In Issue 4, Bob Rainbow asked: "What’s the best way to prepare for a useful retirement (in my case, volunteering in the heritage engineering sector)?"
Have a plan. What were your favourite parts of your job, what gave you the most joy? Make a list to see how you can find a way to spend time doing this. Volunteering is an excellent way to achieve this. Maybe think about getting a social-media platform up and running to learn a few new skills and then maybe post a few videos about your knowledge or current projects/passions. Some of the most engaging people on social media are in their eighties, talking about their passions, such as the work they are doing on things as diverse as vintage racing cars, aeroplanes, canal barges, bridges or castles.
Before I retired I made a timetable with five slots a day for seven days a week. I told myself that if I couldn’t fill each slot with something I wanted (or needed) to do then I shouldn’t be retiring. It helped set my budget and gave me a mix of ‘activity’, ‘creative’, ‘teach/volunteer’ and ‘learning’. Be ‘useful’ by all means, but remember to have fun!
Sounds like you’ve already got a plan! Remember that you are doing it for enjoyment! You’ve worked hard all your career to earn this time. Keep your mind active, and always be prepared to share your experience and lessons learned with those around you. I know that there is a lot of knowledge you’ve collected over the years that can still be passed on, even in retirement.
Having just reached the age of 55, I am now thinking about how many years I want to work before retiring, and looking at the things that interest me now (classic motorsports) and how I can get involved in a voluntary fashion as I get closer to retirement. Of course with every retirement there is always the list of works to do around the house.
I would suggest fully maintaining IMechE networks and local involvement. Other personal ‘satellite’ engineering activities can then be brought to the Region or Centre for presentations or visits. Some further expertise can then also flow the other way, into the external activity – win-win, as they say...
Although I am still a few years from retirement (hopefully), I am already thinking about how to remain active, intellectually, physically and work related. I think volunteering is definitely something I would consider, along with a new area of study – possibly a language or musical instrument.
At 29, I’m no authority on the subject but I would completely agree with volunteering. There are some amazing things going on with retired engineers at the heart. I volunteer with an excellent team at the charity Remap and would recommend it to any engineer looking to use their skills into retirement.
The best way is to try to reduce working hours first, particularly if there is a handover period. Use the time to build your interest in those things you want to do in retirement... it’s the actions that have no cost that are worth the most.
Volunteer for your local committee. Take up a hobby. Do an Open University course – there are many free ones. Whatever you do, do not flop out and relax! How many times have you heard successful people say they have never been so busy?!
While you are working, think this one through carefully and do your research, and try things out. When you retire a huge part of your life and reason for living will suddenly disappear. You need to fill that gap in a fulfilling way.
Find a role that interests you, that you will enjoy and means you are contributing something. It is harder to put up with the not-so-nice aspects of a job when you are not being paid to do it.
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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.