When it comes to winding down your career, the bright lights of life and relaxing with your feet up are practically blinding. However, for many, this isn’t necessarily a reality.
The workplace can offer many positive benefits to your wellbeing. The first of many being regular company from colleagues who you may have come to know well over the years. An absence of company is something many retirees find particularly difficult to cope with. What people often don’t realise is that retiring needn’t be thought of in absolutes.
If you ask anyone who’s retired, you’re most likely to hear about the time freed up to spend with family and friends. Something a lot of us spend most of our lives trying to find the time for.
However, it can be hard to gauge before retirement how much time out of your week can realistically be dedicated to this. Especially when other friends and family may still have many daily obligations. Finding your balance takes time, and luckily there’s an option to consider before simply hanging up work forever. And verbalising the difficulties we face in adjusting to life outside of the workplace can be incredibly hard.
With years of experience in the workplace – perhaps even in the role you’re currently in – you are an invaluable resource to your employer. A resource they likely aren’t going to want to let go of, and this presents a great opportunity for negotiating a contract that suits the stage of life you’re at.
Whether you’re ready to claim your pension – or already doing so – moving to a part-time contract could help you make more time for the people that matter to you. Enabling you to enjoy those twilight years with more financial security and freedom to spend your free time enjoying yourself. Not simply trying to catch up on chores.
Talking to your employer
Before making a final decision on retirement, your first step should be to discuss all the options with your line manager. Having an in-depth understanding of what adjustments are available to you will allow you to negotiate in good faith. Not every workplace is necessarily going to be able to facilitate a change to a part-time contract. But knowing what reduction in hours is possible is an important starting point.
An alternative to a reduction in contract is seeking employment elsewhere, potentially in a sector with hours and types of work that better suit the point of your life you’re reaching. The flexible nature of retail could mean holding onto the socialising that we all rely on for a sense of emotional wellbeing.
Another option might be part-time teaching and lecturing for those within highly skilled professional roles. Whether desk-based or manual labour, this is an opportunity to work in a role with less physical and time demands. Where your years of experience and expertise can be put to use in teaching the next generation of professionals. Passing on those skills.
Whether it’s a natural evolution of your skillset and training, or simply something you’ve always wanted to try, it is important to recognise the breadth of experience you have to offer.
Making the money work
For some, the biggest concern with retiring is whether the financials add up. Whether it’s dealing with lower pension contributions or a period out of work meaning you haven’t paid in what you’d have liked to, it can be a stressful position to find yourself in.
Aside from the obvious advice – speaking to your family or a financial advisor – part-time work may be a fantastic way to alleviate some of the financial burdens of retirement. For many, part-time work may allow a greater degree of financial stability than a pension alone. Although it may be worth calculating your tax deductions when deciding what route to take. There are lots of calculators available online that will help you to work out what you would take home at the end of the month.
Making the decision
When it comes to planning for your future, remaining realistic is crucial. Having a thorough understanding of your income and all of your outgoings cannot be avoided. So, if it’s something you normally prefer not to think about, it might be worth putting together a spreadsheet. You can then use this to work out whether the drop in income from retiring – or the combination of halving your contract and claiming your pension – is something that you’re comfortable living on.
However, the most important factor to consider is how you’ll feel about either decision. Choosing to leave work after a lifetime of comforting familiarity can be a daunting thing to consider. But so can missing out on all life has to offer in retirement. Striking a balance between the two might be the perfect solution.