When is the right time to retire?

When is the right time to retire? Well, asking Mark Webber who retired from Formula One at the weekend would suggest at only 37. The same weekend, I watched the deeply disturbing yet beautifully written “Philomena” starring Judi Dench, who is turns 79 in a few days time, more than twice Mark Webber’s age. Both are “global stars” and have the raw natural talent for their chosen professions. They are of course completely different, perhaps as different as chalk and cheese, but what is evident is that both have a deep passion and love for their work. Both involve taking risks, Mark’s rather more obviously, but ask any actor a few questions and its pretty evident that the action of “putting yourself in the role” and being on public display is no small feat and requires considerable courage.

How about living the life you love?philomena

So retirement will mean rather different things depending on your chosen career/profession. For some it’s a lifetime choice (I’m thinking of the nuns in the film) for most of us, gradually we reach a point when it simply isn’t possible to continue at the same level, or at all. Those in the world of sport generally have very short careers, though in truth this is perhaps a sweeping generalisation, there are many that become coaches, managers, trainers, pundits or even dancers ….well they appear and occasionally win on Strictly Come Dancing. I’m reminded too of the anniversary of Dr Who (which I didn’t see) but understand that the Timelord himself got rather caught up with himself or himselves. Anyhow, my point being that retiring at 65 or State retirement age, should not be the default option. Why would you permit the economics of the State purse to determine when you stop doing the thing you love? OK I can recognise that for many, sadly, they don’t enjoy their work, but if you can break out of that into a vocation that you love, then why would you not do that for as long as you want?

Questions for financial planning week

This week is financial planning week, which I support. However invariably the majority of questions from the media are always about financial products – when can I retire? Meaning how big does my pension need to be? This is of course an aspect of financial planning, but it rather misses the point. The purpose of financial planning is to figure out what life you want, what the future might look like and how you might change it. Essentially you get to be your own Timelord… you get to decide when you pull into the pits and take the chequered flag. You get to decide what story is written and how you handle the present, past and the future. You are not following anyone else’s script, you are making it up. Financial planning is not about telling you your future, like some sort of fortune teller, but of helping you to decide what you want in it and how it could look. There are choices.

Write your own story

Thank you for reading my blog, may I suggest you have a look at the wonderful film Philomena. It is a story about one woman’s decision not to accept the story of her life as told by others. Judi Dench stars alongside Steve Coogan and both are excellent. Here’s the trailer (below)…. perhaps you will be “one in a million” and be inspired… oh and for the record Steve Coogan wrote the screenplay for Philomena.

Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA