Thursday, July 7, 2016

Do we actually retire?

Date of retirement is decided soon after one joins the service.  Normally it used to be 58 years which has been increased to 60 years and now government plan is to make it 62. Well if we go for various management institutes and even for the justices still it is 65 years. If we look at global scenario the retirement age goes upto 70 years.

A question comes as to whether we really retire or it is just breaking of relationship with the present employer. As a matter of fact the important factor is our health and physical fitness which makes us to think for retirement. If you ask yourself “Do you really want to retire?” I think the answer will come in most of the cases as negative. Sometimes, the surroundings make you to feel for retirement. The retirement notice 3 months before the date makes you alert for filling up necessary forms, completing formalities to take your terminal benefits etc.

The months then the days are counted by you when you are nearing the date of retirement. At times you may feel a certain change in the behaviour of the people around you. In the government service if you are required to appraise their performance by way of annual confidential reports your status and respect is uplifted by the people who are concerned about it. You also become conscious about your authority of making career of the people at the fag end of your service. Earlier during the service period, you never noticed certain change of behaviour and level of respect but now it has come as an open secrete. The sub-ordinates who had no guts to ask for good reports now, feel comfortable in taking the liberty of asking this favour sometime as a matter of right.

The family front seems to be quite well prepared to meet this natural event, specially your spouse. Let me tell you it is only your spouse who can have the real concept of empathy, because he or she has to live with you for the rest of the life, with constraints or otherwise. I am not trying to make you bias for or against your children but you need to accept the fact that there is a change in their priorities, if your son is married having kids he will feel more concerned about his own family, may be living with you. Well if you have only one son he will be interested only about your terminal benefits or pension so as to feel relaxed that your retirement is not going to give any extra financial burden on him.

You will observe that suddenly you are feeling concern about the talks of the people and you are trying to find meanings between the lines. If somebody has said “Oh you are going to live with your son after retirement” this will become quite offensive because it reflects your dependency on the son. You expect from the people that they still maintain that your son is going to live with you.  There is a great difference in the matter of feeling for these two concepts as to whether your son is living with you or you are living with your son.  You become quite emotional for certain issues which were not so meaningful earlier.

When I talked about the planning for retirement you may question that I started this article that you never retire then why I should plan for retirement? Believe me it is not only the career which is to be planned but your planning is for the change which may revolve like a wheel moving across the axis with different aspects of life. When you are thinking to plan the process of retirement it involves emotional, psychological, financial, health, time management, spiritual, reviving hobbies, and in some extreme cases even for matrimony, when you are widower or widow with no issues. I am not joking certain cases are there which have been reported when a person married after the death of his wife to a widow who happened to be his girlfriend when he was young. It really came in his life as a feeling of fulfillment of long cherished desire which was somewhere composed in the latent mind. The children of this man were settled abroad and he thought it proper to take their consent which came quite readily. It is just for your psychological and emotional balance. A person who is financially sound may feel like having a new life well it is just an example which happened somewhere in the world therefore, you have every right to disagree and to have different opinion.

Retirement no doubt is a major event in one’s life cycle and I feel that organization is also having a major responsibility to facilitate this transition from one stage to another.  You have every right to live successfully in dignified manner even without having a job. It gives you more freedom to take decision for your personal likes and dislikes.

When I talk about a beginning of a career my idea is for fulfillment of your desires which were left behind, your hobbies which you could not practice as a profession. Take the example of Winston Churchill whose entire contribution giving him name and fame came after the age of 65, look at Sardar Patel and Jawahar Lal Nehru what they did after 60, Morarji Desai got the chance to become prime minister of India when he was over 80 years of age. Age can not be a barrier. You don’t become old merely by age, its all in the mind. You are as young as before provided you are keeping very good health. There are countries in the world like Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, Canada etc. where the care is taken for your old age by way of offering social security schemes. But in our country we need to have a planning. For that matter you must take the help of a financial consultant so that inspite of having a job in hand you don’t loose a regular source of income.

Let us take the planning for retirement in different phases like a cycle. Let me start with the first phase as Remote Phase which begins many years prior to actual retirement date. Nobody expect to die before reaching retirement age and a very few will be there who expect to keep working till they die. The financial security and the leisure skills are two important factors which are visualized in the Remote Phase.

The second phase can be identified as Near Phase which occurs just prior to the date of retirement. Here one begins to perceive that his colleagues view him or her in short term perspective. His involvement in major programmes is discouraged and at times he may be asked to provide training to his replacement as a matter of double banking. You find yourself in the second phase busy in the passage of retirement ceremonies and farewell etc.

Now, comes the Honeymoon Stage as third phase of the cycle because after retirement you get the freedom to live out fantasies, your finances will permit in traveling, meeting old friends, seeing grandchildren and so on, and if somebody ask you how the retirement is going on your reply will be “why I have never been so busy”. An idea comes to my mind for this phase in the form that you presume as if your gratuity is only one lac instead of 3.5 lacs because you have purchased a holiday package for different countries of the world alongwith your spouse. Don’t disclose this plan of spending 2.5 lacs on holiday package to your wife otherwise it will never materialized, her answer will be, “have you gone mad on attaining the age of sixty by burning money?, return the tickets, I am not going with you.” Well, I am preparing you to face this situation well in advance. Tell your wife that these tickets are not refundable as per terms and conditions of the travel agent. A little piece of advice, have the passport of your wife during first phase of the cycle rest assured you will have a gala second honeymoon in different countries of the world and will have an experience you will cherish till you die.

Not everyone goes through the fourth phase of the retirement cycle. It is a stage when life finally slows down. The honeymoon is over and a certain amount of dissatisfaction sets in life. It becomes boring, those who have not developed a variety of skills in preparing for retirement are likely to experience this stage more severely. It may be particularly difficult if one has moved to a different community after retirement.

Now comes the fifth phase of the cycle, which may be termed as Reorientation Phase where one may attempt to structure a life style that can run for many years. It comes by way of exploring new opportunities, making realistic choices in the light of personal interest and skills.

Now we have come to the sixth phase of the cycle which is known as Stability Stage, when a person develops a philosophy and pattern of decision making resulting in a reasonably busy, predictable and satisfying life mastering retirement role. In this phase one is able to cope and adapt to declines in physical capability that comes with advancing age. He or she feels self sufficient. 

Lastly, we come to the seventh phase of the cycle which is a Termination Phase. One may of course, die suddenly while experiencing any of the preceding sixth phases’s of the retirement cycle. If the life continues, one could enter to Termination Phase. A few unlucky land up to a stage because of non-planning as dependent upon others, which may loose the dignity associated with the role of retirement. Please  for  God’s  sake  do not  disclose  your  Will  to  your  children  let  you  be  always  a  giver  rather  then  taker.

Finally, I would like to conclude this article by saying that don’t be self centered if your spouse is not working you need to plan a retired life for him or her also because he or she is the only person who will lend the shoulder to rest your tired head. He or she will be the only person who will wipe your tears for looking a smile on your face, otherwise you will be forced to obey the Sakesphere’s saying “if you laugh the whole world laughs with you, if you weep you weep singly.”

You must see dreams, read the biography of the people who had major achievements after the age of 60 that will give you not only encouragement but motivation to have a beginning for second career.


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