Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Raising the pension age

is inevitable. It is going to happen. People are, apparently, living longer - or maybe modern medicine is keeping people alive longer.
Whatever is happening I don't doubt the pension age is going to rise. The previous government Downunder had plans to raise it to 67. The present government is saying it may even need to be raised to 70.
There are, of course, all sorts of issues surrounding this and there has been alarm and consternation in the community and in the media. How will people manage to work to 70?
And how will people manage to live after that?
A neighbour is retiring in a few months. His wife retired three years ago - so that she could take over some babysitting duties. They have two cars. They have a very nice house. They still go out at least once a week. They entertain at least once more. Their full retirement will be funded by a generous superannuation package.
Still, they claim to have problems.
"We will have to give up one of the cars. I don't know how we are going to manage without two cars."
That was the start of a list of things they will no longer be able to do on their reduced income.
Their priorities are different from mine - and from those of the Senior Cat. Their lifestyle is different too. We don't own a car at all. On the rare occasions the use of a car is inevitable we use a taxi or my sister will help out. We try not to ask her unless it is a medical appointment for the Senior Cat and she and I believe that she should, with her additional medical knowledge, attend the appointment with him. Once in a long while she will help me out with some especially heavy shopping.
But our neighbours use their cars to buy a paper or a carton of milk.
The Senior Cat and I almost never go out in the evening unless someone has organised a family occasion. Even when he did go out in the evenings it was not to lavish entertainment.
I was sent a personal "invitation" to an event for which the tickets cost $175 for the evening. I will not be going. It would cost more than $175 - even if I managed to find something suitable to wear from the local charity shop. That amount of money is more than I would spend in a year, let alone in an evening. Even if I had the money to spend I would not want to spend that much in an evening for a non-charity event. But our neighbours would not, until recently, have hesitated. Now they are alarmed that they will no longer be able to do such things.
I wonder about all of this. I wonder what the expectations of retirement are. Will many people be disappointed? Do some people look at retirement with fear? Do they worry about how they are going to fill their "empty" days?
The Senior Cat had no trouble filling retirement. He is fortunate that his days are still full and as busy as he wants them to be.
I have not retired yet. I probably won't retire unless I lose my capacity to use words. I don't have to "go to work" as such. I work from home. I earn almost nothing but that is beside the point. I am, I hope, doing something useful - and that matters.
It is those who don't know how they are going to fill their retirement or plan to fill it with things they believe they must do - from babysitting, child minding and joining an exercise group or the bowls club - they are the people I feel sorry for. I am sorry they have to give up the second car and that their entertainment has been curtailed. I am sorry they don't have the interests we have and the satisfaction we get from our activities.
If people do go on working longer I think it is even more essential that they plan for their retirement, that they develop interests and activities now that they can maintain in retirement. If you wait until you are seventy it might be too late.
So, what do you plan to do with retirement?

3 comments:

Helen Devries said...

I suppose that I 'retired' years ago when my husband's health deteriorated to such a state that he needed round the clock attention.
We had then and have still to watch the pennies...but for both of us - now his health has improved thanks the the staff of the NHS of Costa Rica - we have the same pleasures ...books, the plants and birds around us and the contact with friends both here face to face and via the internet.

catdownunder said...

Oh if it works like that Helen then I "retired" to look after the Senior Cat - but I am still working as well. We both read but his interests are otherwise quite different from mine!

virtualquilter said...

I wonder how there is time to work with all the books to read, gardening and crafty things to do for myself and others. Then there are the unpaid jobs which can very easily fill your life, most of which involve helping other people in some way, through direct assistance, helping run sporting bodies, art galleries etc.
After my parents retired we had to make an appointment to see them they had so much to do in their community along with some travelling, and they did not have a large amount of super to pay for anything!