In the past couple of years, 87-year-old Brenda Palmer has had a private meeting with Australia’s Prime Minister; rung the bell at the Sydney Stock Exchange (SSX); and spoken at a Coles Annual General Meeting (AGM). That’s quite a resume for someone who works at the checkout at the Coles supermarket in Malvern—a suburb of Melbourne.
Most people have their retirement sorted by the time they reach 82. And, if you’re able, working on is an option. Maybe at a more relaxed pace. For many, that’s a great way to spend their retirement years.
When he was 60, Alan Funk retired and turned his hobby into a small business. Twenty years later and he’s still making and selling White Swallow banjos. His story could help you think about what you could do in retirement.
‘I suspect as a kid I had ADHD,’ says Marion Shields with a laugh. ‘When I was a kid it was a pain because I was always in trouble at school, but now it has stood me in good stead and I will say to the students in class, “As a 71-year-old I know what I’m talking about.”’
At 73 years of age, Ingrid Pich brings a lively presence into a room—any room. We meet in a kitchen/lounge in the complex where she’s just finished conducting an exercise class. She tells me later she’s a ‘high-energy person’. That’s obvious from the start.
Two stories tell of different approaches to retirement. In this podcast we talk about Brenda who refuses to retire and Anne who retired and has become busy volunteering. What will your retirement look like?
David Winter is a softly-spoken 81-year-old who has been working as a psychiatrist for more than 50 years. Actually, he doesn’t call what he does ‘work’—he sees it as a vocation.
Marjorie Shackleford tried retirement once and didn’t like it. I caught up with her when I was writing Refusing to Retire. She’s one of those people who should keep working.
Back in the late 1960s, Alan Funk bought his first banjo. It cost him $50. ‘I soon worked out why it was $50,’ he says. ‘It was the greatest heap of rubbish. It was a terrible banjo, and I thought, I could build a better one than this. So I did.’
Brenda Palmer is a bit of a celebrity. She’s often in the local papers and occasionally in major papers of Melbourne and elsewhere. She’s appeared on television several times. Palmer is a Coles supermarket checkout ‘hen’. She has become an identity because, at the age of 84, she has worked in the local Coles for 48 years.