One Year in Retirement:And 25 Short Stories

Put just £40 a week aside to enjoy a happy retirement
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No wonder people dread the R-word.

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The issues people wrestle with when they retire are about changing, not ageing, and about negotiating one of the biggest transitions we face in life. It sees retirement as a time to harvest previous life experiences and skills. Ageist stereotypes about what people are capable of in retirement can make it harder to get a job in your 50s and beyond, be it part-time, paid or unpaid.

And ageism is catching; it eats into self-esteem. No wonder people approaching retirement go into denial until the reality hits them head-on. Many have more vim and vigour than their parents did at the same age and can expect to live longer — on average into their late 80s. Looking back on how much your life changed between 25 and 60 is just one indication of how many possibilities could lie ahead.

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These days, retirement involves some work for more than 1. But while pensions may be more complex since the reforms, keep in mind that financial planning should be just one part of a much bigger retirement jigsaw.

In fact, many people achieve much more when they retire than they ever did at work, pursuing activities — through learning, politics, volunteering, mentoring — that resonate with deeply held convictions, and picking up old interests they gave up reluctantly. One former policeman told me that his achievements at work were nothing compared with the satisfaction of smashing his drum exam.

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For instance, equities, though risky, give higher returns than other assets-gold, debt and real estate-in the long run. The secret is curiosity. The idea is to keep it simple. The NPS is a government-initiated retirement scheme. Travel is a big reason many aim to retire as early as they do. How to select a retirement plan There's more.

One of the most precious things about retirement is the opportunity to work out genuine priorities, and to be true to yourself. This may involve taking a second look at what we value when being paid is out of the equation. It may involve an exploration of the spiritual side of life. In fact, health and wellbeing often increase, according to the Office for National Statistics, while depression and anxiety often fall.

Yet the fear of losing your edge without the daily stimulus and social connections of work is all too common.

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Anyone with few outside interests is vulnerable, although individual reactions are unpredictable. It sounds surprising, but workaholics often love retirement as much as they loved their jobs. When you take away that to- 80 hour-a-week commitment, it opens up the opportunity to regain that childlike state and explore new opportunities. They did so for about 10 years, by making drastic cuts to their spending. They also factored in anticipated expenses such as their now five-month-old son and his college fund. Today, the Jacobsons live in places like Thailand, Mexico and Taiwan, where Winnie, 33, is from, and they spend the majority of the year travelling, renting houses and apartments as they go.

For the Long Haul

When their son is old enough, they plan to home school him and continue travelling. Since retiring in September, year-old Brenton Hayden has idled his time watching American football and having leisurely lunches with his wife. As the former chief executive of Renters Warehouse, an online property-management company, he said he could have retired by 27, which was his original goal. Instead, he stuck it out a few more years to save up more money.

View image of Since retiring, year-old Brenton Hayden has idled his time. The key, he said, is to reverse-engineer your life and persevere. When he drafted a retirement plan 10 years ago, he was living out of his car after getting fired twice in six months.

'Life keeps evolving': six ways to have a happy retirement

At that point, he calculated how much money he wanted to have when he retired and then began looking for jobs in industries that would pay him well, allowing him to save quickly. To get there, you are going to have challenges.

What will he do in retirement? Longer term, Hayden dreams of buying a home in Italy and living there part-time with his family, whilst travelling to other places in Europe. Travel is a big reason many aim to retire as early as they do. The Kaderlis live entirely on the road be it in a caravan or rental apartments in far-flung places. Back when Billy Kaderli worked as a stockbroker in Aptos, California, and Akaisha Kaderli held a job as an executive secretary, the couple also ran a French-Californian fusion restaurant.