Private and Public sector employee
Jimmy O’Driscoll retired nearly five years ago at the age of 65. Jimmy had worked both in the private and public sectors. In his last job, he worked as a trainer with a public services agency teaching electricians and guiding apprentices.
Before the course, how did you feel about the prospect of retirement?
It’s an inevitable thing that’s going to happen. However the good thing was that the Retirement Planning Council of Ireland (RPCI), they were there. They gave me great guidelines and answered expectations that would have been in my mind at the time. A lot of these expectations have been confirmed. They also gave me good things to think about in relation to how one would deal with retirement, like hobbies.
There were also things like finance. It was just a holistically good approach. It was also great that things were left so that if you did come across something later, you had the possibility of getting in touch with them by using the life support scheme facility.
What was your biggest concern heading into retirement?
What was of concern to me was that I had a previous life before I came into the public service. I had worked close on 20 years in the private sector. I wanted to know how that would impact my government pension as against my pension from the public service. Also, I’d worked abroad in the UK. I was able to map out my entitlements, what one would qualify for. I found the invited guest specialists who came in to talk to us were very knowledgeable in their own fields of expertise. They were able to advise us on such things as diet, making a will, or areas of finance we might later be facing into.
How did you know find out about the course?
I was lucky enough to work in a very good organisation that was structured as I was a public servant. Things like development for staff coming up to retirement was available. It was prudent to do so and very worthwhile.
What expectations did you have in terms of what would be covered on the course?
I had expectations that I would be informed and be in a better position to take up retirement. I suppose you could say that the expectations were exceeded. There was more in it, it was very useful.
Did you find the course reassured you around any concerns about how to manage post retirement?
Yes, it was pointed out to us that work is one life, retirement is another life and there’s no point in looking back in the sense of, “If only this, if only that, I should have done this, I should have done that.” It is as it is. But I must say, I have a good network of friendships. I know it is the case that women have, by far a better approach to retirement. They have lots of activities in their life just by their job and maybe when they have children. Whereas men traditionally maybe focus too much on their work to the detriment of themselves.
What did you feel you would miss most about working?
I used to see work as rewarding, and the interaction with people was very good. I personally got great satisfaction from work. I thought I might have problems just shutting it off after retirement. But I didn’t. I took to it.
Were there any surprising elements to retirement?
At the time when I was retiring my wife had already retired, she’d retired early. She left work because her mother who was 98 when she died wasn’t well. Her and her sisters collectively then shared the burden and responsibility of caring for their mother. And so, when I went into retirement my wife was already at home. That took a little bit of adjusting. It wasn’t about her because my wife was a very pleasant person to deal with. Unfortunately, however, my wife is now dead a year I thought we’d have a lot more time. But if there is an upside to it, at least, I was available for her during her illness. She had cancer and I was glad I was retired and available like she had been for her mother.
How do you spend your time in retirement?
I had an interest in Maths and I have pursued that.
I am in a retirement group with people from the organisation that I worked for. There is a nucleus of people there that I would know for 30 to 35 years so it’s not an instant friendship. However, within that bigger group there are people who would be members of the same organisation that I wouldn’t have known. They are nice to meet. You know when you meet during these times, people are always in their best mood.
We are planning a visit to the National Art Gallery soon, I am looking forward to that. We have various things like that, day trips. And because we are now all at the age that we have free travel, we take trips down the country.
Did you find the course useful in preparing you for retirement?
Without a doubt.
The course comes with a free lifetime support facility. Have you used that?
So far, I haven’t seemed to need to contact the RPCI any further. All those things that came up, within the course, those parts around social welfare and credits have been very useful for me. They were an affirmation of what I wanted and proved to be very accurate. I was on the right track in that anyway because I had, luckily enough, got good support and direction from Department of Social Protection. I found them very approachable.
What do you like best about retirement?
Just being in a position that you’re free to make choices. Whereas I didn’t realise how much time work took up. I started off at half past eight in the morning. I would do a lot of preparation for work. I always put in long hours and then when I’d be at home, I might be doing some preparation on the computer and that might take late into the evening. I was always like that in all my years of work.
What single piece of advice would you give to others approaching retirement?
I would say, do the course particularly if you haven’t satisfied yourself that you’re ready for retirement.