Early Retirement: Promises and Pitfalls
When shall I retire? How "golden" will my "parachute" be? Will I be happy as a retired person? How can I make the most of my retirement? In the last decade, employers have turned increasingly to the "Golden Parachute" or "Golden Handshake" - inducements to employees to retire earlier. Questions about the effects of these plans, and retirement in general, are mounting, yet few answers are forthcoming. The age of retirement for many has decreased from 65 to the midyears, and these individuals will spend as much time in retirement as they spent in the workforce. This shifting scene necessitates a continuing search for information about the hows and whys, and the effects, of early retirement. In this highly informative study, the authors of Early Retirement: Promises and Pitfalls, scholars in sociology, psychology, and education, look at the experiences of retirees from a large urban area. Many of these persons (average age, 59) were painfully confronted in middle age with the breakdown of heavy industries in the Northeast; others happily sought retirement to resolve their disenchantment with a given routine. By examining the adjustment of these people to this new phase of their lives, the study found that most who retire adjust relatively quickly and positively to retirement, using it as an opportunity for leisure or other work activities. For a minority, however, there are pitfalls and disappointments, which the book discusses in detail. Using numerous vivid case illustrations, and drawing from both questionnaire and interview data, the book provides an inside view of what it is like to face retirement from primarily white-collar occupations. A wide range of reactions emerged about boththe process of retirement (e.g., how those slated for retirement were treated, how long they had to prepare) and its outcome - being a retired person. Moreover, the book offers a portrait, not only of the people themselves as retirees, but also of their attitudes about aging, reflections on their careers, aspirations for a full life, and comments on the changing society - as well as candid reactions from their spouses. This outstanding book speaks both to the professional on aging and to the public at large - those who have retired, are thinking about retiring, or are providing retirement programs or services for retired persons.
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