The elderly population of the developed world is at an all-time high, and indications are that more people alive today will survive to a ripe old age than ever before. Since the elderly now represent an increasingly influential and vocal segment of the community, governments are forced to look at them in a different way. It is therefore important to find the right retirement old age plan and employment opportunities to create a smooth sailing.
• In many ways, the elderly have never had it so good. Many receive annuities from their company pension plans or from Social Security. In addition, those in need may receive help with housing and medical expenses. But money is not enough.
• Many old people, no longer content to remain a passive lobby, are beginning to press their own claims. In the United States today, for instance, the elderly are much more active in politics and more vocal about political issues than are their contemporaries elsewhere.
• At the moment, then, it is sheer pressure of numbers that is forcing governments to start taking notice. But if the American initiative were to be taken up internationally, elderly people could be organized into an active political force. Then perhaps they would again be recognized as a vital part of society.
Planning Ahead for the Bonus Years
Many aspects of retirement can be anticipated and prepared for, and thoughtful advance planning will ensure that the transition is made as easy as possible. Difficulties encountered in adjusting to retirement are usually related to the extent to which personal identity and meaning in life have come from activities and relationships at work.
• Retirement can be most satisfying if you keep up old interests as well as develop new ones. If you replace job-related interests when you retire, you are less likely to feel a sense of loss.
• New interests and activities do not just happen. Experience shows that the key to a successful retirement is facing up to it – and well ahead of time.
• With proper foresight and planning, many problems could be averted. There are many organizations who work to educate retired people by providing printed materials, films and videos for retirement planning seminars. In the seminars, you are introduced to some of the challenges and opportunities of retirement.
• At 50 most people find their family responsibilities easing, and this when you should start to lay the groundwork for your future comfort, happiness, and security if you haven’t done so already.
Money Matters in Retirement Age
• Finance is a high priority since it can take years to save an adequate nest egg. Over the 10 years leading up to retirement, you should fulfil the following objective.
• You should consider whether it is to your advantage to clear existing debts, bank loans, instalment plan balances, or mortgages. Anticipate and carry out major undertakings, such as re-roofing the house or financing a move, while you are still on a full salary. If possible, begin to accumulate savings and arrange an investment income to supplement Social Security and private pension.
• If you are not a financial wizard, seek the help of a bank manager, accountant, or investment adviser, who will find the best returns for your cash. Remember, however, that any plan will need to be reviewed at intervals.
• Five years before you retire, you should formulate some ideas of where and how you want to live. One of the most common and miserable pitfalls of retirement to be avoided is moving to a completely strange or isolated area, remote from family and friends.
• If you want to move, this is the time to decide on your retirement setting. Over the coming years, spend the occasional vacation or spare weekend scouting the area you are interested in. check out its public transportation, hospital, and library – facilities that will become increasingly important to you in later years. These expeditions may also lead to some new social contacts. Bear in mind that investigating is not a commitment.
Six Steps to Retirement
• Find out about your pension.
• Clear financial debts.
• Reassess your investments.
• Check that your insurance policies are adequate.
• Survey social amenities in the area you plan to move to.
• Explore possibilities for part-time work.
Getting The Most From Retirement
Your retirement plan should begin to take final shape five years, and certainly no later than two years, before the anticipated date on which you will retire. This is not a simple question of filling the 2,000 hours a year normally spent at a job, but of formulating a comprehensive and practical retirement philosophy, designed to ensure a rounded existence.
At this stage, having already tackled the long term issues of money and housing, you should be resolving practical details of how you want to live. Do you want to embark on a second career or to look forward to at last having time for leisure interests?
Seeking Employment After Retirement
Research has repeatedly shown that work in retirement improves health, morale, and life expectancy. But since it is not always easy to find, it is essential to explore job possibilities well before you retire. The most fruitful approach to job hunting is probably through your own personal grapevine. As retirement approaches, let your contacts know that you will soon be on the job market, if only for a part-time commitment that will fit in with your new lifestyle.
Volunteer Work After Retirement
Older people are often willing and supremely able to do volunteer work. Their wisdom and experience is of great value to volunteer organizations, the work less stressful than it is in paid employment, and there is age discrimination. Volunteer work can take the form of informal assistance to friends, neighbours, or relatives, or an organized service, such as helping out in a hospital or working for a charitable organization. Like the ideal job, in which work matches the preferences and abilities of the employee, volunteer jobs need to provide opportunities for learning, growth, and self-expression. Participants should feel they are of no use to a community.
Impact on Relationships After Retirement
All marriages suffer the ripples, if not the full impact, of retirement shock. If both partners are prepared for this and have a positive philosophy for these years of leisure, the shock is more readily absorbed. Women, generally, are less reticent than their male partners about the need for reappraisal, and the transition comes more naturally to women who have devoted their lives to the home.
Couples need to plan their new life together. It is a good idea to attend a pre-retirement course together and to draw up a list of goals still to be achieved. A couple’s domestic routine may have to be readjusted and chores shared more equitably. This should a time of fulfillment for both partners, not an embittered siege.
Friendships after Retirement
Now, more than ever, is the time to maintain old, and cultivate new, friendships outside the home. Working life may have obscured a general lack of social contacts, and when business friendships fizzle out after retirement, as many inevitably do, life is at serious risk of becoming dreary.
Women are often better at maintaining social momentum, but both partners should concentrate on renewing and cementing old friendships as well as remaining open to, and actively seeking, new ones. Friendships can be based on shared interests, experiences, and memories, and on the evidence of many late marriages, new romantic attachments are certainly not out of the question at this stage of life.
Single people living on their own are most at risk of becoming lonely n these later years. It is especially important for older singles to learn the art of self-sufficiency and be diligent in keeping up with friends and making new contacts.
Physical Relationship After 60
Sexual relations can be pleasurable and gratifying in your later years. The main problem is the shadow cast by certain unfounded beliefs – that physical relationship in the later years is somehow distasteful, or that older people are “past it”. True, there is some decrease in libido, but men do not automatically become impotent at 60, nor do women lose interest in intercourse after menopause. Unless indicated medically, there is no need for intercourse to cease in old age.
If you have always had a warm, loving relationship, there really is no difference in intercourse before or after 60. This is particularly true if you make love regularly, with a continued imaginative effort to please. Even when you and your partner are no longer able or willing to complete intercourse, you should not draw apart physically. No one is too old for physically warmth and affection. Love-making in these more tranquil years is contact, communication, and physical reassurance in a love that has stood the test of time.
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