A well-planned retirement can be meaningful and enjoyable

Ms Ethel Lee last Monday painted a dismal picture of retirement, exemplified by retirees leading meaningless, lonely and depressing lives, with some dying alone at home ("Many benefits to working longer, staying active").

We must not stereotype retirees and see retirement as the end of life.

On the contrary, retirement is the best time to engage in enjoyable, meaningful and fulfilling pursuits that are not possible when we are busy with our careers and more pressing priorities.

These can include some of the activities suggested by Ms Lee, but do we have to wait until we are over 67 to engage in such activities?

It is important to realise that age limits the repertoire of activities we can engage in.

To continue working in order to be kept occupied is a misconception.

It will be a tragedy to work until ill health or death beckons.

Working life is not the be-all and end-all of life. It is the phase of life when we should plan for the inevitable retirement, so that when the time comes, we are mentally and financially prepared. This is a personal responsibility.

Many of those who continue to work beyond retirement do so not because they do not know what to do with their time, but rather because of financial inadequacy.

It is heartbreaking to see elderly people, some bent double, cleaning tables at hawker centres.

It makes one wonder what could have gone wrong.

It is a fact that many people put retirement-planning on the back burner, only to realise too late that they are not ready when the time comes.

Retirement, if well-planned, can be the most cherished part of one's life.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2016, with the headline 'A well-planned retirement can be meaningful and enjoyable'. Print Edition | Subscribe