Today retirement can be so rewarding because of good genes, nutrition, fitness, and medical care increase our quality and quantity of life. We are living longer in better health. On the other hand, retirement also has its challenges given that we are in a period of low interest rates, fewer people have good pensions, many have concerns about inflation and we all have to endure sluggish economies and skittish market.. Saving seems futile, investment bear risk, and consumerism keeps whispering hollow promises of happiness from retail therapy drawing us further into debt traps. This is creating a real shift for the retirement landscape as people continue working. Are you ready for a different retirement?
The blessing and curse of longevity gives a person pause approaching retirement. Lyndsay Green’s book, You Can Live A Long Time: Are You Ready? ought to be required reading for this life stage without many maps. She says it is not all about the money and that a work plan comes in handy.
Should we plan to work longer?
In 1997, about 31 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women over 55 were in the work place and, by 2010, it was 40 percent men and 29 per cent women. This trend continues moving upward. Some work for money, some for identity and purpose, for structure and engagement, for social interaction or because simply they are not done yet. They have more to contribute.
Suzanne Cook of York University is heading up a study called Redirection: Work and Later Life Career Development Project funded by the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling. She is looking at how Boomers are redesigning retirement with renewal, reinvention and growth. It is a look at career development, career shift and extension. This study will provide data for employers on how to capitalize on older workers, and provide information for those doing social policy. Shift happens. The old concepts of retirement and workplaces are changing. Stay tuned for Victory Lap Retirement!
A new life stage
Cathy Carmody is another Canadian pioneer in the field of conscious aging. She asks those between 55-85 to reject outdated beliefs and question what is ahead. She challenges all of us to recreate ourselves and our lives, explore possibilities, find meaningful ways to contribute, take risks, and come up with a fresh new map and story for the years ahead. Check her work at cathycarmody.com and find out about a new life stage.
This new stage means changes in attitude and policies for workplaces, Human Resources particularly. Career paths have been evolving away from the linear ‘reach for the corner office’ path for quite sometime.
The challenge is to continue to forge new career pathways based on both the needs of the employer and the self-awareness and self-knowledge of their employees. This new model includes redirection options like mentorship, flexible project oriented time lines, knowledge transfer partnerships and other creative options to leverage the skills, expertise and experience of older workers.
Change is normal
What a long, strange trip this has been – long, strange and not over yet! The retirement picture is changing and the 65 plus time is no longer perceived as a downhill path. Are you ready for a different retirement? Do you have a plan B? Ageism and Boomers do not mix well. So set some intentions for the new story, the new map, challenge old myths and do not let numbers or what you used to do restrict you from having a meaningful, full life working if you wish or not!
How have you reinvented or plan to reinvent yourself in the next stage?