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.

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  • mike.bundy.73 - 2012-11-26 10:52

    Thanks Chris, that's cheered me right up . . . not

  • ChasLotter - 2012-11-26 11:41

    Especially agree with the bit about policies paying out peanuts; not the large sums that were promised over the years. 27 years of paying premiums brought me a monthly pension of R1257!

  • squeegee.pilot - 2012-11-26 11:49

    Scary stuff... Especially if you are alone and have no investments. Many abandoned 'retirees' out there.

  • sharon.hamilton.737001 - 2012-11-26 11:57

    "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." The above is EXACTLY what happens with retirement funds....take heed of this fair warning. Remember that ALL the financial institutions are only interested in themselves, they want your money to speculate with, in short, you take all the risks and they make all the profit. Banks are allowed to lend your savings at a ratio of 9:1, for every R1 deposited they can lend R9, They pay you 5% interest whilst they lend at 10%, so they make a quick 5% x 9 for doing sweet F-All. They then bamboozle the uninitiated with stories of healthy returns in the stock market, they urge one to invest instead of save, what they fail to tell one is that when one invests in the "market", the investor carries ALL the risk. If the market is down at the time of redemption, sorry for you pal you get what it is now, in the meantime they have leveraged your initial investment and if they have invested wisely they will have vast returns on YOUR money annually, whilst your return is the current value of your portfolio, nice setup huh, who doesn't want to be a BANKSTER ?. NEVER EVER TRUST A FINANCIAL ADVISER OR BANKING INSTITUTION.

  • napolita.kio - 2012-11-26 12:16

    The point about buying the shares of the insurance companies instead of their "products" is the BEST ever; sadly to be ignored by those who (will) need it the most.

  • - 2012-11-26 18:04

    Well said Chris !! You are right . I have tried to "retire " once and ended up in India for 8 months working for the same company where I retired from in South Africa. Living with the same woman for >40 years is one thing but to live with her every day 365 24/7 a scary number . It is not easy for any party. Amazing how we though in our twenties . Sex every day 24/7 365 . Now , happy hour is a nap. Love your article.

  • quarty.vanzyl - 2012-11-27 08:18

    what a beauty! Welcome to the house sitters club.

  • vicky.john.1297 - 2012-11-27 10:17

    And I have 16 more paydays to go! Can hardly wait:)

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