by Rachel Weinstein Executive Coach
According to research done by Britain’s Institute of Economic Affairs, retirement increases the probability of suffering from clinical depression by about 40% and it increases the probability of having at least one diagnosed physical condition by about 60%.
Sounds horrible, no? So why do people retire? We’ve convinced ourselves it’s because the pool-side relaxation at the end of 4+ decades of work is our birthright. Frankly, it’s only because in the 1880s, the Chancellor of Germany put into place the novel idea of contributing state funds to support people over 70 who could no longer work. Life expectancy was then about 65, so really, not many people actually retired.
Shortly thereafter, however, North Americans adopted the idea, dialled back retirement age to 65 and never adjusted it. Financial planners who want your business tempt you with visuals of a perfect life on the horizon; a time with no cares in the world. The thing is, today we can expect to live to 80, so we have a precarious 15 years – some will surely have 30– to try to avoid the real hazards of retirement.
Retirees can lose their footing in society, and start to question their purpose, even if they’re doing deep reflection from a beach in Hawaii.
According to psychologists, connecting to one’s purpose is a trait we all share, regardless of level of wealth. Whether you’re a bus driver or a CEO, the right perspective can inspire a feeling of doing meaningful work. Take that work away, and aligning with daily purposeful activities becomes a lot less clear. And it’s making us sick.
Here’s what we can do about it: Stop aiming for retirement, and rather, aim for being “selfishly employed”. If you really want out of the rat race, save your pennies for the goal of working at something you love and that’s aligned with your physical capacity. Consult, teach yoga, write, sell cookies, fundraise, whatever. As long as you insert yourself into something that forces you to think, be relied upon, socialize and get up in the morning to give your gifts to the world.
For retirees reading this whom I’ve frightened, I have something for you. I started an initiative last year called More to Give. It's a free life coaching program for retirees in the GTA. If you want to learn more contact me at:firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Weinstein holds an MBA with a specialty in Organizational Behaviour from the Schulich School of Business (York University), an HBA from the Ivey School of Business (University of Western Ontario) and a Certificate in Adult Training and Development from OISE (University of Toronto).She has been coaching since 2006 and is trained and certified (CPCC: Certified Professional CoActive Coach) by the Coaches Training Institute
THE JFI IS WORKING ON A NEW PROGRAM CALLED JFI NEXT WHICH WILL BE PROGRAMS AND EVENTS FOR ANYONE OVER 50 IN THE JEWISH COMMUNITY. IF YOU HAVE A NEED, IDEA OR WANT TO HELP WITH THIS INITIATIVE PLEASE LET US KNOW!