How flexible Working is Altering the Way We See Retirement
Around the world, 1 in 8 workers believe that they will never be affluent enough to fully retire from employment.
Within the UK the average 50-year-old intends to retire at the age of 61.5 years, having paid off their mortgage at 58.5. However, for many, this aspiration is unrealistic. In 2012, it was estimated that around 1.3 million people of retirement age were still in work. Similarly bleak studies have shown that many older workers are not convinced that their pension plan will allow them to live comfortably in retirement.
But perhaps it is necessary to rethink this situation. It should not be assumed that retirement aged workers continue working solely for the income their job provides. For others, their career provides them with fulfilment and satisfaction. That is, many employees over fifty are living to work, rather than working to live. Flexibility, key to maintaining a balance between life and work, is all the more necessary when one approaches retirement age.
Others may choose to volunteer their time; working for a cause they are committed to Jim Finnie, 61 from Perth spends his time volunteering as an adult literacy tutor, an opportunity which he finds extremely fulfilling:
“I feel that working as a volunteer adult literacy tutor is hugely rewarding. You tailor tuition and learning to learners’ preferences and the biggest buzz comes from witnessing them develop their skills and confidence from evident and measurable progress. To an extent you have a “captive” market as they’ve taken the hardest step of accepting they have development needs and they’ve come forward but they quickly see that learning can be so different from the traditional school environment which in all probability failed them. Learning can be great fun and learners always turn up for sessions expressing the sort of gratitude that is invariably lacking in paid work. Everyone has the potential to be literate. It just might take a different way, or a bit longer, to unlock it!”
For the ‘Millennial’ generation, with uncertain financial prospects, it is certain that the average age retirement will be pushed back later and later. Many may never fully retire. As average life-expectancy continues to increase worldwide, the multi-generational workforce will become increasingly diverse, with older workers being highly sought after for their skills and experience.
Flexibility should be the goal for over fifties aiming to retain their independence, or perhaps even strike out on a new career path, without having to endure the taxing demands of a full-time career or conventional working hours.