This post is referring to a news article from Straits Times titled “A well-planned retirement can be meaningful and enjoyable!" Refer here.
Indeed a retirement if well planned out, can be a meaningful and enjoyable one, and I am in agreement to it. However as I delved deeper into the article, I realized that the writer’s article, in my humble opinion only half right.
The writer said "... on the contrary, retirement is the best time to engage in enjoyable, meaningful and fulfilling pursuits that are not possible when we are busy with our careers and more pressing priorities."
Why wait until that day. Why NOT do it now?
Should we really need to wait until the day of retirement, then we start engaging in our enjoyable, meaningful and fulfilling pursuits?
How about doing “that thing you love NOW” instead of waiting until the day you retire.
This is one thing perhaps we should never procrastinate!
Honestly, it is not as if I am asking you to do "that thingy you do during retirement” immediately for many hours a day. Instead, we can begin with doing “it” ½ hour a day, then 1 hour, then 2 hours and gradually increasing it over time.
So easy meh? We are so busy in Singapore!
Ok, common answer! Yes, we are remarkably busy people in Singapore. Work, family, kids, expenses… where got time to do anything we like, even for ½ to 1 hour a day? Or whine that you are born poor or not as lucky compare to the rest who are earning more and yet have more time?
Really unlucky? Really impossible to find time? How about take a good look into the mirror or review your life over the past years?
With great humility, perhaps I am a living example of not born rich, extremely busy in work over the years often traveling, and having a big family and huge expenses. If that is not all, I am in O&G sector where retrenchment is widespread now and almost everyone is unhappy and stressful. Despite all that, I still manage to find time to as frequent as possible, to do the things I like. Furthermore to also spend time with friends and relatives as and when possible, while not neglecting the family.
The answer is simply : Good management!
If you cannot manage well, read or learn from people who can do it better than you! Remember the only obstacle stopping you from progressing is “YOURSELF”
Finding what you love to do?
Most people who strive for financial freedom will proclaim "if only I have x amount of money in y years, then I can do this or do that?"
Honestly if you have not tried doing "that thing you love" NOW and subsequently doing it regularly for a prolong period of time, how confident are you to say that it is definitely the right thing you want to do for the rest of your life when you retire!
If you have not find what you love doing now, it is ok. Just keep searching, and do not procrastinate! Oftentimes and unknowingly, you may somehow already been doing what you love for a long time now. Just have to identify it!
Immediate transition during the day of retirement... Really?
Remember it is difficult for us to work work work, save save save or invest invest invest or even worst, stinge stinge stinge for 10/20/30/40 years, then on the day we are finally financially free, we say yes "today is the day I can finally do that meaningful thing that I had been pursuing for all my life!"
Maybe when the big day comes, the feeling is just not what you think that is so special?
It needs to be cultivated
It is just like in many movies, your beloved Princess or Prince Charming that you been dreaming and working so hard pursuing all day and night, one day become a reality and be with you. Counter-intuitively, once you are together, the feeling may not be that “special” anymore. Instead the average girl next-door who always been by your side for years, you may later realize is the one you truly love!
Passion or Interest, just like love or relationship has to be cultivated. You cannot just fall in love in doing something overnight.
Things change over time... do not be so sure!
People change over time. Likewise our interest /love can change over time too! Imagine the day when you retire, what you plan 10 to 30 years ago may no longer be the things you truly love anymore.
The sudden transition from "not doing something" to suddenly "doing something" and expect it to turn out perfect often has outcome that is otherwise.
My due respect and congrats to those who already started planning for your retirement early (me included)! Like what the Straits Times writer mentioned, I am sure it can be meaningful when our big retirement day arrives.
Perhaps to make our retirement even more meaningful, other than planning our finances, we can also:
- start thinking seriously what we really want to do when we retire, NOW!
- and if you do not know yet, please expose yourself more to people or things around you and constantly search for it!
- if you already know what you want to do, then please start spending time NOW doing it.
- It can be just few hours a week. The essence is to do what you love doing and to sustain it for a long time until the day you retire, and can fully accelerate that process.
Otherwise for all the effort and painstaking time you plan for the “big retirement day” to arrive, who knows….maybe that big day will never come?
This is just like what another blogger SMOL said for the cases of Dennis Ng, Curtis, and Michael planned to leave us so soon...
Furthermore, this generation of Singaporean does have an edge over the past generation to have a more meaningful retirement. This is because Singapore has emerged from a developing to a developed country and without question, we are better off today than in the past, at least from a financial point of view.
If you cannot turn back the clock, it is ok. Just relate this message to the next generation or people you care deeply about around you.