Retirement will happen to all of us unless we have never been employed or we are dead but is there or has there been enough discussion around retirement and how people make the transition from work to retirement. What does retirement mean to people? It is likely to mean very different things to different people.
Some people really look forward and enjoy their retirement – others do not. Some feel it is a whole new world to explore others see themselves as stigmatised with the additional label of ‘pensioners’. The word ‘pensioner’ itself is perceived by many younger people as indicating ‘on benefits’ ‘ not economically active’ ‘a burden’ particularly on the NHS etc.
Retirement is a very big transition or change in your life and will affect you not just financially but also emotionally and socially. The loss of your work role/status changes part of your identity as to who you are; you may lose some of your social networks as meeting ex work colleagues fades over time; particularly for London commuters – you may feel lonely if you don’t know your neighbourhood but retirement is also an exciting and real opportunity to change your life, to develop new interests, learn new skills, meet new friends and new social networks and even a new career.
So where do you fit in? For most people it is somewhere in the middle with positives and negatives but what makes the difference between those who have a positive experience and those who have a negative experience? Do you need to plan for your retirement and if so how far in advance? Did you plan for your retirement or did it just sort of creep up on you? Did you want to retire or were you not really given much of a choice? Has retirement had an impact on your family members? If so how? Do you think retirement should be a stepping process of gradually reducing hours or is retirement a single point in time? Do you think there should be courses, information or support to plan your retirement? Do you think there should be more help in the first 6 months of retirement? What has retirement meant to you? What are the good things – what are the not so good? Knowing what you know now – would you have done things any differently? If so what?
Lots of questions and we would be very grateful for your comments and whether you are in your 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s or beyond. We want to know how and if people plan for something as big in their lives as retirement and what makes a good retirement and what are the negatives. Do men have a better retirement than women or vice a versa or does gender not make a difference?
There are many milestones or transitions in life such as retirement, moving house, bereavement, physical or mental illness that we face and, as part of discussions on these Transitions by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, we want to know if there are things that should be in place to ease the passage of change and you are the experts – 20 year old government advisors/researches cannot answer this question – that’s why we need to hear from you.