I’m Just 53 but I’m Already Feeling the Pressure to Retire
The workplaces of today are a reflection of the progress we have made as a society over the years. Yes, we have certainly come a long way in embracing greater diversity and inclusion in our workplaces, such as increasing the representation of women in the workforce. However, there still exists subtle signs of ageism that can push even the most seasoned professionals to the side-lines.
As a 53-year-old working professional, I can attest to experiencing subtle (and not-so-subtle) nudges first-hand at my workplace that make me feel like my time to sit out on the benches and fade into retirement is approaching, although I feel I still have much to contribute career-wise.
Feeling 'overly mature' in the workplace
With more than two decades of professional experience, I have worked my way up from Junior Executive to Senior Manager. During this time, I have been given several opportunities to work on a wide range of projects. Not only has this contributed to my personal growth and built my wealth of experience, it has also allowed me to gain recognition from my bosses.
But of late, I have started to feel that my experience and maturity are being viewed as secondary assets. Though I remain a committed and consistent performer, I find myself frequently getting passed over in favour of my younger colleagues to lead teams for new projects and receiving less face time with key clients.
Aside from that, my retirement plans have started to become a topic of conversation during work chats, such as whether I feel tired from working all these years and if I’m looking forward to taking a break and just enjoying life.
When I retire should be my choice
This got me thinking – has the sun begun to set on my career? Is now the time to start thinking about retiring? I know I’m not the only one to be caught in this dilemma, but I truly believe that I am still living out my prime with the desire to keep learning and contributing.
While I may have matured in age, this does not mean that my professional abilities have diminished. In fact, my wealth of experience, coupled with the latest know-hows of my younger colleagues, will be the key to success in our organisation. Therefore, deciding when to retire should be an individual's privilege, depending on one’s capabilities and circumstances.
Why I want to continue working
So yes, personally, I don’t feel ready to hang up my boots just yet for a couple of reasons – financial security being the first.
There are still daily expenses to pay for and indulgences such as eating out and taking family vacations that I’m not ready to give up. I also have two children with many more years of child-related expenses to bear before they start working and earning their own living. Furthermore, I want to save as much as possible for my retirement years, in order to make it as comfortable as I can possibly can.
Aside from that, work truly gives me a sense of purpose and satisfaction. I love that each day is different and presents new challenges which helps me to keep learning. This is a great way to keep my mind active.
How I plan to keep myself going
On this note, I do recognise the need to continually improve myself professionally and add further value to my organisation.
For a start, I have begun to check out SkillsFuture for training courses that can bring me up to speed on the latest trends and know-how in my field of work, such as in using cloud computing to enhance digital marketing strategies and in applying design thinking to managing teams. I can also prime myself to remain open to learning from my younger colleagues, especially with their strengths in staying on top of social media trends and bringing fresh perspectives, just to name a few.
At the same time, I am also thinking of joining my organisation’s mentoring programme so that I can impart my knowledge to younger colleagues in areas such as project and client management – right from understanding the brief to pitching to upselling.
Knowing that there will come a day when I’ll have to pivot in my career, I am also evaluating other career options. With my experience and reputation within my industry, I’m exploring the idea of starting up my own consultancy firm which I feel will provide me the flexibility to pursue personal interests and expand my social network.
Begin financial planning now, regardless of when you retire
If, like me, you’re soon approaching the traditional retirement age, don’t feel pressured to retire just because of societal norms. When to retire is ultimately your choice, contingent on your circumstances. However, the important thing to do is to ensure that you are prepared for retirement so that you will be financially secure to support whatever decision you make.
For a start, consider Income’s insurance savings plan, Gro Cash Sure, which is capital guaranteed1 and provides you a lifetime of cash payouts2 starting from the end of the premium term till age 120, as well as the flexibility to choose between 5 or 10 years for your premium term based on your lifestyle and retirement goals. If you're considering wealth accumulation for your child, Gro Cash Sure lets you appoint your loved one as a secondary insured3 so your policy can continue in the event of death of the insured.
If you are not sure about where to get started or which retirement plan suits you best, feel free to reach out to Income’s advisors today.