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'I don't understand people retiring before their late 60s'

'I don't understand people retiring before their late 60s'

People focusing on retiring early need to be confident that they can not only maintain a comfortable standard of living but also remain happy and content. 

This is the view of now-retired financial adviser and former sole trader Harry Katz, who remained working into his 70s. 

Katz, who ran Norwest Consultants in Stanmore for 25 years, announced his retirement in 2015. He transferred his business to a company called Jonathanfry, which merged later in 2015 with Easby Gale and Phillipson. Katz stayed on as a consultant through the transitional period. 

At the time, he told FTAdviser: “Everyone, including me, reaches a sell by date - much as I would prefer to deny it."

But he has not been inactive, remaining an active contributor to FTAdviser's letters page. He commented that people who retire early after saving up or earning high salaries soon find themselves unhappy, because they do not know what to do with their time. 

He said: "I really don't understand those retiring before late 60s. No one in my family retired before 70 and some went on to over 80."

Referring to a story in FTAdviser in December, where life and pensions giant Aviva said people who retire early tend not to be as happy as those who work later on into their 'golden years', Katz said: "Perhaps the researcher is unaware of the saying, 'Money can't buy you happiness, but at least you can be miserable in comfort'?"

He also expressed bemusement at the plight of footballers and other sporting or musical celebrities who retire from their occupation in their 30s and 40s and risk ending up with a poorer retirement income. 

As reported in FTAdviser, Matt Wotton, executive director, sports, media and entertainment at Coutts, said rising numbers of sports stars in their 30s were seeking professional financial advice.

This was not just to help them avoid some of the high-profile tax traps of recent years, but also to create a financial plan that can see them through to state retirement age and beyond.

Katz commented: "Retiring in your 30s and 40s! Unless you have a serious disability - and it would seem that these sports stars are perfectly healthy - my advice would be to get a job. Any job.

"Keep the significant money you have accumulated and let it work for you, meanwhile contribute the max to a pension that your new job will permit.

"Then when you get to (say) 70 you can contemplate retirement."

In 2021, the former sole trader also revealed to FTAdviser that he had experienced poor insurer responses to his cancer claim following his diagnosis last August. 

Highlighting ongoing issues over poor communication and poor client service during the claims process, Katz said he had faced delays of up to two months to receive any money from both Prudential and Scottish Provident at an extremely stressful and difficult time for him and his wife.