"IT IS dangerous for entrepreneurs to retire. Once I bought a flooring company from two men: the senior partner stepped down from his job after a while, recompense for decades of graft. He 'sank into his armchair and never got up again', said his former partner, and within two years he was dead. As Saul Bellow put it in his novella, The Actual: 'Retirement is an illusion. Not a reward but a mantrap. The bankrupt underside of success. A shortcut to death. Golf courses are too much like cemeteries.'
I agree with David Ogilvy, the original Mad Man, who said: 'The secret to long life is double careers. One to age about 60, then another for the next 30 years.' Ogilvy built up one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, but stepped back from day-to-day management in 1973. Later he lived in a 60-room chateau near Poitiers, but kept a close eye on the business from there. He received so many letters that the local post office had to be upgraded and the postmaster was awarded a higher salary. And in the 1980s he came out of retirement to be chairman of Ogilvy & Mather in India.
I am dubious about traditional retirement because, for most, the dream of golden years of endless leisure proves to be neither fulfilling nor practical. Of course, only some have the energy and ambition to keep going until they drop. But many of us are capable of more than we know. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said when he turned 90: 'The race is over but the work is never done while the power to work remains.'" - Luke Johnson via The Sunday Times