Perspective on retirement


Quoted from ‘Stay interested in the world, take on a challenge’ (Mon, Jan 14, 2008 The Straits Times)


If you believe that at 55, you’re retiring, you’re going to read books, play golf and drink wine, then I think you’re done for. So statistically they will show you that all the people who retire and lead sedentary lives, the pensioners die off very quickly.

If the mindset is that when I reach retirement age 62, I’m old, I can’t work anymore, I don’t have to work, I just sit back, now is the time I’ll enjoy life, I think you’re making the biggest mistake of your life.

After one month, or after two months, even if you go travelling with nothing to do, with no purpose in life, you will just degrade, you’ll go to seed.


The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Singapore and elsewhere: Keep yourself interested, have a challenge.

If you’re not interested in the world and the world is not interested in you, the biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete, withdrawal of all stimuli, that’s real torture.

Singaporeans say: ‘Oh, 62 I’m retiring.’ I say to them: ‘You really want to die quickly?’ If you want to see sunrise tomorrow or sunset, you must have a reason, you must have the stimuli to keep going.’

So, his advice is that it’s best to keep on working and challenge oneself physically and mentally. In fact, Mr Lee does not even believe in having a retirement age.