George Burns rightly said, “Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five, I still had pimples.” Therefore, we must understand that retirement is just a phase of life and not the end of life!
One of the toughest transitions into sixties is when you realize that you have to ‘retire’. What we need to be sensitive about is that retirement is just retiring from professional paid work. Nothing more and nothing less.
Let’s keep these 7 things in mind if a senior in the family in retiring:
Never ask “what will you do next”
If retirement is an uncomfortable topic in itself for some, don’t make it overwhelming by asking what they will do next. As if ‘doing’ is more important than just by ‘being’! For all you know, they will be happier to see their tomatoes grow in their yard than finding a post retirement job.
Introduce the initial F conversation
To be able to help your family member retire, you need to know where they stand financially so you can best help them fill in the gaps and ensure a smooth future. For instance, you could invite them to read a book on financial planning as a starting point for this kind of conversation.
Meet with a financial adviser
Nobody knows everything about the complexities of planning for retirement. You’ll do a lot of good by asking the person if they know much about the plans and if not suggest them to seek financial counsellor they can trust.
Remember the term co-curricular activities in school? Time to get that back in their lives. For majority of people, the reality of life after work doesn’t live up to their expectations. They look forward to focus on the things that give them pleasure but somehow don’t always manage to do so. It is important for you to check their needs, interest and level of understanding to schedule a set of activities for them which could be either of these – gardening, music, chess, dance, teaching and so on. It will directly impact their overall mental health and happiness.
Don’t be pushy
While initiating discussions and further planning with them, it is important that we understand their basic nature and the situation that they are going through. While with understanding of both, can we be sensitive towards their sometimes passive responses, inhibited reactions and underlying needs. It is alright if you don’t get answers from them right then and still alright not to get one at all.
With their rich experience and wisdom include them in your daily conversation and important decisions. You may well do it your way, but let them feel their opinions matter and seek one from them. After all, they have been there, done that.
Keep the conversation on
Checking in with your seniors regularly is an essential part of helping them prepare for retirement. For one, this will also help protect them against scams as they are often seen as a vulnerable group. Second, you can keep a tab on their mental health and in case they need counselling, you can very subtly suggest one. While retirement and depression are not hand and glove but the chances of it increases at this stage.
Author: Vibhuti Chhibber