“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Monday, April 16, 2012

Two Years Retired

It's already 2 years since I was allowed to enjoy my "pre-pension". In my case it was when I was 62.5 years old.

Usually in the Netherlands your pension starts with 65 years of age, although there are not so many people who really stop working at that age, but earlier or they are job-less and don't work anyway. On the other hand there are some who like to continue working beyond 65 years.

Just yesterday I read an article about KLM pilots, who retire already when they turn 56 years old. Many of them want to continue, but by KLM policy it is not allowed.

So what does it mean "pre-pension"? Well it is simply a period of time until you turn 65, whereas the employer's pension fund is paying your (reduced) salary, until you get a state pension. Most people these days have two or even more pensions as of 65 years old.

One is a state pension, second is the employer's pension fund and some have even a third pension, e.g. from the ex partner. It's quite complicated, to be honest. By the way it doesn't mean if you have three pensions that you get a lot of money. Usually in total it's 70% or less from your latest salary.

I remember that my previous company organized pensioner courses, where they informed the staff to retire what it means to your life and for your spouse. It seems that many people don't know what to do with their unlimited spare time. Well I didn't have that problem, so I didn't attend the course.

So you might be asking what did you do these 2 years? Well it's not too difficult and if you have read all my blog posts of the last 2 years you will know already. Anyway the following is a brief summary.

A few weeks after my retirement we went to the Philippines to look for a lot to build our house, but there was some hesitation and we postponed the decision to buy and after a couple of months went back to Europe to see if we could find a house there, especially in France, as that was our preference for several reasons.

We found a nice house, but it was over budget and another one was sold before we could say yes. To be honest I am not unhappy that we didn't succeed to find a house, as with all the economical downturn in Europe, the high taxes and crazy regulations about health insurance agreements between Netherlands and other European countries, you pay a lot of fees for health services you eventually can't get.

It seems that older Dutch people living in France with serious health problems and needing health care have to return to the Netherlands if they want to get the care they need. They have to sell their property in France and find a home in the Netherlands again or go straight to nursing if available. And many are not aware that if you want to sell your property in France, you have to pay a very high (transfer) tax.

Next step was that we went back to the Philippines, negotiated a land property (lot) not far from my spouse's family house. I made the design and we started building the fence and house with the help of a relative, being a civil engineer and architect. It was my largest private project I ever did. I worked 6 days a week for 12 months. And next I built our swimming pool, which was finished end of last year.

And I still have to do some other projects, like landscaping, but I can now enjoying every day our swimming pool and house.


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