Bob Howatt is well into retirement age, but he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Bob, a Tasman local who is a supervisor for Fulton Hogan is just shy of 70, but “retirement is not on the cards,” he says. Bob has worked for the company for 28 years, and when he hit 65, he knew that retirement was not an option. “To put it simply, I love what I do. Why would I stop?”

Caroline Budge, manager of Age Concern Nelson Tasman, says that it’s important that people at retirement age have the option to keep working or volunteering. “Because people are living longer and better, the concept of giving up work at 65 is too early. People want a reason to get up in the morning.” Caroline says that it’s important that we recognise that older people still have a place in society.

“Older people still have a valid place in society, they have a lot to give.

“A lot of people are living into their 90’s, so that’s a long time after retirement. “

Bob says that even at retirement age, he needs something to keep him going. “It keeps me active; it keeps my mind active. I’m using my mind every day.” Bob says that he’s seen friends hit retirement age and stagnate. “Suddenly you just stop.

“I’d like to carry on until my body tells me to stop really.”

It’s important to be able to pass on knowledge to younger staff as well.

In last year’s Age Connect Champions awards, the winner in the 60+ Employer category was Fulton Hogan. Paul O’Meara, Bob’s regional manager, says that “you can’t underestimate experience.”

“Nelson has a lot of people over 65, and a lot of them want to keep going even after they hit retirement age.”
Paul says the experience that older people bring to the workplace is ‘invaluable.’

“People like Bob, who have been in their job for over 20 years, you just can’t underestimate what they know and the experience that they bring.” While Bob knows that he won’t be able to work full time forever, he’s keen to keep going for as long as he can.

“I love what I do. And that doesn’t stop when you hit retirement age, so I keep going,” says Bob.

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