Smart Investor Malaysia

IS SEMI-RETIREMENT THE NEW RETIREMENT?

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What does retirement look like for baby boomers? We speak to five financial planners about baby boomers and how they won’t (or can’t?) stop working.

For most of us, steady work and a monthly salary for 35 years straight sets wheels in motion that cannot be abruptly halted. What happens when the appearance of a monthly income deposit into your bank account stops? This change – whether gradual or abrupt – is more than just a financial problem to address. It is psychological, emotional and practical as well.

With any new chapter in life, we can adapt and like many before us, we have the tools and tricks to navigate this monumental change. Malaysia is an ageing nation, with the ageing population increasing each year. Those currently of retirement, or pre-retirement age – namely those born between 1943 and 1960, are known as the Baby Boomers. The population of those 65 years and above have increased from 6.7% in 2019 to 7.0% in 2020. Life expectancy has also increased in Malaysia, with women at 81.2 years compared to 78.4 years for men. This means that after retirement at 65, there is an expected 10 to 15 years of life left to live. In an ideal world, that would mean living, and not working… but what if they are living for work?

THE CURRENT LIVES OF BABY BOOMERS

Malaysians of retirement age range from those who are fully retired to semi-retired, as well as some who are still contractually working full-time.

For Madam Seah, retirement did not mean any cessation of work at all. “To me, retiring meant being free, resting and recharging for a second career.” She retired as a mathematics teacher in 2010, took a break for four years before returning to work at a Chinese independent school as a headmistress. “The passion is what I want, and this is because I can lead. It was too early to retire at 60 – I still have so much I want to do,” she adds.

On the other hand, Ms. Chin had grand plans to ease into retirement – it was a change she knew she might struggle with as she left her career as a corporate banker. She planned to spend one-third of her time in part- time work, with the rest of her time focused on hobbies or volunteering. Initially, she found it hard to fill her days, as she retired in December 2019 right before the pandemic.

“The lockdown, in retrospect, helped me […READ the full article here]

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