In my fifties, I suddenly found myself in a position to take an early retirement. I also found myself suddenly single. I took some time to seriously explore all of my retirement lifestyle options. Eventually, I decided to return to the workforce with new goals, expectations and an entirely different motivation.
My brother reminded me of his retirement from a long-time career with Ontario Hydro. He took 2 years off to enjoy travel, boating and fishing, but he was summoned back to his workplace on a contractual basis for another decade. Each year, the contracts were shortened. Sometimes retirement involves a series of transitions over a 10 year timeframe. This is called planning a phased retirement.
Some will have no problem developing a new social circle and living a life of full-time leisure when they exit the workforce. Some will want a change or new challenge. And many will need to work for financial reasons.
There are those who love their work passionately and they have no desire or intention to stop working.
It’s helpful to create and identify new opportunities as we age. It’s imperative to learn how to market skills and experience. It took me a few months to secure a contract to manage a research and employment program for older adults. The project goal was to find out what older workers wanted and didn’t want as they transitioned past mid-life. In our older worker Job Clubs we learned that most older adults wanted flexibility. Approximately 50% of the people we interviewed wanted to continue past the traditional age of retirement with some kind of employment. Others wanted to contribute to their communities in a meaningful way through volunteering, part-time, occasional, seasonal and contractual employment while having the option to take time off for extended holidays and family time. This is called embarking on an “Encore Career.”
Today, the creative mind is highly valued outside of the the arts and it is also recognized by some as an essential life and problem-solving skill which can be honed. Creative planning ideas can be both novel and appropriate. A Creative Retirement is a place and time where there are no rules or traditions to limit us. Each spring, I develop a series of presentations to help people explore a creative path for the retirement years including an introduction to some new retirement trends, opportunities and transitioning strategies. Thanks to London Public Library for co-sponsoring this program. Starting May 1st 2018 7pm at Beacock Branch Library.
Kathy Smith was named to the Mayor’s Honour Roll for the Arts in London Ontario. In 2015, she was recognized by the London Council for Adult Education for her work with older adults. In 2016, she received an Ontario Achievement Award for community leadership rom the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. She is the co-producer of Making the Most of Your Retirement on Rogers tv London – now in its second year.