Why you should never retire
Some people dream of the day they can give up their day job and devote all their time to other pastimes, such as socialising or golf.
Not me, though.
I will never retire. At least, not while I still have energy and drive.
I believe that work gives us purpose and that purpose is vital to a happy life. I love working and always have. I loved the single-minded journey to growing each of my businesses, and I also love the wonderful variety in my career today.
I recently watched a speech by the great Warren Buffet where he talks about a woman named Rose Blumkin, the founder of Nebraska Furniture Mart. Rose started her business with just $2,500 in 1937. Berkshire Hathaway bought the business for $60m in 1983. She continued to work in the business until she was 103. I am so inspired by this!
Sadly, she died the year after she retired. And Rose isn’t unusual. Many studies show that mortality rates tend to spike soon after retirement. Weirdly, the earlier you retire, the less likely you are to live a long life .
The truth is that many people slow down when they retire. Despite their best intentions, they may lead more sedentary lives, spend more time alone, drink more alcohol or eat less healthily. These are all sweeping generalisations but it’s not hard for bad habits to take root when you don’t have to be up and working every day.
I feel energised when I’m out there, meeting customers and colleagues every day. The conversations stimulate my mind and it’s invigorating to live in a world where I can effect change and where my ideas come to life. I get a real thrill out of creating employment and helping my customers. It’s the best feeling in the world.
I know I’m very lucky to love my work. Some people are deeply unhappy in their careers, so retirement must seem like paradise. If that sounds like you, I would say this: life is short. If you’re not happy, find a way to get out and do something else.
My wife, Mandy, supports my desire to stave off retirement as long as possible. She wants us to have holidays together, but knows I’ll be much happier working. And she probably doesn’t want me getting under her feet all day at home!
I know that my career will evolve over the coming years. BigChange has a brilliant CEO so I am not responsible for the day-to-day operations any more. I’ve moved into a more strategic, consultative role – and I love it. I have also started to draw on my experience as an entrepreneur to guide other business owners. Helping them to reach their goals gives me a real kick – perhaps, 60 to 100 will be my “guidance years”.
I’ve heard of FIRE (financial independence, retire early). I’d like to start a different movement: WERN (work enjoyment, retire never). I’m a great believer in enjoying the life we are living right now, rather than hankering after retirement. If you’re desperate to retire, what changes could you make to improve your working life today?