Ruth Sturkey

Ruth is our London Client Director. Her stories reflect the softer, more human side of financial planning; the unseen, emotive aspects, which are often the most appreciated and beneficial. Her stories are triggered by an event or conversation that create insightful accounts about the importance of planning.

John & Sue

I had a great lunch conversation with some clients recently, let’s call them ‘Pavlova John’ and ‘Match Point Sue’ (yes, he enjoys puddings and she enjoys tennis!).

Like a duck to water

We were talking about John’s career in property, a career he loved, and his abrupt retirement at age 58. Abrupt simply because after an agreed notice period and handover he stopped work with no reduction of hours or change of role. I asked how after 35 years of work that blunt transition felt; Sue did not hesitate in her response “he was born to retire” in other words, he took to retirement like a duck to water. Her only request was that he kept out of her way during the day!

The secret of John and Sue’s retirement success? Giving each other space and retaining their own independence and interests.

What’s the right way to retire?

The right answer will be different for everyone. Some like John just stop. Others gently taper into retirement gradually reducing hours or taking on a different role relishing the new found freedom and time to travel, play golf, retrain, take on Trustee, NED or charity roles, spend time with the grandchildren, find new pastimes, start a new business…

However, I see many people carrying on working beyond their attainment of ‘financial independence’ (or ‘enough’), procrastinating around the decision and awaiting ‘the’ moment.

The Retirement Challenge

The thought of retirement (a word I’m not a fan of but let’s go with it) can be challenging. For many it’s not about the money. It’s more a psychological and emotional battle; How will I fill my time? Without work who will I now be? How will I remain relevant? Does ceasing work mean I’m no longer of use to society? Am I now old? How do I replace my salary and live off my assets? Will I run out of money? How can I spend all day with my husband/wife/partner? Will I feel lonely? Am I about to keel over and die? All understandable concerns given most spend 30 – 40 years following a well-trodden work routine.

Opportunity costs

Don’t get me wrong, I think work and purpose is good for us. But ideally the decision to keep working should be a conscious one after considering the opportunity cost of doing so; what are you not doing that you could be doing instead (of working)?  In my experience what helps is talking about and planning for life after work.

We have experience of guiding many clients through this challenging time.  Can we help you (or someone you know)?

If so please do not hesitate to get in touch with me of any of the Paradigm Norton advice team, after all, we are here to help.  Money matters, but life matters more.

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