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What does retirement mean to you?

By Denise Taylor.

Some people still take a traditional approach. They reach company retirement age, and move into a different phase. Look at the advertisements and it’s all about cruises and downsizing. This works for some, but others are looking for something different.

Some have no plans to retire, they want to keep going till they drop! This could be down to necessity, they don’t have enough money coming in but others want to stay in work, but maybe to move to something different where they can continue to learn and develop.

For others, they see it as a gradual process, they may leave employment for a time, but then return later to something different, perhaps part-time, they miss the companionship from work.
Retirement could come earlier than expected due to poor health of yourself or your partner.
What sort of retirement do you want?

Too many people fall into retirement and a couple of years’ down the road they realise it isn’t what they want. There’s still time to change, but it would have been easier if this had been considered in advance.
That’s what I love about pre-retirement education, helping people to think about the rest of their life and create the life they want, considering both work and their wider life.
Areas to consider include:

1. EMPLOYMENT

“Those who work on past the national retirement age live 5 years longer than those who retire early”.
Rather than drift, I like my clients to give this some thought, to consider the different versions of life after a conventional retirement age. Areas to consider include
• Continue with your current employer or a similar role for the foreseeable future;
• Move to something you have always loved to do, even if it means a significant pay cut;
• A move to a less stressful, but hopefully still fulfilling job, perhaps closer to home;
• Part time work to allow more time for other interests.

2. GROWTH AND LEISURE INTERESTS

15% of students in US Community Colleges (studying for degrees or equivalent) are 50+
Your children have grown up, and there can be more time available, so how will you spend it. You could wait till you fully retire or you could gradually move into some wider interests. Think about what you would love to do and start now, and allocate more time later. You may like to consider:
• Take up a new hobby, or allow more time for an area of interest;
• Take a course – academic (part-time degree) or leisure focused (singing; photography; genealogy);
• Read more on everything and anything that interests you but on an informal basis;
• Volunteering, getting more involved with a local organisation or one close to your heart.

3. HEALTH

As we age we notice people of our age having to take medication, or they are no longer as active as they were. You may notice some twinges in your joints. It’s worth taking stock about your health and fitness, do you need to make changes due to health issues. Should you?
• Exercise more or change what you do (if you are starting to get minor niggles);
• Review your diet and eat or drink differently;
• Reduce stress through either what you do or how you think about what you do.

4. RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR PARTNER

If you are going to spend more time at home, what impact will this have on your relationship?
• Do you need to talk with your partner about any impact on your usual routine? In years gone by when I first ran retirement seminars to predominately men with stay at home wives we talked about the impact when you ‘get under her feet’;
• Why not talk with your partner about how you would like your retirement to be. Would it be good to start a new interest together – we took up dancing in our mid/late 50s;
• Are you happy in your relationship – this is a time when some people realise they have drifted so much that they should live apart or focus on regaining the sparkle in their relationship.

5. RELATIONSHIPS WITH ELDERLY PARENTS AND RELATIVES

By retirement our parents are in their later life and may need more help from us. As we age people can get more demanding, so we need to be ready to respond to changes with our older relatives. What can help is to treat their demands with kindness.
• Consider the help we need to give to our parents;
• Consider the relationship that we want to have with them;
• Talk with your siblings and your parents about what will be helpful;
• It’s not just about you doing everything but getting relevant support from agencies.

6. FRIENDSHIPS

It’s in our 60s that we can realise we’ve focused on work to the detriment of maintaining friendships. If this is you, you can make new connections via hobbies and interests such as volunteering.
• Why not get in touch with old friends and rekindle these friendships or use hobbies as a way of making new ones.
• Consider being friends with yourself and seeing time alone as something you appreciate.
Denise Taylor is an award-winning career psychologist who specialises in cutting-edge and innovative career coaching. Denise is the author of You’re Hired! Find Work at 50+ which is available from Amazon and all good book shops.

Read more about Denise at www.the50pluscoach.co.uk
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