Fintan Monahan

Former General manager, Galway Greyhound Stadium

Fintan previously worked as a business director with various multinational companies operating out of Europe. He semi-retired 17 years ago, becoming a house-husband and full-time parent, before returning to the workforce as General Manager of the Galway Greyhound Stadium for the past 16 years. He officially retired in August 2017.

Before the course, how did you feel about the prospect of retirement? 

I decided at 55 that I would retire at 60. I was quite happy to retire, I felt it was the right time for me. My wife is not following me out, she’s the same age as me. She wants to stay because she enjoys the social interaction of work.

How did you know find out about the course?

In the Greyhound Board, we would have been aware of the RPCI all along. We sent other people on the course. I went on the course just literally as I was leaving the job. I was aware of the RPCI and the good job they do. I knew various people locally in Galway who had done the course. It was considered a rite of passage. If I hadn’t been sent on it, I would have gone on it myself.

Did you find the course reassured you around any concerns about how to manage post retirement?

Yes, we discussed things like identity. I’m very well known in Galway but in that respect, I’m no longer that person because otherwise you’re just a sad person coming back to the office. They stressed that on the course, that you must accept change to your identity as a person.

And the other thing was that we both learned more about relationships. There was one couple, she was retiring, and he was already retired. She admitted, a little bit emotionally, that what drove her insane was questions from him like, where are you going and when will you be back?

The course stressed that you don’t want as a couple to have to spend every hour with each other, you didn’t when you were rearing kids, you didn’t when you were working. It was a wakeup call to me because my wife wanted to broach it. The course prodded us to talk about this stuff. If you don’t discuss these issues, it will cause strife.

How do you spend your time in retirement? 

I have a different view of retirement than most people. My father died at 89. I feel I have 40 years to go! I am a fit 60-year-old, I take the medication, I get checked with the doctor on a regular basis; I keep myself well. I like to sail.

What I intend to do, if I can pass the exam which I’ve done, is go back to college and do a full-time degree in history in NUIG. There isn’t enough emphasis on keeping our minds active.

Did you find the course useful in preparing you for retirement?

To be perfectly honest, the course did exactly what I wanted it to do and did it very well. I can only speak glowingly of the course.

We went on the course with expectations and they more than delivered. I was very happy with the course and I would recommend it. I’d almost go so far as to say it should be compulsory. I saw people there quite angry because they’d finished up at 65 and they didn’t want to. And by the time they were leaving, two days later, they were much more reconciled to the adventure. They had shifted their perspective, that’s very important.

The course comes with a free lifetime support facility. Have you used that? 

I retired in August, my daughter got married in November. And then we went away to the Caribbean in January for a cruise. Then I was practising to do my entrance exam to NUIG in March and get ready to go sailing. Our son is in Sweden, so we want to go there. I have a lot on, so I haven’t had time yet time to be thinking about issues.

What single piece of advice would you give to others approaching retirement? 

If you are doing the course, do it away from your hometown, and if possible bring your partner. I went away from my daily routine, almost a retreat. So, in going to Cork and staying in the hotel, we were able to take time on our own to say okay this is what we want, this is where we are going. So, we had that conversation between us, to crystallise the whole thing down. I had been recommended to do it that way and I’d recommend doing it like that because it gives you time to just talk about your expectations.