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Redefining work post-midlife – Breaking the Midlife Myth

Many people in midlife begin to think about the inevitability of retirement and the changes it will bring to their busy lives. The prospect of children leaving home and a shift in their careers introduces a mix of emotions – ranging from excitement and relief to anxiety and apprehension. However, one of the most significant concerns during this phase is how retirement might impact our working lives and the income we have worked so hard to earn.

A common midlife myth is the fear that “I will never have enough money to retire,” or the assumption that “I will have to adjust my lifestyle to what my retirement assets can provide.”
People either see retirement as the end of work or are so worried that their savings will never be enough to sustain their pre-retirement lifestyles that they feel the need to keep working at the same intensity and pace.

When we discuss these concerns with clients, we challenge these myths by asking, “What would your life look like if you could continue working with more time for personal interests and possibly at a reduced income?” Client responses often reveal uncertainty – many can’t imagine how such a scenario could be possible, or if it could be implemented.

The truth of extended work – on your terms

  • Financial benefits: Extending work for five years beyond the traditional retirement age – even at 60% of your current earnings – can significantly enhance your retirement savings. Delaying the use of retirement funds leverages compound interest, potentially adding eight to fifteen years more drawings to your savings.
  • Earn a play cheque: As people embrace an extended working period, their mindsets broaden as they shift their intentions towards a different type of work – on their terms. Retirement is suddenly not an ‘all or nothing’ scenario. Many clients start exploring different ideas of work, like part-time work, charity work, mentoring or consulting. This reimagined work phase becomes a play cheque – an engaging, fulfilling pursuit rather than just a pay cheque.

When you embrace the truth that work can be reimagined and redefined in retirement, and understand the power of working extra years, it puts you firmly in the driving seat. Every year you work longer, contribute to your investments, and don’t draw from them, the longer they will last. And work becomes a purposeful activity on your terms – the ideal opportunity to leverage your hard-earned wisdom into a meaningful (and joyful) contribution.