Sunday 13 May 2012

Noise Cancellation And Retirement

Have you seen some passengers wearing their own noise cancellation headphones while travelling by air?

I think is super cool and a better way to "drown-out" ambient noise than to pump up the volume. It's better for the health of your ears and the "happiness index" of the passenger sitting next to you ;)

I remember watching a documentary on how it's done. Instead of blocking or minimizing the pesky ambient noise, these speakers emit another sound that produce a wave length that is the direct opposite. 

Presto! Silence. (Please don't ask me about the science. Mine is a layman's understanding) 

I've noticed that there are now more reported divorces amongst couples 65 and beyond in Singapore. Japan had a head start over us. 

I remember reading 10 years ago that more Japanese elderly women are divorcing their retired husbands. It's manageable when these housewives only see their husbands in the nights and early mornings; but to have their retired husbands all day in the house is simply unbearable!!!

These housewives reminisce longingly when their husbands would spend their weekends with their golf buddies, but now are no longer fit for golf... Bad backs, bad knees... Ahhhh!!!

Perhaps instead of avoiding each other or going at each others' throats in their twilight years, if only these retired men can continue with hobbies or activities that take them outside the house during the day.

And that's what most of us forget.

We spend all our working lives planning our career moves and growing our passive cash flows to secure our "golden age" retirement.

I am not sure about the golden part... I thought our golden age is when we are young, fit, and healthy? For women it's in their 30s and men it's during our national service days. Or am I mixing sexual prime with golden age?

Anyway, back to life after retirement. The non-financial bits.

Don't assume your work buddies will be around to keep you company:

1) Colleagues may still be working (and you now no longer have networking benefits to offer)

2) Friends may no longer be in good health or they may have moved on to a better place

3) You may have become a grumpier and angrier bitter you. (And you wonder why people don't like your company?)

Imagine after years of "after thought", you now starts to "care" how your wife should do the laundry, tend to the garden, or how she does her marketing?

I know. I've made the same mistake after my return. 7 years of independent living has spoiled me. 

I am now a Zen minimalistic guy who hates clutter; while mom is the same mom when growing up - she's a hoarder and never throws away anything!

So you can imagine the tensions she must have felt. The joy of having me back must have lasted only a few weeks until I start secretly throwing away her stuffs. LOL!

We now have our peace. My room she don't touch. And I become "blind" when I step out of my room. 

She has not changed; I have.

People first, things second.

Guess what? The reason I can "see" everything in the house was because I was too free! Or to be precise, spending too many hours in the house.

Glad I'm back to my usual mix of activities. For that scary few weeks in the wilderness of not knowing what to do, it's not fun I assure you :(

Who knew that life after retirement is not about doing less?

It's like the noise cancelling technology - we need to come up with activities that can cancel out the ambient noise of: 

a) Boredom 

b) Sense of lose
c) Diminished self-worth 
d) Desire to be needed

You can add your own to the list above!

Whether it's early or normal retirement (whatever that means), there's more to it than the financial part. 

The soul bit is just as important ;)



  1. Seriously I am thinking too. How to retire without kena arrowed to do houseworks? Any ideas LOL!

    1. There is a price for freedom. Get a maid la! That's what I did.

    2. YJ72,

      When in Shanghai, I didn't even engage an "ah yee" when it was dirt cheap.

      I'm already a ma ma's boy. Lucky Shanghai trained me up... LOL!

      At 37, I ironed my own clothes for the first time. Shrunk 2 woollen pullovers in the dryer, stained my white shirts by mixing coloured clothes in the washer, and many more funny "accidents"...

      Now I'm trying to be the handy man back in Singapore. Create more damage then ask the professionals for help!


      What to do? Time is on my side; and I need to keep myself occupied!

  2. Hi SMOL,

    I also say.

    "We often love things and use people when we should be using things and loving people."

    Passive income: A higher purpose.

    Had a very nice outing with my family today as we had Mothers' Day lunch at Din Tai Fung.

    Life should be simple and about spending time with people we love. Family is more about love and less about logic. Sounds easy but could be harder in reality. :)

    1. Yes AK!

      In investing, we try to be more logical and less emotional.

      When it comes to people, it's better to be have empathy and less about who or what is "right" ;)

  3. LOL! I enjoyed this blog, Jarred. I totally understand about hoarding! Gosh, it's sad that people have had to divorce when they retire. I can understand, but so sad!

    1. Ronian,

      LOL! The inspiration came after I added my comment to your blog this morning :)

      Now I know why I got F9 (flunk) my physical science at O' levels. My mine can go off tangent really quick!

  4. Hi SMOL

    I am one of those guy that use my noise canceling head phone whenever I am on a flight. Recently, I commented to one of my friend that whoever invent a noise canceling Hi-Fi system will be filthy rich. Imaged canceling noise from the traffic, nearby construction, noisy neighbour, nagging wife....

    1. YJ72,


      Reminds me of the movie "Click" by Adam Sandler ;)

  5. Hi SMOL

    Hope that you've managed to find that "thing" that occupies you during semi-retirement :-)

    Be well and prosper.

  6. HI SMOL,
    Isn't stock investment keep you busy enough? And your blogging too? Thank goodness, we have a prolific writer like you that keep us busy and "entertained".
    And yes Japanese people especially those living in Tokyo never go home after work until past midnight. Now you know why they need to "invent" KARAOKE. When i were there, the Japanese brought me out every night to KARAOKE or somewhere to drink until late into the night.
    And yes it may to late after a man retire then try to be a close companion to his other half. Too late. But the Japanese seems to have very little choice.

    1. Temperament,

      You've made me very happy! Thank you!

      The magic word is "entertain". That I can do!

      I'm living quite a few "fantasy roles" now - DJ, aunt agony, story-teller, critic, social commentator, photographer, "poet"...

      OK, OK! Take you finger out of your mouth; don't choke and vomit all over my blog!


  7. I know not about life after early retirement, but I already know bad backs and bad knees. Lol!

    1. thepotatotimes,

      Ai yeah! Wasted I not into health supplements MLM... If not sure sell you glucosamine and what not.


  8. Be a taxi driver... Can drive till 75... Lol
    One uncle I see he say he want retire but nothing to do at home, so he continue driving.. Not scare of being senile as brain still working, his words, you think so easy to find 3 other legs for mahjong ?

    1. Yes Kappo,

      I've met quite a few interesting taxi uncles who were ex-MD, ex-GM, etc.

      I'm actually a bit like taxi-driver now. Hitching free rides in the markets for kopi-money.

      And like taxi-driver, I am meeting interesting characters in cyber-space. I like the way you talk in cbox ;)

      Very interesting!

  9. Replies
    1. Yes, I may get one when I am all alone one day ;)

      My HDB estate has many uncles and aunties with cute small dogs. I shy away from the big dogs. Frighten, frighten. LOL!

      Having said that, I also like to "meow" the neighbourhood stray cats. Each HDB block has their own strays. The cats have marked out their territory. So interesting!


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