Tim relaunched his career in his fifties when he lost everything to the recession. He went on to work in consultancy and has also launched a successful writing and speaking career. He has recently released his latest book, Generation Cherry, offering inspiration for people approaching retirement.
“I was very successful for much of my life but in my late 40s I hit the buffers and went from being a multi-millionaire on paper to having no job, no income and no pension. I had two kids at the time, aged four and six – so I was shitting myself. Having a young family, you can’t just feel sorry for yourself, you have to get on and do something. So I ended up starting all over again.
We had always tried to keep our children grounded, even when we were wealthy, but then we got to test it out for real. It turns out, thrift can actually be beneficial and cleansing. It’s all about mindset. If you think about it, anything that’s worthwhile is free; music, love, friendship, nature. In retrospect, I am so glad about how things turned out. It taught me that you can go through tough times and come out of the other side better for it.
Today, I think of work as a concept as opposed to a job, given that what I do is so varied. Even post retirement, I would recommend that people spend at least half a day a week earning money. It simply means that you stay plugged into life. Otherwise, you just become a spectator, telling your children how things were. If you work, you’ve got skin in the game, you can still talk with authority and you can help people.
It’s also important to keep learning and growing instead of shrinking and dying. Learning can be as simple as watching a Ted Talk on your laptop or it can be something more complex, like learning a language. Giving is also important – whether that’s volunteering somewhere or just offering your time to someone who needs it. The benefits of giving are unbelievable. It gives you higher self-esteem, more confidence and better communication skills. I’ve been a mentor to prisoners for about twenty odd years now and it’s taught me so much.
Of course, old age isn’t for the faint-hearted – things do fall off, you don’t bounce back as easily anymore – that’s just something we have to put up with. Having said that, I think the most enjoyable age of life always tends to be the one you’re in at the moment. I thought 25 would be the best – but I think mentally I’ve stayed there and am still enjoying it. I do think about death but not in a negative way; if there wasn’t an end point, I think the whole thing would be horrific.
Doing exercise gives me an excuse to abuse myself with food and drink! I have one day off drinking a week and other than that I’ll have a couple of glasses of wine every night. To make up for that, I run, play tennis in Chiswick Park, and swim – although I find the latter exceptionally boring.
I don’t have regrets; all the bad things that have happened have turned out well in the end. I am an enthusiast and I think that’s such an important part of being happy. The same goes for luck – which I have had in spades.
My life motto? Relish the good times, and be grateful for your luck in having them.”