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Meet Tony Ong

Married with 3 working adult children, more than 30 years in management position, started this website after reading about "neverTirees", begins to research on the history of retirement, study on the subject of longevity, meaning of work and how the trend of white collar GIG economy will impact the future of work.  

The founder of Ford Motor Co, Henry Ford, once said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

I was right for 49 years of my life that “only those who are crazy and have nothing better to do will choose to run a full marathon” – getting up before the sun is up (Standard Chartered Marathon), or running through the night (Sundown Marathon), putting the body through a grueling 42km trot.

I was also right from 10 years ago that “most people can complete a full marathon with proper guidance” – I completed my first half marathon in December 2011 at age 50 and went on to complete 13 full marathons.

A mindset shift

You may ask, what triggered this paradigm shift?

A survey from Barclays Wealth Insights called “The Age Illusion” in 2010 challenged my retirement paradigm and caused me to embrace risky as my new safe. Within the next two years, I moved from a corporate career to a failed partnership, and am now a director for FAR Development with the largest independent FA .

I even went further to launched  a website for like minded people to Journey Together beyond retirement funding to legacy planning.

The same survey found to their surprise that more than two-thirds of 2,000 high-net-worth individuals interviewed had decided never to retire. Hence, a new word was coined “nevertirees”.

Why are people adopting

the neverTiree mindset?

Key reasons for their nevertiree mindset are that:
1) People are living longer;
2) Medical costs are getting higher; and
3) Investment returns are becoming more uncertain.

Hence, they have decided to continue to be economically productive, paying taxes, creating jobs and growing their wealth. Retirement may mean to some to continue on working.

Singapore is facing the challenge of a ‘silver tsunami’ – the population is ageing and retiring. Retirees have more time on their hands than the sum total of activities that organisations can possibly provide. The solution is not to create more activities but to reduce the time in people’s hands through gainful employment – turning them from liabilities to assets in the nation, turning the ageing population graph of an inverted pyramid to an ageing economic graph in the shape of a diamond, and turning the traditional retirement mindset to the new normal – a nevertiree mindset.

The concept of retirement

The concept of retirement is a relatively new one – less than 100 years old. It all started during the Industrial Revolution, where older workers were slowing down the automation process. Hence, the need to encourage these older workers not to work while still getting paid was birthed, and most of these workers were lucky to live just a few more years after stopping work. The future cannot be a linear extrapolation of the past. In Singapore today, you won’t be paid if you do not work, and increased life expectancy means that today’s retirees are faced with 20 to 40 years after their working lives, the question is whether or not they have the money to fund it.

The landscape is fast changing, the new normal is to have ‘Financial Retirement’ and ‘Physical Retirement’ moving in opposite direction, we should plan to achieve ‘Financial Retirement’ as early as possible, however we should resist retirement like mad.

Questions to ask ourselves

Questions we should ask ourselves:
At what age you want to stop eating?
At what age you want to stop sleeping?
At what age you want to stop being useful?
At what age you want to stop working?
WHAT IF working = get paid for being useful?
THEN, at what age you want to stop working?

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