Call for ban on use of the word 'retirement'

A LEADING psychologist has called for a ban on the word retirement, saying it no longer reflects the reality of growing old for the baby boomer generation. Tony Simpson, secretary of Honiton Senior Council, agrees with Honey Langcaster-James' view.

A LEADING psychologist has called for a ban on the word retirement, saying it no longer reflects the reality of growing old for the baby boomer generation.Tony Simpson, secretary of Honiton Senior Council, agrees with Honey Langcaster-James' view, which was outlined in The Death of Retirement report published by Standard Life.The report followed a survey which found half of 46 to 65 year olds in the South West plan to travel more in their long-term future. In contrast, only 39 per cent of their parents' generation planned to travel more at retirement.Almost half of those surveyed hoped to learn a new skill, such as a hobby or language - five times as many as their parents.Over a third (38 per cent) said they wanted to continue to be involved at work, but on their own terms, and six per cent hoped to embark on new business ventures.Historically, retirement used to be likened to a cliff top, after which people would slow down and stop being involved in society.The very word 'retirement' is from the French phrase retirer, meaning to draw back from.It no longer represents the hopes and aspirations of the baby boomer generation, according to Ms Langcaster- James."The third age will present something of a blank canvas for baby boomers," she said."As a psychologist, I've seen that people tend to think about their future in two ways, either they are moving away from things or towards new opportunities and goals."The Standard Life study shows that baby boomers are most definitely moving 'towards' all the things they want to do."They do not see retirement as when they wind down and leave things behind. Instead, it is all about seizing the opportunities it presents."Ms Langcaster-James believes those in the third age need to be emotionally equipped and that the wider community should fundamentally change the way they speak about older people.Mr Simpson said: "Retirement is a state of mind. It isn't a word I recognise. I don't know many people who do recognise it."I sympathise with people who want to give up working, but some don't have the choice."Mr Simpson says not everyone can afford to give up work and that, in his opinion, nobody should be forced to leave a job because of their age."Retirement can be a difficult time," he said."Instead of a new life it can be the end of what they know."We ought to be better prepared for later life. There is an awful lot wrong with retirement."Mr Simpson say some people may not have the abilities they once had and that he believes in training so people are more prepared for retirement.He is concerned that the drop in interest rates and the loss of nest eggs, brought on by the recession, will cause hardship for many.Ms Langcaster-James said: "The third age also presents great emotional challenges."Society, government and industry are failing the baby boomer generation by implicitly conveying to them that they are expected to slow down and be less active in their later life."This could have severe implications for their mental health."I have witnessed this as a life coach, as more and more people approach retirement wanting advice on how to live on their terms into third age."Many don't want to give up working and have dreams they want to pursue."We need to equip this generation and fundamentally change the way we speak about third age."The challenge for the financial services industry is to harness the optimism and ambition that the baby boomers have and make the association with long-term saving."n THE structure of Britain's population is changing. According to The First Report of the Pensions Commission (2004), the percentage of those aged over 65 will double by 2050.Life expectancy is increasing rapidly and by 2050 people could expect to live for 30 years after 65, meaning they could spend up to 37 per cent of their lives not working.WHAT do you think? Is retirement a state of mind? Should the word be banned? Can you afford to meet your aspirations in retirement?Write to the address on page 2, email the newsdesk or visit our website to comment.


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