By Robert K Stephen
(TORONTO, ON) – In today’s world, not many of the younger generation know what a paycheque is, as almost all salary is paid by electronic deposit, but being an aged person, on the verge of penniless pensioner status, please humour me a bit and permit me use the term paycheque.
As you approach your retirement date, you may find yourself a slave to the paycheque. You are used to it and have been so for years. Take it away and you are in unchartered waters.
In fact, you may be facing a perplexing anxiety of how your life will be without that paycheque. And I bet there is an abundance of fear that you will be eating cat food.
But wait a minute.
Could it be said you are a slave to that paycheque? Could it be you are like a heroin addict, so hooked into the next paycheque you can’t see reality? Is your reality exhaustion and unhappiness at work, and the only reason you are there is for that paycheque?
Is your health declining due to your advanced age and diminishing ability to handle stress? Are you so desperate for that paycheque that you are willing to die for it?
Imagine life without that paycheque.
Instead of thinking about poverty, of being a penniless pensioner, can you not think about it as the next step in life? A step of liberation from the workplace and its potential toxins?
Does mankind in the industrialized world work to kill themselves?
Now, it’s nice to talk about all this theory of liberation, but let’s say you continue to work in a stressful environment, where outsourcing and downsizing are the rules, are you facing an increased risk of heart attack and stroke? Then we are not talking theory but life.
Where matters get particularly ugly is where the leap into a pensioner’s life, which is indeed penniless. If you can’t maintain a decent lifestyle, because you have not saved, contributed to your RRSP/TFSA, and pension plan (assuming you are lucky to have one), a life without a paycheque becomes increasingly terrifying.
It is terrifying to retire and yet may be equally terrifying and dangerous to continue working.
“Caught in a trap and can’t look back,” as Elvis used to sing.
The lust for that paycheque may have you expending all your energy into getting that paycheque.
Have you thought about what you are going to do as a pensioner? Have you planned, years before retirement, to develop a hobby or out of work social network? Not having that paycheque and not having developed any plan for post retirement leaves you exposed to boredom and ill health.
Yes, those pensioners with nothing to do, no integration into the community, face a higher mortality rate than community involved pensioners.
Being a penniless pensioner is not only about finances; it’s about attitude and involvement. Being a penniless pensioner is even worse if you have a penniless soul.