Statistically-speaking there’s a good chance retirement has begun to twinkle on your horizon.
According to Age UK’s 2016 report “Later Life in the UK” over a third of the UK’s total population are now over 50 years old and the population of over-75s is projected to double in the next 30 years. The reason is the baby-boomers of the post war years are reaching pensionable age. Those born in 1946 already turned 60 in 2005, and the surge will continue until those born in 1964 turn 67 in 2031.
This is a lot of people with extra time on their hands. Now, there are many courses and blogs offering financial advice for retirement, but not so many on how to best use the spare hours in the day. Those approaching retirement may quite rightly be looking forward to saying farewell to the frustrations of rush-hour traffic and office politics. They’ve worked long and hard and deserve an easier life. It may seem like one long glorious holiday from this end, but anyone who’s been fortunate enough to have a two or three week holiday will know there comes a point when you realise you need to get back to work now, need the routine, the purpose, the activity to keep you sane.
Age UK recommend staying active in retirement for the health benefits. None of us wants to be one of those retirees that rapidly declines in health whether physically or mentally. And early retirement is one of the few times in life where you’re likely to have a relative abundance of time, wealth and energy, which is why many newly retired people volunteer for their favourite causes. We know too that people are staying healthier longer, so there may well be many more fruitful years ahead.
Then there’s the whole Christian dimension. It can’t have escaped your notice that many of the Bible’s characters only came into their own in their later years. Moses was approximately 80 and Aaron 83 years old when they led the Israelites out of Egypt. Joshua lived to 110 and spent the last 30 years of his life leading the overthrow of Canaan. In the New Testament Simeon and Anna were both elderly and yet used powerfully by God. For many of us, our retirement years may in fact be the years when we achieve the most.
‘Grey hair is a crown of glory’ says Proverbs, so why do western societies worship youth and ignore the elderly? I’ve heard churches written off as ‘full of old people’ – older people with so much experience, wisdom and willingness to do all the hidden unpaid jobs around the church – true ‘Elders’. As the population becomes more weighted to the mature, let’s hope the Church also becomes more mature.
In the meantime, what will you do with your retirement? Can I offer one suggestion - it’s obvious really, as you’ve probably been asking ‘what has all this to do with Fair Trade and Traidcraft?’ Sell Fair Trade! Just buy anything from Traidcraft at a discounted rate, sell it on at a price you choose, and proclaim the trade justice message to your community. Make the most of your business skills, be active during the day, enjoy meeting and chatting with lots of people, make a real difference to the lives of the poor overseas and set an example to the young.
Here’s to retirement, and an army of Fairtrader Elders!
Full details about becoming a Fairtrader can be viewed at www.traidcraft.co.uk/buy-fair-trade