What the Heck is Retirement Anyway

What the heck is retirement anyway? I have heard people apologising for not retiring, asking me when I’m going to retire etc and it really has got me curious about what it does mean. The dictionary definition is this:-


“The action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work”

“The period of one’s life after retiring from work”


Ceasing to work? What does that mean now? I know my sister-in-law who retired from teaching some years ago does work with U3A and with her local Church. I have no idea whether she’s paid or not but does it not count as work because she’s not getting paid? Older people are volunteering all over the place .. it’s hugely valuable work .. does that not count? Others are looking after their grandchildren .. does that not count either? I am a business owner at 73, there are many people like me who absolutely love what they do so they keep doing it. Look at Sir David Attenborough, still working in his 90’s and there are actors like Dame Judi Dench and Dame Helen Mirren. In the Times this weekend there was the story of a 102 year old woman still working as a doctor.


And no judgement here either .. whereas you can be accused of racism and sexism, ageist language still proliferates and there is no law to stop it .. maybe one day!


I actually believe retirement is a misnomer in 2023 as the old way of working for 40 years and taking a pension so you could live comfortably for the rest of your life is disappearing. Many of us have the health to continue working and then we discover that our pensions are not going to be what we hoped. I definitely had my head in the sand about it all. And when the reality arrived  that  I would be living on £1500 .. an annual amount of £18000 .. not a lot in this day and age. That’s the combination of my State and NHS Pension. The minimum wage is currently £19,760. So with both my pensions I have less than the minimum wage .. not much reward for 40 years of hard work I think you will agree. Comfortable is thought to be £37000 so I would have been way off that!


Most people aren’t saving enough .. do you even know what your pension pot is predicted to be?


So I started a network marketing business to give me an extra income stream so that I could live the life I want to live. I can work it round the life I am busy designing but working after retirement has given me so much more than money:-


  • A purpose, a reason to get up in the morning. Mine is a legacy business that I can leave to my daughter. The bigger I build it, the more security I can leave her. But it’s more than that, it’s about all the women I am helping every day
  • Community: isolation in old age is a killer. I’m part of a positive, supportive community that keep me young!
  • Learning about health and wellbeing so that I have been able to make the lifestyle changes I have needed to make to keep me healthy as I age
  • Using my brain on a daily basis to plan. To learn, to train, mentor and educate
  • Having fun and recognition


There’s a great book called Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. It’s all about the very old people who live to well over 100 in the island of Okinawa. The people of this island do not have a word for retirement at all, they only have the word “ikigai,” their belief being that everyone has an ikigai, a reason to jump out of bed every morning.



I’m not going to go into this in any detail now, all I would say is read it.


My call to action to anyone reading this is don’t settle for the normal, if you’re in the corporate world or the public sector, by all means get your pension when you can and get out. Remember I am an NHS refugee, making my escape 8 years before my pension would have matured so there were consequences but, boy, I am glad I did. It was the best decision; deciding not to settle for what I thought was the only route.


Look at what’s around for you and if you want to chat to me about my experiences please do .. I’d love to talk to you



Network She Diamond Member Ann Girling – The Unlikely Guru – https://www.unlikelyguru.uk/

Share this...
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *