The New Retirement - Work Till You Drop
They had expected to be able to save a load of money in Dubai, but the reality has been otherwise. So with about ten years to go until they retire, they are panicking a little, and have realised that they have to return to the UK, and get paid in Sterling to stand any chance of finishing this mortgage.
Also at the party was a 62-year-old lady who is leaving to return to New Zealand. She owns a property there, but will still need a job to provide income so that she can eat, pay property tax, etc. She is very worried about how she will adapt to her new life - she's been in Dubai for 13 years.
Much has been written in the press in the western world about the impending failure of pension funds and endowment mortgages. These will leave many older people with huge debts and no income in their 'twilight' years.
So, for many people, it looks like the new shape of retirement is that there is no such thing. These folks will literally have to work till they die. In the UAE this is not an option for expats. Residence visas are not renewed for people after their 60th birthday, unless they own a business or a residence.
I was talking with a financial advisor a couple of weeks ago, who asked me when I planned to retire. I said I didn't plan to retire. I'm one of those sad gits who lives to work, and the idea of waking up every morning and doing absolutely nothing is one that I really cannot understand. But yes, in less than 20 years' time, I may well feel differently, so we are saving frantically to build up a big enough cash mountain so that we won't have to starve in our twiglet years. It's so boring being sensible.