26 Mar The Myth of Retirement
Jack and Jill were in their mid fifties and approaching retirement. They were debt free with a bit put away so they agreed to pull up stumps at age 60. They couldn’t wait.
Jack had his own panel beating shop and legend has it that even as an apprentice he could do the work of ten men. He never took a sick day in forty two years either. Not surprisingly, by the time the sun began to set on a very tough career, his hands were just large lumps of arthritis. Even office work hurt.
Jill was a high school maths teacher who never wanted to do anything else but teach. However, when the mortgage was paid off she began working part-time. She was tired of dealing with kids that didn’t care and parents who thought they knew more than she did. Teaching wasn’t what it used to be.
Understandably, Jack and Jill’s retirement couldn’t come fast enough. Jack always joked that Jill would retire the day before him to organise his welcome home party! It was his favourite joke. Truth is, it was the other way around. Jill was Jack’s world and they looked forward to spending more time together.
Unfortunately retirement didn’t unfold the way Jack and Jill expected. They assumed retirement planning meant having their finances sorted and being well invested. What a shock they got! Their retirement began putting their marriage under pressure. What the hell was going on?
As soon as Jack sold his business he got his hands fixed. He got some new plastic knuckles, his fingers straightened and felt like a new man free of pain. He was ready to conquer the world, or at least travel it.
Jill on the other hand was very settled into a routine of her own. She looked after the grand kids on Monday’s and Tuesday’s, played bridge with her friends on Wednesday’s, attended a gardening club on Thursday’s, did a bit of charity work on Friday’s and somehow found time to tutor high school kids just to keep her mind active. She was loving life.
So what was the problem?
Dam Jack was the problem.
Apart from getting his hands fixed and playing a bit of golf his life had no purpose. He began to irritate Jill because he was always hanging around the house. He wanted to travel but she wanted to stay home because she was already settled into her own activities. He started to put on weight and was always nagging and whinging about something. Jack never whinged and it was driving Jill mad.
But it all came to a head when Jill noticed he began spending more money than they planned because he was bored. Jack had always been careful with their money and she was very worried.
Jack and Jill had a heart to heart and she told him how unhappy she was in their marriage. Jack was shocked. Truth is, he was very unhappy too because he realised that when he sold the business a large part of his social network went with it. In a weird way, he missed some of the stress too.
Jill was determined to help Jack find his purpose again. Eventually Jack realised he now had an opportunity to fulfill a dream. When Jack left school he wanted to become a carpenter because wood work was his favourite subject. Unfortunately he couldn’t get a start and decided panel beating was the next best thing.
He also decided to join the local ‘Men’s Shed’ and found a group of guys with similar interests. He also started a mentoring group to teach young tradesmen how to start and run their own business. His was primed and pumped again.
Three months later Jill was nagging Jack because he was never home!
So what’s the moral of the story? When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot. Make sure your retirement has a purpose!