What's your problem?

Should I postpone my retirement?

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Q: I'm 11 months off retirement, and I've planned to spend the twilight months of my career easing off and, to be honest, enjoying the benefits that come with having stayed with one business for most of my life. Yet there's a spanner in the works.

The company is close to acquiring a new business and has asked me to oversee its integration and restructuring. They want me to stay on another two years beyond my retirement date. I'm in a dilemma. On the one hand, I am very much looking forward to ditching the 9-to-5. My wife and I have already booked a cruise for the month after I retire. On the other hand, I can't deny I'm tempted to have one last chance to shine. What do you recommend I do?

A: You may have felt you were ready to ease off, but your company clearly didn't. They wouldn't have asked you to undertake this difficult and important task if they weren't absolutely confident that you were the right person for the job. If you turn it down, there's a very real chance that your retirement cruise will be overshadowed by a sense of regret - of a chance not taken.

In many ways, it's a far more difficult decision for your wife - it's certainly not one you can take unilaterally - and she may be implacably opposed to your staying on. If so, that's it. Accept and forget.

But the thought of your being at home all day may not fill her with undiluted joy; so assuming she's at least open to the idea, I'd explain everything to your company and say you'd welcome the challenge, but would it be possible for you to have five weeks' leave before taking it on? That way, you could have a retirement cruise two years before your retirement; and, if you enjoyed it, arrange another one later, having earned a bit of extra money.

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