his healthy CPF account balance, savings and investments, he was prepared financially. But emotionally? Well, not so much.
The physical and mental effects of retirement have to be deeply considered. We’ve probably all heard of people who retire, become sedentary and go downhill fast.
What we do (or don’t do) in our retirement years can help keep our minds and bodies active, and maintain our well-being by giving us a sense of purpose, validation and re-enforcement of our self-worth; alternatively, it can cause us to rapidly deteriorate. In other words, “use it or lose it”.
By the way, Mr Tan decided to apply what he learned in his years of running a business by teaching an on-line course in management skills.
Here’s some SilverStreak tips on working in our retirement years:
- After you give back your keys and walk out of your office for the last time, don’t rush into anything. What you think you may want to do next may not be what you really want to do.
- Think about what you are good at and what you enjoy doing (usually it’s the same thing).
- Look at your network and spread the word about what you’re interested in – your contacts also have contacts. Make use of LinkedIn.
- Take courses to upgrade your skills, and learn new things that will allow you to reinforce and leverage your interests and strengths. You may even make valuable contacts in the process. Again, in Singapore we have myriad choices for courses — many heavy subsidised for silvers. Check out https://www.myskillsfuture.gov.sg
- You will probably be working with people who are much younger than you. This can be challenging not only because they can be on a totally different wavelength mentally and emotionally, but because they may not know exactly how to deal with you. Sometimes you will be older than their parents, which causes some awkwardness. Be prepared.
- Retirement can be a meandering road with dead-ends and stop signs along the way. Figuring out what you want to do — and can do — may take time. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but if something doesn’t meet your criteria — be it part-time work, projects, or whatever — try something else.
Remember, these aren’t called our “golden years” for nothing. This is the time to enjoy life. So, make sure that, whatever you do, it’s something you take pleasure in.