Retirement ‘types’ – which one are you?

Coach Jon Glass says there are four broad retirement ‘types’ and outlines their challenges.

Retirement ‘types’ – which one are you?

In his four years as a retirement coach, after five years as chief investment officer at Media Super, Jon Glass has been helping older Australians navigate the emotional facets of retirement. He says one of the first things he learnt as a coach is that there are four ‘types’ of people moving towards or in retirement.

He outlines these ‘types’ to help you understand the challenges of retirement.

I can’t fully retire (ICFR)
The ICFR has recently retired but the boss calls him or her back as a consultant – when it suits the boss – because that is good for the company. The sort of ‘self-talk’ inside an ICFR might be, “The company can’t do without my unique skills”. However, that explanation might mask a deep needto remain relevant, that is avoid RDS – relevance deprivation syndrome. Identification of a deep need such as this leads to a better understanding of the challenges of retired life.

I’ve been made redundant (IBMR)
These ‘types’ carry the heavy load of their sad story. Strong emotionsof rejection, humiliation and betrayal may emerge and these may erupt into negative patterns of behaviour. Self-talk is likely to centre on a lack of fairness. There may be an underlying need for recognition that had been satisfied when they worked. This person needs to develop meaning in retirement. That may involve charitable work, learning or simply connecting socially. Everyone is different.

Will I, won’t I (WIWI)
This person will probably be in the final lap of a highly successful career. He/she will have the choice of when to enter retirement; yet the door to retirement seems locked to them. Work is their anchor point as it gives them a sense of importance. So work pulls and retirement recedes. Whereas the ICFR we met before may never have heard de Gaulle’s aphorism “The cemetery is full of indispensible people”, the WIWI has thought about passing on the baton but won’t. Just not now please.

The WIWI has thought of lots of activities to fill their retired days but often suffers from too much choice. We can all feel that sense when shopping in the supermarket.

The challenge is to locate true meaning in retirement, which will then form the basis for the choices they can make.

I’m scared to jump (ISTJ)
There are many reasons why retirement can look like a scary place. Unfortunately, in our society, retirement has a negative stripe on it. It’s the place where you worry that you may no longer be valued or useful. This is wrong. But to an ISTJ who is contemplating retirement, and who has only known a life of work, this is the future they fear.

Their self-talk may display a fear of a retired life that is too quiet in contrast to work life. It may display as a fear to take risks, try new things, fail, and finally succeed. In their basic need to connect to the world around them and derive acceptance and recognition, they might think that their identity is too strongly connected to work. Then they will conclude that their self-worth will evaporate at retirement.

Do you recognise yourself in any of these ‘types’? Are you an entirely different ‘type’?

Jon Glass is a retirement coach with 64Plus.

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    3rd Sep 2020
    The author has overlooked the most desirable category - the TGIF Thank God it's friday!! folks who have looked forward to retirement, and are now enjoying it.
    If I have to I can find things (too many things my beluvved would say) to grumble about, but not being at work is definitely not one of them.
    I'll have my eggs sunny side up thanks!
    3rd Sep 2020
    How about the 'Can't wait to go' group or 'I will retire to create a promotion opportunity for a younger person' group. I am not too sure the group to which I belonged but both descriptors applied to me. I had the opportunity to be on the selection panel for my successor and had great pleasure in informing the successful candidate and organising the hand-over.
    Seems like some people try to get us to believe that retirement is something bad. To be honest, I have been so occupied since my retirement just a few weeks short of 10 years ago that I sometime cannot imagine how I ever found time to go to work.
    3rd Sep 2020
    what retirement ?? where retirement ?? when retirement ?? how retirement ??
    3rd Sep 2020
    I have been retired for nearly 17 years. I chose my final retirement. I was made redundent seven years before I finally retired. I enjoyed those seven years, although the salary was a long way below my previous salary.

    There are many things that I still want to do and fortunately I have the assets to be able to do so. I agree with Koj that the author overlooked that group who have looked forward to retirement and for whom work was not necessarily the thing that they most wanted to do or gained meaning from.
    3rd Sep 2020
    Then there is the IEMJ group.
    I enjoy my job and though I’ve scaled down to part time, I don’t want to retire.

    3rd Sep 2020
    I'm in the 'retired on my own terms' group. I still work when it suits me, from home, the hours I choose and on the terms I choose. Retirement, for me, meant freedom from a never-ending drag, having to keep a roof over my head and food on the table but never having the opportunity to work in a job that was in any way satisfying. I hated work. Now, I do work I love and I love working. The money is irrelevant. But I take long breaks, travel, garden, read, and just enjoy lounging - sometimes for months at a time - until someone asks me to take on a job that appeals. They are all short term gigs, so I get plenty of relaxation in between. It's a good life.
    4th Sep 2020
    So what happens when you aren't in any of these groups????
    4th Sep 2020
    Sorry I fit none of these and have been retired since I was 69. You have to accept life is about balance, set a plan early, regularly review but always keep your end goal in view. My plan was to break my life into study up to 26, work 30, kids, house etc and pull the pin 56 with actuarial life of another 22-28 years. Travel, look after yourself and enjoy grandkids & life. Curve balls come,eg Health but you simply handle them as best you can and build into review. Fail to prepare prepare to fail

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