Posted by Richard Rawlinson
Some of us enjoy our jobs; the social and creative buzz, and the income. Some of us also look forward to retirement; liberation from work routine, and time to pursue other interests, be it camper van touring or attempting a novel. But anecdotes about retirees reveal pros and cons.
Retire too early and the planned escape from stress can be replaced by loss of identity and boredom. For some, alcoholism ensues resulting in mental and physical sickness leading to early death.
Retire too late and limitations of natural ageing, from weakened immune system to impaired memory and diminished bladder control, can mar enjoyment of leisure time.
These potential setbacks can also be joined by any number of external forces derailing dreams of riding off into the horizon of the golf course in a buggy. The spouse might need extensive care following a stroke, for example.
Good advice seems to be to retire ‘slowly’ by working part-time in some form, or taking a hobby job such a volunteering for a charity. It also seems sensible to not put off doing things until retirement, assuming that only then will you have more time for family and friends, travel, exercise, oil painting and learning Spanish.
This random musing is triggered by noting how many British Prime Ministers died soon after leaving office: Sir Robert Peel and William Gladstone (four years); Ramsay McDonald (two years); Lord Salisbury (one year), Andrew Bonar Law and Neville Chamberlain (six months). Others, such as William Pitt the Younger and Lord Palmerston died while in office.
Then again, several lived 10 to 30-plus years after retiring: Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas Hume, Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher.
Meanwhile, John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are still alive.
More PM deaths here.