Home African Caribbean The Joy Of Retirement Makes For A Special Feeling.

The Joy Of Retirement Makes For A Special Feeling.

by Tony Kelly

The age of full-time retirement varies from country to country and that includes  being in the public or private sector and also from individual to individual.  Some persons cannot afford to take early retirement even if they wanted due to financial commitments such as having a mortgage or making sure to finance their children’s tertiary education or private nursing care for elderly relatives. Others have not worked enough years in order to  get the maximum retirement benefits which are often based on national insurance contributions. At one stage in Britain there was a rather discriminatory law which penalized mothers who took time off to  have children and stayed at home for a while  before  returning to work, but thankfully that has now been changed.

Wealthier countries such as Britain provide their citizens with a state pension which for some is in addition to their work pension. Some countries do not have that luxury for their citizens to rely on as an extra source of income. A sound piece of advice which I would encourage readers to take on board is to top up their work pension with additional voluntary contributions (AVC) as it is in effect a way of saving for one’s ‘pension pot’.  Seek advice from the pension’s officer in your work organization as to how  that can be done with x amount being deducted from one’s salary which in effect boosts the final pension lump sum. It can make the world of difference if done over a period of time but unfortunately not a lot of people are aware of this.

If you are self employed it is advisable to invest in a private pension so that your source of income does not diminish when you retire.

Of late some governments are even increasing the retirement age and making it more difficult for employees to get their work-related pension as people are living longer and are  being expected to work for more years than was the norm. The British  government has passed laws to increase the state pension retirement age currently at 66 for both men and women when years gone by it used to be 65 and 60 respectively, to 67 for all  between 2026 and 2028. It will then rise to 68  between 2044 and 2046. Increasing the retirement age is a rather contentious and vexed issue which I won’t cover in this article.

This subject suddenly dawned on me having recently attended two retirement events for friends of mine and a third made mention on social media  of  her colleagues and friends having a surprise retirement party for her. In any case  always remember that age is just a number and one ought to embrace, respect, value and appreciate the retirement years whenever they come. It should be a period in our life that we  look forward to as there are many benefits whether socially, economically  and mentally and that includes less work-related stress. No matter how much one loves working there has to come a time to call it a day as younger people need to be able to get their hold in the job market too.

Retirement does not in any way mean putting one’s feet up completely or literally  although there should be more time for relaxation and choosing what one would like to do at a more leisurely pace.

I have often heard it said by some retirees that they are busier during that period than when they were in employment and that resonates with me too since early retirement a few years ago. My diabetes journey in a voluntary role as an ambassador/activist of spreading awareness of this medical condition across England and further afield  makes  the twiddling of thumbs  or being idle, impossible as there is never a dull moment. In any case I cannot stand boredom nor should anyone for that matter. Being gainfully occupied  and by that, I mean doing something constructive is good for one’s mental and physical health and to put it bluntly retirement does not mean being placed on the scrap heap. In other words, there is life after retirement and that should be the aim or goal of everyone coming to that all-important period.

The ideal retirement gift given to retired workers when I was growing up as a child in Jamaica was believe it or not either a gold-plated watch or a rocking chair!! What made anyone have the presence of mind to give either of those as a retirement gift is incredible as that only makes the retired person while away their time, watching it  on their watch or  leading a sedentary/couch potato existence.

Retirement is a stage in the circle of  life that one should enjoy and find time without clock watching to do the things that have been on the proverbial bucket list for years. It is  an opportune moment to explore,  find new activities and go back to other hobbies/pastimes that one has not indulged  with for ages.

Human resource departments in workplaces and organizations sometimes  have training courses to prepare staff for this eventuality and I would encourage forward planning in that regard, so that when the day finally arrives, one is not left thinking what they are going to do with the abundance of free time now available to them.  Use it to look in more detail at options, develop a new skill, new horizons or new challenges. Even a new qualification especially one which requires less of an academic approach would be to the person’s benefit as one is never too old to learn.

Skills are transferable and sometimes it is a case of giving back to the community to use that well-known cliché. There is so much more that retirees can offer in terms of support, guidance, wisdom and knowledge to the younger generation who now more than ever with the advent of social media websites have lost the art of conversation and socialization especially with older people.

I won’t list all the tips that are on the internet of things to consider doing during retirement as there are too many to mention but please visit the internet to discover what is available.  The possibility of working part-time in an unrelated field from what one was accustomed to doing should be seriously considered as getting out of the house as alluded to earlier is of paramount importance.

Whatever one is planning to do during retirement, the idea is to make it interesting and have fun as it is certainly a different feeling from what is expected within a normal working day/night. So, enjoy it to the ‘max’.

Tony Kelly

Tony Kelly

London born Tony Kelly of Jamaican parents grew up in Jamaica and returned to live in Birmingham in 1979.
He is a graduate of Mico Teachers’ College and taught in Kingston high schools prior to working for 30+ years as a middle manager in central and local government with an emphasis on equity, equality, diversity and inclusion. He has a masters’ degree in socio-legal studies from the university of Birmingham.
For over a decade Tony has volunteered as a diabetes ambassador firstly for Diabetes UK and now for the National Health Service – Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group. A multi-award winner doing a yearly average of 150 health and well-being events, locally, nationally and internationally focusing on type 2 diabetes. He was diagnosed with this medical condition 18 years ago. However with a combination of physical activity and diet he has never taken medication thus proving with the right mindset and discipline it can be achieved.
As a diabetes advocate/activist Tony will continue delivering the message of healthy options to readers of CaribDirect.com .


You may also like


Yvonne July 31, 2023 - 10:04 pm

As someone who took early retirement just over 3yrs ago, I agree with this article’s positive view of retirement advocated by Tony. To finally have the freedom to pursue all the things you did not have the time or energy to start up during the course of a busy working life can be liberating. But the reality is that we are living through very challenging times economically, which no one predicted, not even the so-called experts. The impact of which has meant a return to work – no one wants to be counting pennies in retirement. So, I look forward to the end of this cost of living crisis that we’re all having to find our way through and a return to the joys of retirement!

caribdirect August 1, 2023 - 1:38 am

Thank you Yvonne for a most insightful response…I just wonder if the self employed who have had control of their lives through their career if they feel any different in retirement…Your thoughts…

Angella August 2, 2023 - 3:29 pm

Thank you Tony for this article which is informative and inspiring.
I am on the verge of semi-retirement as I can’t retire fully due to certain financial commitments.
I wish I was more aware of the implications of retirement so I could plan more effectively for this time.
A word to the wise! Schools and colleges should provide more information about this so that our young people can plan ahead and make better choices about their pension and retirement plans. This will certaintly help to avoid disappointment and surprises when retirement invariably comes around.

caribdirect August 3, 2023 - 2:00 am

Thank you Angella, indeed Tony has hit on a very important subject for us who are approaching retirement, unfortunately not too helpful for those already in retirement. Nonetheless as you suggest, some education around planning for retirement should be included in school curricula as is entrepreneurship and business studies…


Leave a Comment

Copyright © 2024 CaribDirect.com | CaribDirect Multi-Media Ltd | CHOSEN CHARITY Caribbean New Frontier Foundation (CNFF) Charity #1131481

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy