Will you have a fulfilled retirement?

by | Retirement

I want to take a step away from the positive aspects of later life to consider wider society.

When people of my generation (I’m 64) think of retirement they have history to consider. The life stages used to be straightforward. Many went straight from school to work at 16 (with my birthday being the end of August I worked for several weeks aged 15). A small percentage went on to university.

We then worked till 60 or 65 and then retired. Now the lines are becoming increasingly blurred particularly for those much younger than me who could be working till 80, and with education being something they return to enabling them to move to a new career within midlife, see The 100 Year Life to explore this more.

Many of the academic papers I reviewed for my doctoral studies focused on people in professions who could continue in work to suit themselves. This can lead to a fulfilled later life with a new career path, time to volunteer on their terms, time to find meaning beyond the workplace.

No alt text provided for this image

But not everyone is able to seek a life of meaning. If you don’t have good private pension provision and need to continue to pay rent, it can be a time of hardship.

Many younger people see my generation as blessed with money gained from home ownership and index linked pensions. But this is not the life for all.

Research by the Centre for Ageing Better have identified people who are in their 50s and 60s facing ‘worsening inequalities and are at risk of becoming a forgotten generation’.

Their research has identified that 20% of this age group (2.6 million people) will experience poor health, poor finances, loneliness, and isolation.

For some people retirement is not an option, they don’t have enough savings and need to continue working even though it may aggravate their health. Many women had expected to get their state pension at 60, and for some people they have health issues which mean they can’t continue in work and their plans have gone awry.

Wealth inequalities are widening. These figures are staggering.

The richest people in their 50s and 60s today are twice as wealthy as the richest in this age group were 16 years before, while the poorest are almost a third poorer.

No alt text provided for this image

With the removal of a fixed retirement age, people are encouraged to work longer. But is this right for all. It’s fine for those of us who work in an office, with interesting work and the ability to work flexibly. But what about people with physically demanding jobs, such as tradespeople who have to crawl around on their hands and needs or whose job involves standing on their feet all day.

Today, more than half of people in this group (50s and 60s) say their work is excessively demanding – almost doubling since 2002. One in three say they feel a lack of control over their work, compared to just 9% in 2002.

Individuals shouldn’t be made to feel a failure because they need to stop working. Perhaps more work should be done on making it easier for people to stay in work, and to move to less physically demanding work. Perhaps something to be considered by employers in a midlife career review?

When I think about how I want to move on from my research, it seems to be in two directions.

  1. The first is to work with individuals to help them to plan for their life after fulltime work. To help them to find meaning and to have a life well-lived. To include marking this transition through a rites of passage and to decide if they want to step into being an elder. I’ll be writing more on this in the coming weeks.
  2. I also want to look wider, at people that are disadvantaged and to see what can be done to make later life – retirement and ageing a good experience for all. I wonder about becoming a researcher or working in the charity sector. Neither full time but as part of my broader mix of work and other interests. I want to think of the generation behind me who may find it even more of a struggle. That could be my legacy.

Sources include this:

Comments/ Questions?

I wanted to raise a discussion around this and would be very interested in any thoughts you have on this topic. Here’s to a great discussion.

Related Posts
Turning 60

20 benefits to getting older

Reduced fear of failure: With age, we often become more resilient and less afraid of taking risks or trying new...
Read More

We should act from compassion

There is something about spending time with Buddhist teachers; they radiate calmness and happiness.  I always feel more at peace....
Read More
Money Retirement

Getting your state pension

Early May, about 4 months before I reach my 66th birthday I received a letter, inviting me to claim for...
Read More
Inspiration Retirement Self-Understanding

Letting go ….

Do we need all our possessions? When we travel – do we travel light? We spend a lifetime collecting possessions....
Read More
Elderhood Longer Term

Life at 80 – how AI will change our future

Let's imagine my future. In less than 15 years I'll be 80! Introduction In the year 2038, as you turn...
Read More
Health & Wellbeing

Improving Health Span: The Key to a Long and Healthy Life

As I review the health chapter of my forthcoming book, I was reminded about the difference between health span and...
Read More

The Mental Health Benefits of Working Beyond Retirement Age

Retirement is often associated with a well-deserved break from work and a chance to enjoy leisure time. However, research suggests...
Read More
Positive Ageing

Positive Ageing

Positive ageing is “the process of maintaining a positive attitude, feeling good about yourself, keeping fit and healthy, and engaging...
Read More
Retirement Self-Understanding

What is a meaningful life?

A meaningful life can be defined as a life that has a sense of purpose, fulfilment, and significance. It is...
Read More
Elderhood Retirement

On turning 90

My mum has recently turned 90, she is now old-old. She is still living independently with the help of carers...
Read More
Ageism Health & Wellbeing Retirement

Stay engaged and involved to increase your well-being

Research from the Sloan Centre on Aging & Work at Boston College has found that when older adults are actively engaged in...
Read More

Do we need to stay working to maintain strong mental health?

I regularly read academic papers to ensure there is an evidence base to the work I do with my clients...
Read More

What makes you feel alive?

I’m just back from a 4 day music festival, the first for 3 years, Bearded Theory in Derbyshire. I was...
Read More
Inspiration Self-Understanding

Featured in the Daily Mail

There's a section, written by me, in the Daily Mail today, Thursday 12 May  - all about how to do...
Read More

The Deferred life plan

Life is for living; you don’t want to defer it until you are retired. I hadn’t realised that I was...
Read More

When should we retire?

It was so much easier in years gone by. Most people retired at 60 or 65. So you had a...
Read More

How to change your mindset to get a job in your 50s or 60s

Writing about retirement, I also need to consider ageing, we are getting older, and also work, people may want or...
Read More
Retirement Turning 60

7 great things about getting older

We can’t separate out ageing from retirement, we are getting older and moving into a different life phase. When young...
Read More
Health & Wellbeing Retirement

Glass half full – you will probably live longer

As we think about retirement, we also think about getting older. Whilst it would be nice to live to a...
Read More

Retirement as a Rite of Passage

There is a need to mark important transitions in life, retirement being a major one.  It used to be a party...
Read More

Let’s start to get to know each other.

I’d love to send you a series of articles to get you thinking of your wider life. You will also receive my mid-week 50+ update and the Amazing People newsletter.
Denise Taylor

Chief Inspiration Officer, The 50 Plus Coach.