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My Dad’s Dream Retirement

My dad recently retired after a long career in finance. He was made redundant, so at the age of 63 he initially took the break as a practice run, thinking he’d return to the office after a couple of months off.

But he hasn’t. He’s enjoyed retirement so much that he’s remained firmly off work, away from the hubbub of his old job in Canary Wharf.

It’s quite magnificent, looking at the things he’s accomplished in the 12 months he’s been retired. He’s trained hard for the Ultra Trail Monte Blanc, a single-trail ultra-marathon (whatever that means), sometimes walking in excess of 15 miles daily. He’s learned new skills like wood carving and etching. He’s spent time helping his grandchildren learn their spellings, walking them to school and taking time to read books together. He’s bought a camper van and travelled all over the UK with my long-suffering mother.

Meanwhile, sometimes I can’t get through a day with remembering to brush my hair.

The journey into retirement hasn’t been as easy as “draw a pension, do lots of fun things”, though. As dad has retired earlier than the usual – he doesn’t want to access his pension for another couple of years – he’s had to get creative with ways he can afford to do all the travelling and whittling he wants for the foreseeable.

To do this he’s been accessing a couple of online tools, perhaps with the help of his extremely internet-literate daughter . SunLife have a few such tools on their website to assist with financial wizadry, with my favourite being the ‘Dream Shopping Basket‘ web gadget.

It’s super easy to use: all you do is flick through the tabs to find the activities or life goals you want to achieve (either inside or outside of retirement) click on them and create your own ‘Dream Shopping Basket’ for the future! SunLife calculate the funds you’d need to execute these dreams and, bob’s your uncle, you take it from there.

For instance I think I’d choose a dream holiday (Disney World), new car and, oooh, new kitchen if I were to look at the things I’d like to access in the next five to ten years. Hey Presto! I’ll need a pot of £31,500 for my dreams.

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As for Dad, I wonder what he’s going to get up to for the rest of his retirement? As much as he’s a real talent when it comes to the wood carving he’s adamant he’s only interested in it as a hobby – I offered to get him a business set up on Etsy and he politely declined – but he’d like to attend a few workshops to hone his skills here. Plus he’s got plans to take the camper van on a long trip driving through France and maybe even Spain.

Whatever he gets up to I think he’s thoroughly happy to have waved goodbye to the world of work and I am equally as proud of him that he’s managed to carve (haha, get it?) such a fun and interesting life post-retirement.

I might be doing a little more reading and a little less walking when it comes to my own retirement from work, but I hope life for me in my 60s is just as accomplished.

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