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What are the downsides and drawbacks of retirement?

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by Startedin82, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    Like, I imagine, most teachers who frequent this section of the TES forums I am in the last few years of my teaching career - aged 57.

    It seems that nearly all postings on here are about how fantastic retirement is - but I was wondering are there downsides as well? I would like to have a balanced view as I decide on my own future. Thanks.
  2. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    One of the unexpected side effects ( whether good or bad is down to your view) is the narrowing of my daily 'circle'. I now mix with people of similar age, similar outlook, interests etc.
    I miss the mix of ages I encountered at work which made sure I didn't lose touch with the issues which face, the young, those in their twenties thirties etc and their decisions (which are far back in the past for me) eg getting your first mortgage, juggling work, childcare etc. It was salutary to 'share these trials and tribulations with them.
    Even though I worked with similar people, ( there were a lot of teachers in schools:D!) I was exposed to views that I didn't agree with and that reflected very different experiences.
    Apart from this narrowing world view, at the moment, I can't think of many downsides. But I still feel a newbie at this retirement game:)

    Edited for typos
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I agree about the age thing. I am probably the youngest in my social circle. But I now have a social circle .:). My friends are now quite far to the right of me politically after a career in a generally leftward looking community. You have to make things happen while teaching was never dull. You can overdo it and end up overcommitted - I haven't btw. You can't avoid your partner so easily so you'd better find out what's going to work for you regarding shared things and individual things. Erm.....It's taken a while to think of these. Lower income of course but lower tax and no NI so not so bad.
  4. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    I agree. There may be plenty to celebrate about retiring from teaching. That doesn't mean, however, that the life we are retiring to is going to be the proverbial never-emptying "bowl of cherries".

    As a confirmed singleton whose sole surviving relative is a sibling living in another country, I have no partner or progeny to coo over or to groan about when I reach my biblical three-score-and-ten. Fortunately, I have an old friend I see every day for meals out, which helps to fulfil my social needs while saving me the bother of heating up daily "meals for one". I still work voluntarily doing record keeping on the computer for my school special needs department, which brings further social contact and keeps me in touch with what is happening in the world of education without the stress and the politics. I have more time now for my hobbies and share information about what I do recreationally with others on social media dedicated to those pastimes, avoiding Facebook and Twitter, which seem all about "small talk". Socialisation is vital in retirement for everybody, but it's harder, I feel, for men who like social contact to be task-based rather than just chat-based.

    Retirement means that the tax authorities take more interest in your financial affairs. This makes sense, because retirement income isn't as predictable as it was when teaching full-time. Some retirees find part-time jobs to boost the teachers' pension and to avoid eating into the lump sum. Retirement means a big drop in income and it can take a while to adjust to a monthly amount less than half what it was when in full-time employment. Fortunately, my mortgage was paid before before I retired, so I was able to downsize my outgoings a little, but keeping a car on the road costs just as much as it does whatever a driver's income, so you have to consider what is affordable and what isn't. In the event, I haven't had to make too many sacrifices, but a chunk of my lump sum had to go into new windows and other upgrades for my home after years of neglecting necessary home improvements. You tend to notice household neglect more in retirement.

    Medical factors loom larger on the horizon in retirement. I was reminded of my mortality when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer over ten years ago and shortly afterwards underwent surgery and radiotherapy to address the problem. I will have the condition monitored for life. Meanwhile, other equally significant life-style and age-related conditions such as high blood pressure and hypergycemia can emerge over time, requiring medication or changes in daily routine. All this will be monitored too by the surgery nurse once or twice a year, all new to me as a person who never darkened a doctor's door for decades. And if you, like I do, have friends and acquaintances who are older, visiting retirement homes and attending funerals will loom larger in the social whirligig than weddings and baptisms used to do.

