60 Years Old… Ready, Get Set… Retire?

Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin

To retire or not to retire, that is the question

Some business consultants and trainers of Business Coach, Inc. are over 60 years old. Whenever, they are asked if they are ready to retire, they will laugh and say “Of course not. Malakas pa kami sa kalabaw (We’re stronger than carabaos).”

I have met a lot who are in top level or management positions and whenever someone brings up the topic on retirement, they often shudder. Just the mere mention of the word makes their mood shift to ‘down’.

They have acquired many skills and accumulated much knowledge, and are equipped with sufficient work training, yet those nearing their 60 years of age feel more than agitated about the mere thought of retirement. This is because of the belief that being 60 years of age means being “old and tired”. However, this confuses me. How can they be tired of doing what they can do best?

In other countries, they do not discriminate by virtue of age. When my wife and I went to Hong Kong, we were surprised that the hotel concierge staff who welcomed us was a senior citizen. We were even more astonished when we went to a McDonald’s restaurant because the service crew and the cashiers were around 60 years or older. Not only that, my wife has a 67 years old aunt in Canada who works as a banquet staff in a hotel.

Here in the Philippines is a different story. The lolos and the lolas just have to retire, simply because they have to. The law mandates or allows it.

Most anticipate retirement negatively. If only they can postpone it, they would. However, as this is inevitable, the only thing to do is to plan. Retirement will only be pleasant if you are prepared emotionally and financially.

• Prepare early, if possible at least 10 years before retirement. Retirement represents a great change in your life. If you are unprepared, this will weigh you down emotionally, physically, and financially.

• Approach retirement with a positive attitude. Remember, retirement will allow you to be free from your strict routine. You will have plenty of time to read. You may have more time to visit your family and friends. Relax and simply enjoy life.

• Be strict with your finances. You need to save for the future. Track your expenses, and make sure you buy only what you need. It would also help if you pay all your outstanding loans so they will not burden you in the future.

• Keep yourself healthy. You would not want to spend your retirement money paying your hospital bills. Restructure your lifestyle and have regular checkups. You need not enrol in an expensive gym if it will not fit in your budget. Brisk walking, gardening, dancing, and doing household chores can help you lose calories at no cost.

• Get a health plan. Medical treatment is expensive and you must have a plan to cope with its escalating costs. Look around for a reliable and affordable health management company.

• Choose a hobby. However, when pursuing a hobby, make sure that it is not too costly. There are certain hobbies that can even help you earn money. You may learn how to bake a cake, maintain income generating blogs, breed dogs, or grow fruit bearing trees.

• Do volunteer works. You may participate in any neighborhood or church program. Remember, this is the time to give back to the community. Reach out to the less fortunate.

• Seek a part-time job. This will not only help you with your finances, but also help you keep in touch with the industry and keep your skills up-to-date. You may also apply as a consultant or trainer.

• Start your own business. After retirement would be the perfect time to start your own business. Perhaps, your kids have already finished college. You may have just received your retirement pay, and if you feel you are not yet ready to retire, then choose to start a business. Just, remember to invest your money wisely.

• Follow your passion. Now is the best time to pursue what you really would love to do. If you like music it is never too late to start. George Yang, the tycoon who built Mc Donald’s here, discovered his talent for classical singing at a late age. He became so skilled in his craft that he was able to stage several successful concerts.

There are an infinite number of ways to make great use of your golden years. With lesser obligations and more time you now have the freedom and wisdom to seize opportunities previously beyond reach. Instead of withdrawing from the world you can immerse yourself in a wider spectrum of activities.

In our company, I have found out that working with people over 60 years of age has been very fruitful. Their vast experience and knowledge make them excellent mentors and trainers. Indeed, I would agree that “kalabaw lang ang tumatanda (only carabaos age).” They may have retired from their job, but not from their lives.

(All rights reserved. Copyright by Manila Bulletin and Ruben P. Anlacan, Jr. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

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