Ian Ferguson: The Benefits From An Early Retirement

Millions of people across the world are voluntarily deciding to retire early. Many in The Bahamas have watched the trend of organisations (both private and public) downsizing, offering severance packages to those who have served for long periods of time, and have determined not to wait for an invitation to leave. As uncertain as the days ahead might appear to someone contemplating early retirement, there are many who have taken the plunge and their experiences are worth hearing.

Here are a few benefits for persons choosing to leave their place of employment before expected retirement:

• You will likely be healthier. Improved mental health because of reduced stress is not the only health benefit associated with early retirement. Not having to sit at a desk or commute means you have an opportunity to be more active than ever. You will have plenty of time to exercise, lubricating your joints and strengthening your muscles for a higher quality of life.

• You will find new interests that truly excite you. Having free time when you are still relatively young is better than having those same hours when you are older. An early retiree will have more energy to travel, perhaps take up a new life on a Family Island and try out physically demanding new hobbies. Maybe you will find a new hobby that ends up turning into a lifelong passion. There are an almost unlimited number of things to try, and places to see, and early retirement simply opens those doors of possibilities.

• You will find opportunities to spend less. Many retirees do not spend as much as they used to because they have more time to look for good deals. It is not difficult to find opportunities to save money when you have the time to look for bargains and negotiate. For example, you can simply wait for something you want to go on sale. You can also save on many events and attractions if you go during non-peak hours, which is easy to do once you no longer work. The same strategy works for travel. The fact that you can travel off-season will save you a significant amount of money.

• You will have a great opportunity to give back to society and family through mentorship. Perhaps, as a young grandmother or grandfather, this is your chance to give time to the rearing and care of your own or other children. Given the level of social ills, and children without supervision in our communities, we can certainly use more alert, responsible adults who can become foster guardians to the children of the neighbourhood.

• You might find other streams of income. Even if you no longer want to work at your current job, you might find other activities that end up making you money. New income streams after retirement might include online writing, baking cakes and breads, telemarketing or selling crafts or art online. The profit from these activities may not be large, but if you love perfecting your art, getting paid for that never hurts.

Early retirement takes years of continually living within your means, saving aggressively and investing prudently to achieve. But for those who make it, there are plenty of rewards for your discipline.

• NB: Ian R Ferguson is a talent management and organisational development consultant, having completed graduate studies with regional and international universities. He has served organsations, both locally and globally, providing relevant solutions to their business growth and development issues. He may be contacted at iferguson@bahamas.com.


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