Romance of retirement very much alive

A person who retires at age 62 would have worked for some 40 years, about 65 per cent of his life thus far. So, isn't it time to be free from the shackles of working life, and embark on the next phase, doing things he loves, at his own pace and in his own time?

It is indeed unfortunate that some people view retirement as the end of life, without appreciating that retirement truly means retiring from work and not from life.

Granted, people tend to live longer today ("'Healthy lifespan' gets longer in S'pore"; Dec 7), but mortality and illnesses transcend age. Hence, not every person lives to a ripe old age.

It would be a tragedy to work until death beckons. Even if this does not happen, by the time a person eventually decides to quit, he would be too old and probably too weak to engage in many pursuits, including travelling. Is this a life worth living?

Post-retirement work is not for growing one's nest egg ("Longer healthy lifespan, more time to grow nest egg" by Mr Geoffrey Kung Kuo-Woo; Dec 10). This should have been done a long time ago, when one started working.

Early and prudent financial planning can ensure sufficient recurring investment income when one retires, without a need to worry about inadequate savings.

To work in order to be socially active and cognitively stimulated is not a good reason.

Social interaction and cognitive stimulation can be derived by engaging in voluntary and community work.

Seniors who take their own lives are in the minority ("More seniors in S'pore taking own lives"; Dec 17).

These are people who are socially inactive, hence, they suffer from loneliness and are burdened with health problems, which aggregately seem to render life not worth living.

People who work during post-retirement generally fall into two categories:

• Those who cannot detach themselves from the trappings a job offers, especially when they are in senior positions. It is daunting to wake up realising that one no longer has a driver, a secretary, an expense account, business class travel, power and recognition.

• Those who are financially ill-prepared for retirement.

The romance of retirement is very much alive, and worth celebrating ("Rethink retirement as the grand finale to working life" by Mr Nicholas Koh Jin-Yuan; Wednesday). An enjoyable and meaningful retirement requires mental and financial preparedness. This can be achieved with prudent planning from an early age.

Retirement is indeed a joyful culmination of working life. There is no need for a rethink.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2015, with the headline 'Romance of retirement very much alive'. Print Edition | Subscribe