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Goodbye retirement, hello rewirement

“I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.” – Francis Bacon

In years gone by, people used to work, regardless of their age, until they no longer physically could. In 1916 the German authorities decided that 65 would be the age when Government retirement benefits would kick in for its citizens, according to time.com. Other countries soon followed in Germany’s footsteps and the retirement age of 65 has been contested ever since.

The problem today is that governments can’t sustain their growing ageing populations with pension payouts for so long. The ability to grow older and live longer also means that most people will need a lot more money to cover their retirement and medical costs. Today, many countries are gradually increasing their retirement age. Dutch citizens retire at 68 and Denmark is aiming for a retirement age of 72 by the year 2035.

Sixty-five is no longer viewed as the onset of old age but rather the start of middle age. Depending on your health, you might consider to postponing your retirement or to view it, not as a slowing down, but as an opportunity to “rewire” yourself. Working longer means more time to save and grow your retirement investments and reap the benefits of compound interest. Ironically, studies also show that people who work longer, live longer and have healthier lives.

The future of retirement is rewirement


How can you rewire yourself during retirement? Rosabeth Kanter, professor of business at Harvard Business School, says the first step is to eliminate the term “retirement” by inventing a new stage of life: the new career arc. Many also refer to this as the second career. Here are some examples:

The future of retirement is rewirement

  • Work for your company on a contract basis.
  • Become a consultant in your field.
  • Train and mentor workers. Experience never gets old.
  • Retired teachers can offer learners extra classes. Many professors continue teaching or accompany students on field trips because they have so much knowledge to share.
  • Work part time and from home, for example a language practitioner can edit texts and a tax consultant can still help people submit their returns.
  • Turn your hobby into a business. Sell your homemade goat’s milk cheese at the Neighbourgoods Market or teach children art classes.

Volunteer your time and skills

  • Work at a soup kitchen or feeding scheme.
  • Organisations like the SPCA require dog walking volunteers and people who can play with the animals at their shelters.
  • Teach kids and adults how to grow their own vegetables organically.
  • Become a tour guide.
  • Start an adult literacy programme or become involved with a reading project.

Don’t let boredom get the better of you:

  • Learn a new language. Parles vous Français? Doing this at 60 years or above slows down mental ageing.
  • Take a class and learn something new: Karate or art lessons, anyone?
  • Go back to the books. Enrol at university or do an online course. Have you always dreamt of getting a degree in philosophy or applied mathematics, or how about completing a course in eco-management and sustainable living?
  • You’ve always wanted to write that novel. Or research your family history.
  • You are going to live to be hundred, right? It’s never too late to learn how to become an award-winning photographer or Pinterest boffin.

Age is but a number and you are only as old as you heart feels. Perhaps we should follow in the Japanese tradition where a person’s sixtieth birthday, Kanreki, is viewed as an important rebirth. This rebirth signifies the completion of a life cycle. It is a celebratory and symbolic return to childhood that encourages you to play and explore. The person who reaches Kanreki, rekindles his or her adventurous spirit and grabs the second chance to do everything he or she has always wanted to do but never had the time for. What are you waiting for?

In case you missed it

Find all our latest and previous newsletters, all under one, easy-to-find space, for your convenience.

Retirement Funds Trustee Newsletter 2020

Retirement Funds Trustee Newsletter 2019

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