What is a good time to retire?

The Thinker

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About the author :

Born in Kerala and raised in Bangalore, Rohil Menon spent seventeen years in sales with Vazir Sultan and Videocon in India. He then moved to Dubai in 1995 and worked with organisations such as Whirlpool, Fagor, and Bosch in consumer durables sales and project management covering GCC and SEA markets. He has been married for nearly half a century to Sudha with whom he shares two sons, who are now working outside India.

I remember reading an eye-opening article in 2010 about a Japanese line of thinking which said that retiring early was the right thing to do as it would prolong your life.

I easily bought into the idea because it originated from Japan a country I had visited in 1993 (I admired and respected them for multiple good reasons not just Kaizen, Ikigai, Sushi, Shinkazin or Bonsai).

The thought behind it was logical and sound. At least to me. Primarily the Japanese thought that retiring early would give one an opportunity to live life the way one wanted while you are still healthy and fit. Retiring late would hamper your ability to be youthful, to travel, your mobility etc. Thus the Japanese believed, that one would live longer too.

Of course, the inference was also that you plan your working career to make sure that:

  • You saved enough to sustain your retired life and not depend on others
  • You do not have any financial burden on you like loans, mortgage or credit card
  • You cultivate like-minded and good friends in your community
  • You enjoy and cultivate your hobbies and interests (mine were gardening, followed by cricket & music)
  • Travel as much as you can afford to in India (going abroad meant HK & UK as my children were settled there)
  • You didn’t have to get up in the morning and ask yourself “What am I going to do today?

It made a lot of sense to me as who wouldn’t love that life? My last assignment with Robert Bosch was tremendously satisfying, fulfilling and rewarding. I did shed a few silent tears when I left them in 2016.

Was that a good time to quit? I thought so but there was a family emergency which expedited my decisions too.

I retired at 59 (probably two years later than my original plan) and haven’t regretted that decision, by and large. I am able to tick all those boxes mentioned above.

But looking back, I do miss the excitement and edge of my professional life. It’s not about the monthly cheque at all but that sense of belonging, achievement, camaraderie and fulfilment of a sales career.

I am 66 today and I feel I can do my bit for the younger or middle management, and deep dive into strategic sales, sales admin and sales training.


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