‘Poverty and boredom at a single stroke’

Would poverty and boredom be the result of pulling the plug on your career too early?



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Midsomer Murders/Photo courtesy of All3Media
Sometimes you learn about important financial concepts in the strangest places. I was watching one of the new instalments of British police show Midsomer Murders last night when the line I’ve used as the headline came up.

If you’re a fan of the old Midsomer Murders you know the previous crusty chief inspector Tom Barnaby retired but happily the show has not. It has created a replacement also bearing the surname Barnaby (a younger cousin named John). In the course of introducing his wife Sarah—who is along the lines of the previous long-suffering Joyce—there was a dialogue in which the new Barnaby suggests Sarah doesn’t have to keep her teaching job but could retire and they could live just on his modest salary.

“What, poverty and boredom at a single stroke?,” she retorted, drawing a laugh from this viewer and his own long-suffering wife.

That was it for the “retirement” content as the show had to get back to its ongoing focus on depicting what has to be the most bloodthirsty fictional British village in the entire Commonwealth.

Yet the phrase lingered in my mind, seeing as one of the features we ran in the November issue of MoneySense was “Is Retirement Overrated?” In fact, the phrase brought back a conversation I once had with the Financial Post’s Family Finance writer, Andrew Allentuck, who continues to labour in the trenches of financial journalism even though he has reached the traditional retirement age. “Retirement is boring,” he told me, adding that the financial side of continuing to work is compelling: “The more you work, the more money,” he said, or words to that effect.

So despite all the hype about early retirement, it’s worth mulling over these matters, particularly if you’re not certain you’ve saved enough and if you actually enjoy your job or career most of the time.

Would poverty and boredom be the result of pulling the plug on your career too early? Remember that the theme of this blog is that financial independence does not have to equate to retirement. In fact, I said just that in this recent blog: Do you desire early retirement or just early Findependence?

It’s worth thinking about. Either way, Midsomer Murders is an excellent show. Part 2 of the episode I saw last night airs on TVO next Monday at 9 p.m.

5 comments on “‘Poverty and boredom at a single stroke’

  1. Ersh… For the sake of everyone, some people should pull themselves out of the workforce at the appropriate age! I wonder what makes some think that they're so cherished and valuable, coworkers will want them to stick around 'til they become a withered, old, useless mummy? They'll cry "ageism," but one look at the sour, bored seniors who went back to work here at the front desk of the post office or department store will tell you why they should be retired. They're useless! They're just there for entertainment–to chat with their old friend "Mabel" when she comes in with a package, do the order as slow as possible so they have time to catch up and ask about the grandkids, while everyone else waiting in line fumes because they're on their lunch break and need to get back for a meeting.

    No, get the heck out of the way! You've had your chance. Give some poor kid who really needs a job and a salary a decent paycheque, the potential start of a career, and take your bored butt home where it belongs.


  2. Is it not time for younger people to have a crack at employment. Sick of hearing about all these seniors who are not going to retire.There comes a time when everyone should retire.Usually they are burned out and well past contributing their best to their workplace.There is a hungry generation waiting for jobs so for heavens sake give them a chance.


  3. My husband, after over 30 years at his company retired. I am too young to retire, but took six months off to experience a "trial retirement" and to learn two things; 1) how much money do I need and 2) how will I spend my time.
    I found many times that I was bored, most people my age are working. I think when I do eventually join my husband in permanent retirement, we will downsize. A lot of seniors pay too much in heat and taxes for a big home. I would rather spend that extra money on travel. I found that I needed less money to live for my day-to-day expenses than I thought (no daily commute, less gas expenses and other work-related costs), but more for my travel and leisure activities.


  4. Take a look at the book Beyond Age Rage by David Cravit (BPS BOOKS) to help explain the kind of comments from young people that you are getting here. Boomers are of the Forever Young generation and health issues or pink slips are taking many of them into retirement rather than planned choices.
    Many are taking part time jobs or starting businesses and generally have dynamic lives. Retirement is no longer gold watches and rocking chairs by any means.


  5. Such a great yet interesting post. Thank you very much for sharing this helpful stuff.


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