Do I have to think about retirement?
Working with organisations on breaking down the antiquated linear life model of 'school - work - retirement', we know that different people have different views on what happens after work, and also what they would like to happen. After speaking in depth with people of all ages about retirement, The Age of No Retirement is very clear that what people want most are options and choice. Options which give us hope and optimism about the future, and that provide opportunities beyond the retirement clichés of gardening, grand-parenting, bowls, cruises and volunteering. So that, when we reach retirement age, that there are new possibilities and opportunities that provide purpose and fulfilment for the many years that we still have left. But how do we go about finding what options are open to us? As Nora (who you can see in the film below) said, 'I was always too busy thinking about work, everyday just working for the day. I never had any time to think about the future, or what next.’
We all need help to work out what next, and this is true at every stage of our lives - so retirement should be no different. The work of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in partnership with the Centre for Ageing Better, has developed a fabulous programme to help people think what retirement can really be for them. And it is greatly welcomed. We all need choices at major transition points in our lives, to feel that we are not stuck on a pre-determined life course or stuck in a cul-de-sac fromwhich we can't backtrack. The YouGov report (part of the Foundation's research), asked people in retirement and people thinking about retirement about what they wanted. 1 in 5 said they wanted greater support to help them think about this big life stage. With over half of retired people doing nothing to prepare for retirement, we are surprised it wasn't more!
"I was always too busy thinking about work, everyday just working for the day. I never had any time to think about the future, or what next."
The YouGov study, also showed that one 1 in 5 retirees struggle to adjust to retirement. This is not surprising. When retirement was first introduced, the average life after retirement was 3 years and this was a luxury for the minority. As we are living longer the prospect of a possible 20+ years of healthy living in retirement needs to change our views on what retirement looks like. Two decades is a long time to live without a clear vision of what we want to do, who we want to be. Of course we need help.
The Foundation's workshops provide support for people thinking about retirement. Designed to help people thinking retirement to looks at their skills and abilities, the workshops help them build up their confidence and develop a more positive view of their future. As Nora who attended one of the courses last year said, "it was incredibly useful to discuss with other people my age about how our lives are going, where our lives are heading and what we plan and hope to do in the future".
"1 in 5 retirees struggle to adjust to retirement"
What about the people who don't want to retire? At The Age of No Retirement we are working with organisations to show the befits of older workers and their real desire to keep on working, maybe in a new role, maybe less hours, maybe with new training, but still working. As an older employee at Barclays said to us,
"Someone at 50 has just as much to offer, and just as much potential as someone at the start of their career. The institutional knowledge, the skills and productivity built up over the years, makes me just as valuable, probably more so than someone at the start of their career.”
So, well done to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Centre for Ageing Better for giving us a safe place to consider our options. We look forward to sharing the many inspiring stories of people who have attended your workshops and now look to the future with hope an optimism.
You can read the full report here.