Retiring Retirement

a-cal-1113316591-1534453027644.jpgMr Fu and I have just listened tonight, open-mouthed, to a programme on Radio 4 called Retiring Retirement, which outlined the future for retirement – or rather, the lack of it.   With the official retirement age abolished and life expectancy going up, the crux of the broadcast was that people should expect to work until their 70s, even 80s, and how to prepare for that.

There’s been lots of similar things in the media of late – as noted by Mr Fu here, but in this particular programme Professor Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice of London Business School, told listeners that the old life pattern of education-work-retirement will, in the future, evolve into a phase of several careers, perhaps broken up by travel breaks or periods of re-training.

The programme then went on to interview people who had started businesses in their 70s, or became apprentices in careers such as banking.  Naturally, everyone interviewed gave a Utopian view of their working life, and loved working ….and maybe they do love it, but there was only a tiny reference to people who might do the kind of job that might be physically impossible in later life, such as construction and other physical work.  The message for them, of course, was simply to plan in advance to re-train in another field ready for your twilight years career.  (Just how many B&Qs are there going to be in the future?!?!)

Not ONCE did anyone mention that there was another option – that you can prepare yourself financially so that you don’t have to work.

I do suspect that Professor Lynda might’ve gone on to say something about saving more towards retirement than current traditional advice, but I don’t think the programme was designed to make anyone question anything other than the basic message – prepare to carry on working, possibly until you die.

No thanks!

Mr FU and I were pretty much shouting at the radio, but should we be glad that FI is still under-the-radar when it comes to the media?  Should we FI-ers keep this little nugget to ourselves, maybe, so that the powers-that-be can’t spoil it somehow?  Or are you all for spreading the word?

This entry was posted in Mrs FU and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Retiring Retirement

  1. Can you share a link for this?
    I love radio 4 And hope that this is a show with some insight.
    Fire is maybe about amassing enough assets to not need to work but those who have fired don’t just vegetate but go on to do different things.
    Certainly, escaping the 9-5 is one thing and the idea of sever careers is touted – but early retirement is just beyond the pale and almost taboo (which is why you don’t talk about fire to most people).

  2. Firethe9to5 says:

    I’ll admit it’s crossed my mind to keep quiet about FI so that as you say, the powers that be can’t spoil it. But then I think if the FI role models had kept quiet, I wouldn’t be where I am now and so I’m trying to pay it forward in my own way. I think it’s too off the beaten track to become commonplace, so I think we are safe 😊

    • Mrs Fu Mon Chu says:

      Let’s hope so, Firethe9to5. As Cashflow Cop says in his comment most people probably don’t have the discipline not to be influenced by the ‘because you’re worth it’/’YOLO’ mentality that pervades most adverts. I admit, until our FI epiphany Mr Fu and I were definitely working to live, running as fast as we could on the earning treadmill to fund our lifestyle. Thank goodness we saw ‘the light’ and can work on damage limitation from now on. We’re definitely educating the children in the ways of FI from an early age. They’ve really taken it on board quickly so fingers crossed they manage to stay strong against the powers of advertising!

  3. Tuppenny says:

    They obviously have no idea how hard many people work. I do not see how they think people in their 70’s and 80’s could continue to work in many manual trades: construction work, factory work, engineering (shop floor), retail etc. Seriously? Many jobs are not sedentary jobs using a computer and just your brain. My parents are in their mid 70’s – 80’s I cannot see how any of them (I have multiple!) would be able to do their profession now.

    I appreciate we cannot afford to fund the state pension going forward but the answer isn’t to continue forever working. The answer is FIRE!

    • Mrs Fu Mon Chu says:

      Thanks for replying, Tuppenny. Our parents are aged 70+ and I agree, they just wouldn’t be able to do their jobs any more. If I’m honest they find everyday living exhausting enough and they’re actually pretty fit and well. I think the reason why Mr Fu and I were open-mouthed at the programme is that any potential employment problems were just glossed over – it went something like this…..’will people be fit and well enough to work into their 70s? Such-and-such-a-body was when she started her own business at 70 and she can’t think of anything worse than not having her work – she finds it so rewarding.’ Well, I’m really pleased for her but it’s not at all what I want for me. Thank goodness we’re not daft enough to fall for the idea that the workplaces of the future will all be based in Utopia, eh?!

  4. Cashflow Cop says:

    I’ve not listened to the programme yet, but I imagine my wife and I will be shouting at the radio as well. It’s madness. In the Police, our pension age changed not long ago to 60. I expect it to continue to increase. Can you imagine someone in their 60s chasing after a criminal in the teens or early 20s, jumping over garden fences and arresting them for a violent offence? I imagine there will be many new ‘office’ based roles created or the numbers of civilian staff reduced drastically and replaced by older police officers in the future. It has already started.

    As for keeping FI a secret vs spreading the word? I’m in two minds and agree if this becomes more mainstream, the government will find a way to penalise us or make it more difficult. For example, they already penalise those who spent a lifetime saving and sacrificed some luxuries to pass on to their children by raiding their assets for care costs. Whereas, some of those who lived more carefree and wasted all their money are able to access free government social care in their old age. The system is broken and all wrong. I’m all for sharing the FI message. I do not see FI ever becoming mainstream because most people succumb to their immediate desires too easily and lack the restraint to delay gratification for a better future.

    • Mrs Fu Mon Chu says:

      Hi Cashflow Cop,
      Thanks for your reply.
      In the programme it did raise concerns that people would be made redundant on reaching a certain age or released when they didn’t meet their appraisal targets – so in a job like policing I’d imagine something like that might happen. It’s completely ridiculous to expect all employees to have the same level of physical capability regardless of their age. The more you think about it the more you realise how many jobs actually require a certain level of fitness. Even commuting to an office job can be physically exhausting. Maybe the rush hours of the future will involve queues of mobility scooters on our cities’ streets….!

      I think we’re keeping quiet about FI, for now at least – apart from our blog, of course. Thank goodness most people aren’t disciplined enough to maintain the path to FI because as you say the government will find a way to get a cut out of our efforts in whatever way they can. Mr Fu is very disciplined – he is brilliant at walking into a shop, seeing something he likes (sometimes something he needs or could make really good use of) but walk out without buying anything, bargain or not. He has to keep a close eye on me sometimes because I’m partial to pretty things …and bargains …and he definitely helps me stay on the straight and narrow!

  5. Mr. H&N says:

    The increase of life expectancy will impact the way we think about work for sure. I have also heard another theory that says that basically the whole career will be postpone 10 years. So starting working around 35 (?). Another one LBS pushes

    I´m all about spreading the message. Especially if a see somebody that may embrace it. I think it’s almost impossible that FI would become mainstream enough to have any negative impact for us. There will always be people that “really really need that Ferrari and if only they could get they would be happy” 🙂

  6. ok – I listened to this very interesting programme from Radio 4’s The World of Business.

    There is another one that might be of interest to some people called “Out of office: the rise of the digital nomad”


    I think that the big thing missing from working until your 70’s or whenever is that, yes you can use your human capital to earn money, and you may need to keep earning to pay for your expenditure and pensions aren’t as generous as they used to be. 

    BUT you can also turn your human capital into investment capital – by SAVING it and INVESTING it and allowing that money to pay you instead of working.

    Savings Rate is the elephant in the room.


    I might get the book that was recommended ( – The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity) because the writer has done more thinking about this than I have. 🙂 and that the message from the programme is a little more complicated than a simple  work/don’t work until you are 60/70/80/90/dead

  7. Pingback: Digital Nomads – Fire-lite? – Gentleman's Family Finances

Leave a Reply