    That's enough for the moment, if for no other reason than I'm beginning to feel depressed about what I've just written! Never mind, variety is the spice of life in retirement and the NHS advice for anybody who begins to feel life is getting on top of them is to jot down the things that you used to really enjoy and to go out and do them straight away.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
    Steph2002, khib1, dleaf12 and 4 others like this.
  5. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    I retired a year ago. I am very busy! I have my choir so rehearsal once a week in term time plus performances and learning. It is mainly women so if any lonely men out there, join a choir! I also started Italian lessons, very demanding but enjoyable. I belong to a book club so reading and a meet up every 6 weeks. I meet friends for days out to exhibitions. I can do more gardening and watch TV programmes I would have missed before. I swim to keep fit. So 3 activities involve social contact with people who are not friends and family. You have to make an effort and be pleasant and friendly.
  6. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    Thanks for your honesty @lindenlea. Sounds like there are downsides but minor ones for you.
  7. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    Thank you @lizziescat
  8. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    An honest, warts and all post @Dodros. Thank you.
  9. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    Sounds like no downsides to you@emerald52 :)
    emerald52 likes this.
  10. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    I knew that what I liked about teaching was the social contact and not getting bored. I have tried to create a life that gives me that. If I was at home all the time I would get very down. I am lucky that I have enough money and my health. I think you have to get into a routine so you know you are going out on certain days.
    Startedin82 likes this.
  11. onmyknees

    onmyknees Established commenter

    I have similar thoughts to the OP. I think I will worry about doing something worthwhile with my days. I don't want to feel as though I am just "filling time."
    Sundaytrekker and Startedin82 like this.
  12. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    I think that, for me, a transition period will be needed - perhaps a lengthy one. I don't think I would want to go from full time teaching (I'm a primary HT so more accurately full time leading a school) to doing nothing. I quite like the idea of working some days per week - paid and/or voluntary - (it seems that there are many opportunities out there) and doing what I want to do on other days.

    I'm quite looking forward to not working full time :)
  13. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Give yourself a priority. Mine is to keep fit and healthy. It gives a purpose to my week but there's lots of flexibility and lots of variety too. Some people prioritise family involvement, or maintaining an income or holidays or voluntary work. It isn't time filling, it's living your life.
    @Startedin82 You asked for the downsides so I gave you some, the ups far outweigh the downs :)
  14. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    I think it is a big decision. I think it does cause anxiety. I'm on "my final lap" so to speak and no definite plans of what to do when I finally say enough!
    I do have family but not sure how things are going to pan out.
    Do I move to another area of the country? I don't live in an area I'm from and could return home but would that be a good move? What about the genuine friends ive made here?
    I am a sporty type though not active any more...the clubs I belong too contain fewer and fewer of my friends so the social side of that is in decline. I could get involved in committee work but then usually you get blamed for doing things or even not doing things!
    I suppose its all about having a "purpose" in life. Retirement from teaching isn't retirement from life. Its an odd word that probably causes a bit of a panic in itself. it sounds as if people are just going to adopt a "pipe and slippers" routine. However, people are usually retiring in their mid to late 50s and that isn't old like it might once have been considered to be. its a question if you find another job or even want one? I'm resigned probably to taking my pension early so I will not get my full pension, but I think I can cope without that...and of course the lump sum will be a factor.
    I really do try not to plan ahead. I do try to live life for the day. But you cant escape thinking long term. That's natural. But who knows what is round the corner? I think I'm old enough to realise you don't know what unexpected things will happen. I hope I keep my good health and mental facilities. I worry about that to some extent.
    As for passing on actual advice to the OP, I can only say I'm preparing for the end of teaching but I'm not there yet so just take day to day as you can and be happy!
    Ezzie, Alice K, plot71 and 1 other person like this.
  15. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    Great advice @red_observer . Thank you.
    red_observer likes this.
  16. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    no worries, hope it helps!
    Startedin82 likes this.
  17. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    Generally I would emphasise the positives, but you did ask for negatives. You are far more 'available' for the needs of others. In my case it is looking after an elderly mother-in-law. I do know there are many in this age group that have to cope with not only the demands of the elderly but are expected to look after grandchildren too - the sandwich generation. There is not always as much free time as you had hoped because of this.
  18. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    Thank you @marlin. Its not so much that I'm looking for the negatives - rather I would like a balanced view. :)
    marlin likes this.
  19. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    I'm still early in my retirement but I have felt like this, too. I don't have grandchildren yet but do have elderly parents to visit.

    I have taken part time roles for a couple of days a week so that I feel I still have some professional worth, mix with colleagues of different ages and am obliged to leave the house! The money is also important as I am a WASPI woman and won't get my state pension when I originally thought I would. I will now be not so far short of my previous take home income as I originally thought. At the moment I prefer part time employment to voluntary roles.

    This is suiting me for the moment and means I can genuinely enjoy doing what I feel like on the other days of the week. Losing the pressures, responsibilities and long working hours of headship are the real benefit.
  20. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    Sundaytrekker likes this.

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