Tuesday, 4 October 2016

If Mick Jagger can do it......

It's one of my "fast" days today and I am desperate for some food.  Two dollops of yoghurt and a few blueberries just does not do it for me. I am HUNGRY!  But.. I tell myself that this intense hunger is actually a very good thing, it is my body telling me that it is consuming the fat around my belly.  In fact this is great, my hunger proves that my body is eating itself.  Maybe, however my hunger is actually affecting the way my brain works?

To assuage these feelings of hunger I have decided that I need to occupy myself.  One of the areas that I decided to focus on when I retired, was music.  I have played guitar on and off since the age of 11 but in that time  I've never really progressed beyond a few chords and some pathetic soloing attempts on the electric guitar.I always said to myself that if I had the time to improve my guitar playing and singing  I could become the next "Seasick Steve." (If you are not sure who Seasick Steve is, then check him out.  Great bluesy music and fantastic story of someone "making it" later on in life).  Now that's what I call a role model.  And every time I think I'm too old to become a rock star,  I look at Mick Jagger.  He's about to become a father, he's over 70, he struts around the stage, people still pay a fortune to see him play live and he's fairly cool.  So, after writing this I shall dust down the guitar, get out the amp and start practising.  I even think I might have the title from my first big hit, "you stole my girl but leave my biscuits alone."

Joking aside,it is great to be able to have the time to pursue creative interests. Over the last five years, whilst working,  I found that meeting up with friends to rehearse music became more of a chore than a pleasure mainly because we all felt so tired after a full day's work. Now, I can meet up during the day and suddenly the enthusiasm has come rushing back as the exhaustion  recedes.  I enjoyed my work but the days were often very long and always full on.  I would often come home grab something to eat, put  on the telly and invariably fall asleep.  That is not a great way to live your life and looking back I think it was simply working too long a day.   I shall be doing some part-time work in the future  but already I help out with a local charity. In fact I was doing that this morning between seven and 10.30.  Coming home from just doing a few hours and spending those hours doing something meaningful and doing it is a choice rather than a necessity, I now feel refreshed and fulfilled rather than exhausted and frustrated.

The Great Privilege of retirement is having the freedom to choose what you do with your time.  I'm also aware that not everyone of my age is able to have that privilege either because they do not have a pension which gives them that freedom or the health  to pursue the activities that interest them.  I do feel particularly sorry for those women who are currently around 62 years of age who were only told a short while ago  that they would have to wait until 66 to receive their state pension.  This group of women have been treated appallingly and many have not been able to make alternative provision for their retirement and so are forced to carry on working.  The pension age will go up again in a few years and this trend looks set to continue which means that saving for retirement, planning for retirement and investing for retirement  are even more imperative than before for younger generations.I know that is a tall order for many young people saddled with university debts, high rents and frozen incomes.  On top of that,  final salary schemes are disappearing fast which means that unless younger people do take measures to secure a decent pension for themselves, my generation may be one of the last to enjoy the privilege of retiring at 60 with a decent income. 

In my next blog entry I shall talk through what I have learnt which is probably not a lot, about how to make your money work at a time of historically low interest rates and poor returns on savings.  I certainly don't have all the answers but it may be useful for some people to see what alternatives there are to just putting your money in a cash ISA or building society account.  I'm also hoping that people who read my entry can give me and others some alternative suggestions as to how to preserve and build up a pension pot to maximise the chances of a decent retirement.

Until next time.

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