Chris Moerdyk

Retirement is an impossible dream

2012-11-26 07:27

Chris Moerdyk

Retirement, I am told, takes immense courage and considerable willpower. Compared with retirement, running a giant multi-national conglomeration is chicken-feed.

First of all, it means not going into an office every morning but rather staying at home with your spouse.

The first time your courage will be tested will be on the very first morning when you discover that the passionate goodbye kiss you got every day was not actually a sign of endearment or sadness that you would be away from home for about 10 hours, but rather a sigh of affectionate relief that you would be out for your spouse's hair for a glorious 10 hours and that everything from the TV remote to what time to have tea in the morning would not be the cause of a major interpersonal conflict.

It is a proven fact, or rather, it should be a proven fact, that after only a few months of retirement, most people try to find job again. Or just get drunk.

Lifestyle changes

The next great epiphany experienced by retirees is that pension funds aren't actually enough to keep up the lifestyle to which they were accustomed. Basically for two reasons:

1. That you didn't factor in the number of office perks you had that allowed to you live the life of Riley. Perks such as car, company petrol, air miles. Ah yes, air miles.  Gained on company business and used for personal holidays. Nothing wrong with that and all perfectly legal, but the practice does tend to lull one into a sense of well-being in terms of being able to take an exotic holiday overseas every year.

Retirement for the masses is holiday castration.

2. You realise that the insurance company, with whom you placed your pension contributions and who kept telling you that you would just investing a few Rands, be able to retire in the style of Richard Branson the day you turned 60, was lying.

What they didn’t tell you was that if the stock market was looking healthy on the day you retired you would have a bit of money on which to retire gracefully. However, if the stock market happened to be down on the day you retired, you would not be able to retire gracefully but just be extremely pissed off and would have to find another job just to pay for bread and milk.

The next great epiphany you will experience is that if you had taken all that money you had ploughed into an insurance company's retirement annuity or other such pension policy and rather just bought their shares on the stock market you would have ended up with 10 times more money.

Don't tell people

So now, having discerned that your wife actually didn't miss you a damn while you were at the office and that your good buddy the insurance broker turned out to be a sneaky bastard Judas, what else is there in retirement that will kick you in the testicles before the end of your first  month?

Well, perhaps you made the great mistake of telling people you were going to retire.

This is one of the dumbest things a retiree can do if indeed said retiree just wants some peace and quiet and to be able to fiddle about in his little workshop or her pottery studio, happily whiling away the hours between blissful sleep, late breakfasts,  unhurried lunches and drinks time.

If you tell people you are retiring they will think: "Aha, he's got nothing to do and he is cheap" and they will entice you back into working harder than you did when you had a proper job for half the money. And you can't really say no because you will keep thinking that the work will be easy and the money easier.

To make it worse, your spouse will really  hate you now because not only are you not leaving home for 10 hours, you are actually staying at home but unavailable for 10 hours to mow the lawn, pick up dog poo, fix the tap and go shopping for Aunt Ethel's 90th birthday present.

So, before you retire, think about it.

- Follow Chris on Twitter.

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