Now that you’ve retired, how are you spending your time?
My two years of retirement have been a game of two halves. Year one was incredible, we travelled and did some trips that we had been planning for a while. For example, we took the kids and their partners on a luxury trip to Port de Pollenca, which is our “happy place” and we also went on a luxury river cruise.
Year two has been a bit different because of COVID but following a health issue two and a half years ago, I have really focused on trying to look after myself, so I’ve joined the local cycling club and tend to get out on the bike 2-3 times a week. I rode around 5,000 miles in 2020 and feel fitter and healthier than I have done since I was in my thirties. Joining the cycling club has been great as it provides some camaraderie, which is something that I found I missed when I finished work.
One of the things I missed when I retired was the mental stimulation involved within the work place. I've replaced this with reading more, watching documentaries and completing an online course on medieval history, a subject which has fascinated me over the last few years. It’s been brilliant having the time to invest in such areas and I’m planning to do further courses this year.
For me, the magical part of retirement is that there’s no schedule or school night and the real luxury in retirement is having the time and ability to make choices. For example, I spent 4-5 months helping my son, Chris, renovate a property, which was something I wanted to do before retirement. I’ll be able to do the same when (or if!) my daughter ever moves out. The best thing has been having the ability to spend time with my loved ones. Notwithstanding all of that, there’s still the mundane tasks so, for example, we have Monday as ‘jobs’ day to do things like cleaning and food shopping, which means the remainder of the week is free for the fun and productive stuff!
What did life look like for you before you retired?
I really loved my professional life. Prior to retirement I was Managing Director of a local Financial Planning firm in Cheshire, Jones Sheridan, which was consequently sold to 1825 in July 2016. A typical week in the last two or three years of working would tend to involve a couple of days travel, usually to either Edinburgh or London, lots of meetings and social events. If I’m honest work became far too big a part of my life and we were fortunate that my wife, Louise, was able to retire and take responsibility for things at home, which allowed me to focus on the business.
I loved the life I was living but it was incredibly busy and, with hindsight, there was very little work/life balance, which did impact my health and the amount of time I spent with my family.
What was your greatest career highlight?
This is quite an easy one for me; there are two which spring to mind:
First – when I joined Royal London aged 21, after a year or so I was promoted to Assistant Branch Manager in Crewe- I was the youngest ABM at that stage in the Company’s history. Its only when I look back that I realise what I actually achieved in those early years.
Second - I joined what became Jones Sheridan in 2006, at the time there was just one other person in the business that worked part-time in administration. We consequently sold the business in 2016 and over that ten-year period I was involved in growing the business into a company with a multi-million-pound turnover that employed around 50 local people in a nice working environment. I’m really proud of the part that I played in developing the business.
What were your concerns before retiring and how do you feel about them now?
My plan was always to retire at 55, primarily because my dad sadly had cancer at age 60 and died at age 65. I had a clear idea that I wanted to retire at 55 but I didn’t really think about what life would look like in retirement, so I didn’t really have many concerns as such. That meant that my life changed quite drastically almost overnight, and if I had my time again, I would have sought further expert advice and guidance which would have made the transition smoother and quicker. I have actually thought about setting up a small consultancy business, offering such advice to senior managers and entrepreneurs.
What plans are you looking forward to most, post the pandemic?
I’m very much looking forward to returning to some form of normality so that we can spend more time with friends, start to travel again and we’re also looking for our dream house.
Has the pandemic changed your outlook on retirement and if so, how?
No, I’m happy I retired when I did. It has given me time to reflect on what’s really important and it’s not money, personal chattels or the car. It’s people, friendships and health. We lost a really good friend of mine in his early 50’s just before lockdown and it’s made me realise that without health, we have very little. For me, health is the most important thing, and that means looking after your physical and mental health, having healthy relationships and healthy finances. I’m a realist and I appreciate that we are so fortunate that we don’t have to really think about money and that is such a luxury.
What one piece of advice would you say to somebody who’s considering retirement now?
You’ve got to have a plan and for me I worked meticulously to achieve that plan. I didn’t let anything get in the way. And try to achieve that magical state of work / life balance - something I failed badly to achieve!
If, like Dave, you’re ready to change gear and replace the working cycle with retirement and adventure, let us give you a steer. At 1825, we specialise in helping people plan for the retirement they have always dreamed of. We’re here to help you start that journey today.
Please get in touch with us at www.1825.com/contact-us.
The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice. Remember, a pension is an investment and, as such, its value can fall as well as rise and could end up being worth less than was paid in.