Sunday, January 15, 2006

retirement, preparing for

Retirement is a time of change and adjustment for older people. No longer are there pressures of work, and the demands and deadlines that had become almost routine parts of daily life have passed. Even with these changes retirement comes as a long-awaited goal for most. For a rare few, however, leaving work is a traumatic experience involving loss of status, aimlessness, lowered self-esteem, and a feeling of no longer being needed. While the retirement transition is usually made quite easily, a fully satisfying life after leaving the workplace does require anticipation and planning. Failure to plan and prepare for retirement results in having an inadequate income unprotected from inflation, poorly conceived late-life goals, and boredom caused by inactivity.
A number of major business corporations now conduct preretirement planning programs for their employees, and a host of books and "how-to" manuals are available to assist individuals in independently educating themselves for maintaining an active, interesting, and successful life. These sources suggest a step-by-step process for designing a retirement plan. The major elements of the process involve:
1. Assembling needed background information on financial matters, housing, fitness and health, and use of leisure time
2. Talking things over with others, such as present retirees and professional counselors, who can contribute ideas and perspectives
3. Defining a realistic, specific, and personal set of goals for retirement income, health and fitness maintenance, housing, and use of leisure time
4. Putting goals and plans into writing, and reviewing these from time to time.
Many people feel that having leisure, freedom, and independence are the best features of retirement. Not only does life after work allow time for amusement, recreation, and travel, but it offers new opportunity to exercise talents and engage in hobbies. Volunteer work may also become possible for the first time, opening new areas for motivation and personal satisfaction.
People who profit from retirement view this period as a bridge from one stage of life to another, building upon past experience to face a new and challenging phase of life. They succeed in making the retirement years have as much purpose, meaning, and joy, as any stage of life.
Atchley, R. C. Social Forces and Aging, 4th ed. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1985.
Deedy, J. Your Aging Parents. Chicago: The Thomas More Press, 1984.
Fromme, A. Life After Work. Glenview, Ill.: AARP,1985.
Harris, I., and Associates, The Myth and Reality of Aging. Washington, D.C.: The National Council on Aging. 1975.

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