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MoneySense Q4 2020 Redefining Retirement Features Bill Luz

After retiring from the Makati Business Club, Guillermo “Bill” Luz pursued new challenges promoting corporate social responsibility, making the country more competitive, responding to disasters, and fighting an ongoing pandemic.

Bill Luz doesn’t do retirement.

He has a storied career that spans over three decades, working in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors. He has been involved in a diverse range of domains from business, technology, politics, and education to arts and culture, global competitiveness, and disaster response.

“I’ve always wanted to remain busy doing something interesting, so I suppose I will keep to that pattern. There are a lot of interesting things do in life,” Bill shares.

That pattern shows a career in stages, handling work for long stretches before retiring to do another set of projects or assignments. This has taken Bill on a journey working for prestigious institutions, such as Makati Business Club (MBC), Ayala Foundation, and SGV & Co., as well as national organizations including NAMFREL, National Competitiveness Council (NCC), and Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF).

If there’s one person who has successfully straddled these different sectors for the benefit of the country, it’s Bill Luz. And as he has no plans to retire, the Philippines is all the more better for it.

Editorial: Say Goodbye to Retirement

If your retirement fund has been decimated by the steep decline in the stock market, the higher vacancy rates in the real estate market, or rampant job losses and business closures, here’s the cold, hard truth: deal with it.

If you’re supposed to retire now or soon, even if most of your nest egg are in safe government bonds or time deposits, you may want to consider delaying your retirement. In a crisis like this, cash is king.

In fact, forget delaying retirement. How about retire never?

Retirement is for really old people. These days, 60 or 65 isn’t old. Old is 75, 80, 90. That means you still have 10 to 20 productive years ahead of you. Why waste them on retirement?

If you do a bit of research, you’ll find out the concept of retirement was introduced in the late 19th century in Germany to address the high youth unemployment at that time. Promising to pay a pension to older workers, 70 and up, served as an incentive for them to leave the workforce to make room for younger people. It was easy to make that promise because the average lifespan was 70 years.

These days, we’re expected to live longer and healthier. So why should we even retire?

Besides, what pension can we expect from the government? It’s a pittance. Unless you’re a C-level executive at a large corporation, your retirement benefits will not last that long. And if you haven’t been saving and investing diligently towards your retirement, you can’t afford to stop working.

That’s just the financial side. There are also physical and psychological effects of retiring. The Institute of Economic Affairs found out that “retirement increases the chances of suffering from clinical depression by around 40%, and of having at least one diagnosed physical illness by 60%.” In other words, retirement is bad for your physical and mental health.

But you’re tired from working, you say. You want to spend more time with your family, you say. You want to start your own business, you say. Or you want to take more and longer vacations, you say.

These are all great reasons. But retirement is not the only answer. Here are some alternatives:

DO PART-TIME WORK. You can simply cut back on your work hours by working part-time. You can do contractual or project-based work that runs for a few months. You can work as a consultant. You can also find freelance jobs. There are so many options online.

TAKE A SABBATICAL. Sometimes all you need is a break from work. Some companies offer paid or unpaid sabbaticals. Or if you’re a business owner, you can hand over temporary rein to a trusted manager for a few months. Once you’re ready to go back to work, you’re more refreshed and revitalized.

SHIFT CAREERS. If you’re sick and tired of what you’re doing now, and you can’t wait to quit, maybe a change in careers is your answer. You can try a new path that’s more in line with your interest and passion. You can simply transfer your skills and apply your experience to a new career. And if it’s totally new and different, invest in upskilling yourself.

BE A DIGITAL NOMAD. This is a growing trend worldwide. Digital nomads move from country to country working on projects or doing full-time remote work. Although it’s more in line with the lifestyle of young, single, and tech-savvy people, there’s no stopping you from trying it out, especially if you’re single or your kids have grown up.

START A BUSINESS. While it’s not risk-free, being your own boss means you control when, where, and who you work with. There are many low-capital, home-based, or online businesses you can start.

The important thing to remember is as long as you are physically and mentally capable, keep working. By all means, save and invest as much as you need to support yourself in case you become unable to work. But as long as you’re able, keep working.

So, once and for all, just retire the idea of retirement.

Heinz Bulos – Editor-in-chief

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