The upcoming film, “The Intern,” stars Robert De Niro as Ben Whitaker, a retired successful business owner who realizes retirement is not all it’s cracked up to be and seizes the opportunity to reenter the workforce as a 70-year-old senior intern at an online fashion site.
Although Whitaker’s path might not seem like the norm for many established retirees, it is becoming the new landscape for those in the Baby Boomer generation, a generation defined by optimism, exploration and achievement. Gone are the days of simply retiring to Florida and playing golf and mahjong. Instead many individuals are forgoing a traditional retirement to continue working part-time in their current capacity or embarking on a career change. By 2029, all Boomers will reach the age of 65 and over, yet many plan to remain in the workforce for various reasons including money and to maintain a sense of identity.
A recent article in Fortune Magazine said, “About 80 percent of the people who retired and then found new jobs say they like their current careers better than their old ones. They also report less stress and ‘better relationships’ than the Boomers surveyed who haven’t retired yet.”
If you’re on the cusp of retirement or are already in this phase of your life, join fellow lifelong learners to explore retirement options like a second career and other opportunities in our new course, “Finding Meaning and Happiness in Retirement,” where Psychologist Michael Winters, Ph.D., will explore general principles of happiness and meaning, and the latest research on discovering gratification in retirement.
Below Dr. Winters shares insight into his upcoming course including the challenges individuals might face entering retirement and activities to combat the retirement blues.
What are some of the most common challenges and/or issues people face in retirement?
For many people their jobs provide an identity and a social network – so when they no longer have a job they no longer have a sense of what they are supposed to do. Generally, retirees have less scheduled time to meet with others. Sometimes the leisure activities that the person imagined would provide a lot of enjoyment fades quickly and then boredom or even depression set in. It can also be a big adjustment to live on a fixed budget if one was used to spending freely.
What are the biggest surprises to someone who has recently retired?
Some people are surprised that they do not feel as happy or refreshed as they thought they would. Others feel confused about how to structure their life in retirement. Some folks, typically those who have planned well, make a smooth transition and feel retirement is the best time of their life.
What advice would you give to someone who has retirement on the horizon?
Plan the transition. Focus on understanding your values and what you would like to do next with your life.
What are some positive activities and hobbies you’d recommend to retirees?
These will need to be considered in relation to each person’s own interests and abilities. The common threads that are important to most people are – finding activities that have a social element and are meaningful. Many consider volunteering for a meaningful organization, getting a pet or joining new social organizations.
Who would benefit most from taking this course?
If you are about to retire and have not seriously thought about how your life will be different after retirement, this would be a good course to take. Also, those who have retired and found the transition surprising or difficult may benefit from the course.
Note: The intent of this course is to offer a general educational overview of the topics described. If you are seeking specific therapeutic guidance, please consult with the mental health professional of your choosing.
About the Author
Rachael Shappard, Marketing Coordinator