The prospect of retirement can be daunting for many people. Some are concerned that they will be bored. Others worry that they will no longer have enough money on which to live comfortably. John Bradford, in his latest book, “Making Retirement Work: Getting Old and Finishing Well” answers these and many other questions asked by people entering the twilight of life.
“People are living longer, as life expectancies increase rapidly, and many are retiring earlier,” states the author. “This is compounded by the fact that as the great 20th Century economist John Maynard Keynes suggested by 2030 mankind would be confronted with the greatest challenge it had ever faced: what to do with a sea of spare time when the working week by that time would be reduced to just 15 hours.”
John writers that, “Staying busy is one of the keys to continuing to enjoy life in retirement. Ideally that means having a plan for the transition. It’s important to stay active both physically and mentally and to continue to grow spiritually. However, when you retire perhaps the time for achieving is over. Now it’s time to consolidate and maybe it’s a time to focus on being rather than becoming.”
John admits that looking back there are things he might have or should have done differently but he has no regrets. “Regret is a harmful emotion,” he says. “Nostalgia is a natural and positive emotion.” John says he is blessed to have had a wonderful life. “I was most fortunate to marry somebody 35 years ago who shared my beliefs and passion for adventure. Soon after we were married we moved from Sydney to the Gold Coast with our then two baby children in tow! The best was yet to come.
“Then years later after I retired from the Australian Parliament, Judy agreed to us taking our three children out of school to go and live in Mongolia and work there for the Bible Society. Then we travelled around the world as missionaries for four years after that.” We only came home because our youngest child Lisa was ready to start high school.”
Asked about how the death of his son Tim from cancer in 2015 impacted on him and his wife Judy, John is philosophical: “Tim’s death is still very fresh and indeed painful. Even though we know he is in heaven we still miss him incredibly. He was only 31 when he died. Already I am 72. However, with the passage of time I have come to accept that I must get on with my life and “not grow weary or fainthearted” (Hebrews 12:3b). It’s a challenge I face every day.”
Making Retirement Work is full of advice and reflections based on John’s own experiences. “Many people may not be as fortunate as I have been, but hopefully it will encourage people to look forward to their own retirement and have a positive attitude and outlook on this new phase of life. In other words, I want people to ‘make retirement work for them’.”