Thinking about retirement?

Why David Legge joined us?

Will you be bored or happy and how do you plan for it, other than financially?

Many people have a goal to retire early. Young people tend to see retirement as not having to work; which must be good. As we get closer to the traditional retirement age the concept of retirement is not good for everyone. For a lot of us work is a very enjoyable activity. It satisfies the mental, social and physical demands and as we get older it can get easier and less stressful.

Active people thinking about retirement can be concerned about becoming bored. How many times do we hear it? “If you stop working you will go downhill.” “Keep your mind active or you will get dementia”; “they were fit and healthy until they stopped working”.

My experience is that some of the commonly suggested retirement activities sound good but they have limitations. I retired at age 45 and found it was not such a good idea. I struggled to keep myself occupied in a satisfying way. I went back to full time work.
Now I am working toward retirement again. But this time I have a clearer idea of what I want. My recent experience working with Social Venture Partners has given me the final piece of the puzzle.

The recommended activities that usually come up for retirement are travel, sport, exercise, hobbies, garden, cooking etc. These things can be great but are not necessarily satisfying for all of us. The addition of some volunteer work can make the difference. For me, the time I spend working with NFP SVPM supports, gives me the positive experiences of “work” without the negatives. The real positive about the idea of “retirement” is that it is a time where you can have the freedom to reset. The notion of retirement is not to retire from life or “work” but to be released from the obligation to spend the majority of your waking hours occupied with one activity or with accumulating money to ensure your financial security. A change can be very invigorating.

Why is volunteering with not for profit organisations a good idea?

One great benefit of volunteering is that NFP’s organisations is that they involve passionate, enthusiastic people. These people are doing something because they want to do it, because they believe in it and they love going to work each day. A bit of this enthusiasm does rub off!

A lot of our volunteer work is problem solving which is mentally stimulating. Voluntary work can be good for your health. A growing literature shows that doing voluntary work not only helps the wider community but can also improve one’s own well-being. There is some truth to the idea that philanthropy is selfish. Giving to others definitely gives most of us a good feeling. It is a good way to stay connected to the outside world.

The greatest issue can be finding the right organisation to work with. The benefit of connecting with an organisation like Social Venture Partners is that it allows us to try out working with a variety of NFP’s without necessarily making a long-term commitment. Our volunteering is mainly as consultants. It can be done online and is not necessarily time consuming. It is project based so is very flexible and fits into my schedule.

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