‘Retiring’ early from my veterinary practice
I have a problem with the word retirement as it is a legal word and carries with it the implication of the end of employment due to age or infirmity.
I retired from my practice partnership early because I was offered the opportunity to become the President of the RCVS.
The world saw that as retirement because I had ceased to undertake the activities that I had carried out for the last 36 years.
"I have a problem with the word retirement"
I, on the other hand, saw this as a change of direction, a different life, a new direction but equally demanding mentally and physically.
The problem was that it was for only one year and at the end of that year there would be a less demanding year as vice-president and therefore more time on my hands for what?
A quick look at the monies saved as a pension told me that life would not be that easy and given the rate of decline in annuities there was a need to keep on earning.
Diversifying my income
At the time this was all being mulled over in my head, the pub in the village, where I have lived for the last 30 years, came on the market and, with a daughter in the hospitality business looking for new employment, the solution to the retirement employment problem presented itself. Rollup the pension funds into a SIPP, buy the pub, refurbish it and Bob’s your uncle!
Well that is after the woodworm and taking off all the plaster and cutting out the rotten wood and re roofing...and...12 months later it is open for business with a restaurant, function room, accommodation (well I still have to finish that bit!) as well as the all-important bar.
A portfolio career
Meanwhile other veterinary and non-veterinary opportunities have opened up. I am still vetting horses at the sales at Malvern, I continue to do a considerable amount of work for the RCVS and the profession, and I have set up a consultancy to advise on veterinary matters, to resolve disputes by arbitration; and with a second consultancy with four other veterinary surgeons, all of whom have retired early from their previous employment for various reasons, the veterinary work remains as important as ever.
I am building what is known as a portfolio career by applying for various public appointments as seen in the Sunday Times and online, as well as being headhunted for such positions. Maybe in a few years I will retire, but hold the comfy slippers and Saga holidays for now as I am too busy in the next stage of my career!