As Australia's population ages, retirement is happening at a variety of ages and stages. This essential guide to retirement provides advice on relationships with partners and family, skills in conflict resolution, maintaining financial stability, dealing with issues such as loss, and, most importantly, living a full and happy life in retirement.
Are you thinking of retiring? Perhaps you're already making plans to retire or looking to make the most of your retirement? If so, Enjoying Retirement is the one book you must have.
More than ever, Australians are finding that retirement offers them opportunities they didn't even know they had, and also that there can be adjustments and challenges along the way.
Enjoying Retirement: An Australian handbook of ideas, strategies and resources provides advice on relationships with partners and family, and skills in conflict resolution and in maintaining financial stability; it will help you deal with issues such as moving out of the workforce and managing change. Most importantly, this essential book will help you live a full and happy life in retirement.
Michael Longhurst has worked as a consulting psychologist specialising in the development, delivery and management of learning and development programs both in his own practice and as the National Learning and Development Manager for a large Australian company. He is an internationally published author and leading authority in the area of adjustment to retirement. He has run regular seminars for retirees and people planning their retirement. His work is based on his psychological research with Australian retirees.
Author: Michael Longhurst
Question: What inspired you to write Enjoying Retirement?
Michael Longhurst: Initially, I had no intention of writing a book. I completed the research into psychological adjustment to retirement as a Masters at Monash Uni simply to prepare for my own retirement. However, what I soon discovered suggested to me that a book was needed as there is very little information around about this topic (the vast majority of books on retirement just focus on financial planning).
Soon after completing the research, I was participating in a residential management course at Macquarie Uni and by chance met the Marketing Manager of Hodder-Headline (now taken over by Hachette) – she thought the idea was worthy and the book was commissioned.
Question: What types of ideas and resources are included in Enjoying Retirement?
Michael Longhurst: One of the key findings of the research was that participation in at least five hours per week of 'purposeful' activity (which does not include 'recreational' activity), is associated with lower levels of retirement-related anxiety, retirement-related depression and retirement-related stress. Section One of the book describes what comprises a purposeful activity and how to go about finding suitable activities for yourself.
Section Two of the book provides strategies for communicating effectively within relationships, developing assertiveness skills, resolving conflict, negotiating good deals, maintain effective relationships with your partner and friends, and contributing and belonging in society.
Section Three deals with strategies for managing your psychological well-being and addresses issues such as managing anxiety, depression and stress, maintaining your self-esteem, understanding grief and loss, and finding ways to end loneliness.
Section Four examines the impact of our personality and the personalities of those around us when we retire. Where there is potential for a clash of personality styles, ideas for dealing with them are suggested. The need for partners in a relationship to 'cross-skill' is also covered so that if one partner dies or becomes ill, the other partner can continue to manage tasks previously the responsibility of their partner.
Section Five looks at the need to manage financial matters carefully and to avoid becoming the victim of scams. Strategies for choosing a financial planner are also examined in detail. Finally, there is a chapter looking at retirement village contracts, reasons for moving to or not moving to, a retirement village along with the critical need for expert advice before signing a contract with a retirement village operator.
Question: How can we prepare for our own retirement?
Michael Longhurst: A very large proportion of people who arrive at retirement do so having only given thought to the important matter of financial preparations. As far as other matters go, a common view is that if you have reasonable health and have provided for a secure financial life, what other preparation is needed? It is not until people retire and go through the 'honeymoon' phase during which retirement seems like a big holiday that other issues (discussed in 2 above), raise their heads and need to be dealt with. Fortunately, many of these issues including the need for additional purposeful activities can also be dealt with after retirement.
NB: While the focus of the book Enjoying Retirement is on psychological adjustment to retirement rather than financial preparation, it goes without saying that people need to arrive at retirement in reasonable financial shape.
Question: How can we support those in our life looking at retiring?
Michael Longhurst: If you are the partner/spouse of the retiree, you may find that they need more or less time to themselves than you do. Typically those who are more introverted will want time to themselves to recharge their batteries whereas those who are more extraverted will be more likely to want your company more often. As relationships often comprise one person who is more extraverted than the other, both need to respect their partner's needs.
The strategies for effective communication addressed in Section Two of the book may need to read carefully as being thrown together 24/7 can bring special pressure of its own.
Finally, we are all different in the way we choose our purposeful activities. While you may not share the same level of interest in a particular activity as your partner, it is very important to at least respect their choice. Making fun of a partner's model train collection or their passion for native bee keeping can be very discouraging for them.
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Author: Michael Longhurst