WTF is retirement?

When I was young, my late grandfather Joe used to say to me that when you reach a certain age you become invisible. This broke my heart. I begun to notice that at parties and gatherings, people used to greet everyone in the room. But, they ignored the 85 year old man sitting in his chair in the corner of the room. 

When you reach a certain age you become invisible

Fast forwards 10 years.

I entered the workplace, working for traditional financial institutions (every little boy's dream). My grandfather's observation hit me once again like a bomb. I learnt the term "forced retirement". WTF? So there is actually an age that someone reaches where they are thanked for their years of service and shown the door? This is more baffling considering that so few of today's jobs involve physical exertion. Physical strength counts for little and knowledge is often the name of the game. Employers would love to have someone with 40 years experience as long as they are 25 years old.

Employers would love to have someone with 40 years experience as long as they are 25 years old.

This has become socially acceptable, but should it be? 

If I were to propose a forced retirement weight, would this be accepted too?  If I would calculate the body mass above which your health begins to decline and productivity begins to drop. Staff would be weighed each month and only the slimmest would remain employed. I would rightfully receive a few slaps to the face or kicks to the groin. But this is essentially what we are doing to those over forced retirement age.

The reality is that kicking our golden oldies to the curb is not going to change anytime soon. At best the forced retirement age might increase slightly. 

So what can we change?

1. We can change the perception that the world has of the older workforce. 

When I was a teenager, I thought someone in their 40s was ancient. Today, I see this isn't quite the case.

The older generation does not necessarily see themselves as old. People don’t wake up one day and think, "Today,  I am old".  My grandfather saw himself as Joe, not as that old guy sitting in the corner. He may have been too old to twerk, but he should have been the one to decide whether he was too old to work. 

2. We must educate  those who have been forced to retire what opportunities are available to work and make an income.

In most countries, the income levels of those in retirement are way too low for comfort. Luckily, if you are over retirement age, there are plenty of ways for you to make extra cash.

  • Use your experience
    • You can put your years of expertise and knowledge to good use, by becoming a mentor, expert or advisor. Online portals like Presto Experts, Zintro or Clarity can help those in retirement get paid by those who appreciate the knowledge they have built up over the years. You could also design a Udemy course. If your course is valued by some of the millions of students on Udemy, you could see a nice passive income coming your way.
    • You can also make some spare change by sharing your knowledge of your town or city. Buggl lets you create a travel guide or itinerary for those looking to visit your city.
  • Use the emotional intelligence, trustworthiness and caring disposition that comes to so many with age.
    • For Grandmas - The maturity and trust worthiness that comes with age are the foundations around which RentaGrandma was founded in the US.
    • If you love animals Tailster or Wag could be for you.
    • With Eatwith  or Bonappetour - You can cook
    • If you are missing being able to communicate and meet other people each day at the office, Cambly may be just for you. Cambly lets you talk to those looking to learn English. You need patience to do so. You will earn money for doing so and might just learn about a different culture.
  • Use you assets
    • If your children are not out the house and you have extra unused rooms in your home Airbnb allows you to rent out a spare room to travelers.
    • Rent your car through Turo

These are just some ideas. The truth is that there are endless opportunities available for those in retirement. 

So remember, you don't stop working cause you get old, you get old because you stop working. Older people have a purpose and are able to contribute to society. When we lose ability to contribute to the world, God will surely force us to retire to a place 6 feet under. As C.S Lewis said “You are never too old to set a new goal, or dream a new dream”,so live your life, and forget your age. Don’t become retired - become rewired, reinspired and get rehired.

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