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Didier Wampas, “happy retiree” since the age of 50

While the postponement of the legal retirement age could increase to 64 years, how could you become retired at the age of 50?

When you do a job that doesn’t interest you much and is a little hard, you want to leave. So I left the RATP where, for 30 years, I did the 3 x 8. And when you do the 3 x 8 at the RATP, you earn one year of pension rights every five years. This is why I was able to leave at 50.

You benefited from the special RATP pension scheme, due to the arduous nature of your job. How was this painful?

For one week, you work at night, then the next week in the morning and the next in the afternoon. You also work every other weekend and on public holidays. With such a pace of work, you are completely out of step.

Retired, how much do you receive today?

I have a decent pension. While I was earning €2,300 per month at the RATP (including bonuses), I now receive around €1,900, a sum taking into account my years spent at the RATP, but also my Sacem contributions and those for concerts. If we add the fees for the concerts that we continue to give, today, I get around €3,000 a month.

Do you feel privileged to have retired so early?

Yes, there are so few people who can do it. Today, I am a happy retiree: I make music, I give concerts, I practice kayaking and cycling…

Retirement is like when you work… except you don’t work anymore

What are the pros and cons of retiring at age 50?

First of all, you don’t work anymore, even if I, on my side, still have one job left: music. I don’t see any disadvantages in retiring early, except, perhaps, those who have no activity and who find themselves alone in their house with their wife. There are plenty of people who have it badly. Among them, I know some who have taken up a little job because they couldn’t see themselves doing nothing. Others take part in the life of associations, but it is clear that the associations currently lack volunteer retirees because, as the latter are leaving later and later, they are at the end of their rope and they can’t take it anymore.

Real name Didier Chappedelaine, the former RATP trained the Wampas 40 years ago (Photo Le Télégramme)

What have you been able to achieve when you retired at 50 that you could not have done if you had worked until 60 or even beyond?

First, I was able to move to Sète (Hérault), by the sea. In Paris, the rents are outrageously expensive. Without the concerts during confinement, I don’t know how I could have paid the rent if I had stayed in the capital.

Why did you say: “Retirement is like when you work… except you don’t work anymore”?

In retirement, you have a salary at the end of the month, but you don’t have to get up at 6 a.m. to go to work.

Just because I’m already retired doesn’t mean I don’t have to think about others

What do you think of the wind of protest currently blowing against the pension reform project?

I understand the protesters. When you have an uninteresting and hard job, your only hope is to wait until retirement. And when then you are told that you have to work two or three more years, you say “no”. I find that the organization of work and management are completely absurd today. It feels like they don’t want people to be happy in their jobs. I demonstrated on January 19 in Sète and I will be in the streets again on January 31. Just because I’m already retired doesn’t mean I shouldn’t think of others.

A comment on the postponement of the legal retirement age to 64?

If everyone had an interesting job, there would be fewer problems. But there, given the state of the labor market, people, who have reached the age of 62, are exhausted. Before being hired at the RATP, I worked for a year and a half at the factory and I don’t see how I could have stayed there until I was 62, or even 60. It was too hard and too tiring.

Why did you choose to spend your retirement in Sète and not in a Breton city, like Spézet (29) where you have family?

Not only is real estate expensive in Brittany, but here, in Sète, there is sunshine. In Sète, they didn’t want to rent me accommodation. So I went to the bank, which granted me a loan to buy an apartment, a loan that I will finish repaying at the age of 70!

Formed 40 years ago, Les Wampas will be in concert in Vannes this Thursday, January 26, in the evening, at the Echonova in Vannes, and Saturday, January 28, at the Schmoul Festival, in Bain de Bretagne (35)

letelegramme Fr Trans

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