Retirement? You ain’t see nothing yet…
Thinking of retiring? Good for you – especially if you are one of the increasingly small group of salary-men with a nice fat company pension, or a civil servant (much the same thing). For all of us, the nature of retirement has changed, and will continue to change, as we live longer – and very different – lives to those of our parents. That’s the theme of four apparently unrelated events that have taken placed over the past few weeks, which I have attempted to weave skilfully and seamlessly into one meaningful article.
The first is a think-piece called ‘Retirement in Flux’, published by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK). This argues – as have others before - that retirement should be a process, not an event, and that older people should expect to work longer and draw upon property wealth to help fund care costs. Pointing out that the concept of work and retirement as we have known them is no longer economically and socially sustainable, David Sinclair of ILC-UK states that: “We need to abandon the idea that people make contributions in their working life in return for support in retirement.”
Meanwhile, a new social enterprise has been launched to help men adjust to life after retirement. Called the After Work Club, this has been launched by that impressive social entrepreneur, Deborah Szebeko. The thinking seems to be that many men, especially professionals, are unprepared for life after full-time employment. In fact, so burned out are these professionals that they apparently need the help of an organisation founded and run entirely by young women…
Two ladies who seem to have made the most of their retirement are Betty Smith (90) and Beryl Renwick (86), who recently won a Sony Gold Award for their BBC Radio Humberside Show. Having won against Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio and Adam and Joe on 6 Music, this is no mean feat.
Meanwhile, Age UK have launched their own radio station, The Wireless. We do not yet know whether Age UK have plans to poach Betty and Beryl – watch this space. However, it seems that older radio DJs and presenters are not that uncommon: the star presenter of The Wireless is David Hamilton, a youthful 73, while Tony Blackburn (69), Bob Harris (66) and Terry Wogan (71) continue to be on top of their game on Radio 2. David Jacobs, presenting until very recently, is one of a number of presenters working well into their 80s.
As the UK’s population continues to age, perhaps ageism - like the statutory retirement age and final salary pensions - will become a thing of the past, as many more older people continue to do what they’re good at well into their later life. Cue the favourite track of Harry Enfield’s legendary DJ creations, Smashy and Nicey – you ain’t seen nothing yet.