Life After Full-time Work Blog

Learn about preparing for life after full-time work through posts from Don's upcoming book.

#82 London Notes

A (final) bit of background on my article in the London-based FT Money publication and an accompanying podcast


As mentioned in the past few posts … Consistent with the themes I’ve been writing about in this blog, I wrote a piece for the London-based Financial Times. I have been an occasional columnist there, writing “The Art of Investment” column, until my perspective expanded to look at psychological as well as financial aspects of retirement. This time the FT featured my piece on the cover of the FT Money supplement on July 20 and in their online weekend edition (

The content won’t surprise you. I mentioned the notion of Life Two as embracing life after full-time work, a  potentially long period and happier than Life One, our grown-up working life. Our brains are actually hard-wired to be happier as we reach this time of life. Ironically, retirement itself acts against this, raising fears that often turn out to be unnecessary.

Hence the benefit of education for Life Two, just as we have education for Life One. But the angles to be covered by that education are different. Not history, mathematics, literature, but psychological (“If I stop work, will I lose my identity?”), practical (“How will I fill my time?”) and financial (“Will I run out of money before I run out of life?”).

Instead of a feeling of dread, education in the lead up to Life Two can inspire confidence. Not “everything’s going to be all right,” because frankly that’s just not credible. But at least we can get rid of the irrational fears.

I added some substance in the article, in the form of supplementary questions to ask oneself that go beyond those three themes, the idea being that there are no answers that are right for everyone, but by constructing one’s own answers to the supplementary questions, one is naturally led to formulate one’s personal plans to cope with the three issues.

And then at least we can feel we’re in the driver’s seat. There are still decisions to be made as to direction and speed, but we’ll feel much more in control.


Claer Barrett, the editor of FT Money and the Personal Finance Editor of the FT, asked me for something practical to include as a sidebar. So, because of the website readership reaction to my piece on talking to your adult children about this phase of life (, I chose some elements from that. She liked it.

She also asked if I’d be in London, because then she could interview me for an FT Money podcast. As it happens, I was coming to the UK for my college reunion, so we fitted in the interview, which formed most of the podcast on July 25 ( Claer was particularly interested in the three existential questions I’d cited that came from George Kinder’s book The Seven Stages of Money Maturity, and along the way we discussed her answers to them.


One of the aspects of writing blog posts and articles is that, as an author, you always wonder whether anybody else is passionate about or interested in the things you write about. It appears that, in fact, some FT readers are.

The FT told me that the article scored nearly 30,000 hits over the weekend (this is high, they said) and the metric the FT considers more important, “time spent on page,” was the highest for any article published on that weekend.


Some readers must have gone further, because I’ve been informed by Mailchimp that my website has added roughly 140 new subscribers. Thank you, and welcome! I encourage you to comment on the posts, and share your thoughts and experiences, so that the Life Two community can continue to learn and grow.


I’m glad to say that my website guys and I are getting close to finalizing the modification of the website to accommodate the (free) companion book Freedom, Time, Happiness, which I hope you’ll enjoy as a collection of thoughts that add to your education and entertainment. It will have about three times as much material as Life Two.


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I have written about retirement planning before and some of that material also relates to topics or issues that are being discussed here. Where relevant I draw on material from three sources: The Retirement Plan Solution (co-authored with Bob Collie and Matt Smith, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009), my foreword to Someday Rich (by Timothy Noonan and Matt Smith, also published by Wiley, 2012), and my occasional column The Art of Investment in the FT Money supplement of The Financial Times, published in the UK. I am grateful to the other authors and to The Financial Times for permission to use the material here.

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