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Rethink retirement with the help from a friend

TAKING CONTROL: Joanna Maxwell with Ray Martin at the launch of her book, Rethink Your Career.
TAKING CONTROL: Joanna Maxwell with Ray Martin at the launch of her book, Rethink Your Career.

WHEN you retire you leave behind five very important work benefits that most people are unwittingly dependent on during their working life.

Those benefits, or really needs, are money; having a sense of who we are because of what we do; structured days, weeks and months; socialisation or ability to connect with people through work; and a sense of usefulness by contributing in some way and engaging with the wider society.

Joanna Maxwell's recently launched book, Rethink Your Career, provides practical ideas on how to manage the loss of these needs through structuring retirement, identifying who you are and thinking about where you want to go next.

"The people who really suffer in this area are those that are either suddenly retrenched and those that cruise along and don't plan anything after retirement," Ms Maxwell said.

Ms Maxwell recommends that everyone takes times to plan for their retirement including determining who they want to be.

Recently she had a woman tell her the most frightening question for the woman was after she retired and was asked what she does, the woman said she didn't have an answer.

"It's important you have an internal sense of your identity and that it be can a little bit fluid so it can change when you change your work role without losing the sense of who you are," Ms Maxwell said.

Time management is another important aspect of retirement life. The working day determines so much about our professional and personal lives that without that structure, a huge void can appear. Having goals and plans is a good start to dealing with this void.

The loss of work socialisation can be critical for people who have spent a good deal of their working life determining their social interactions.

Losing touch with work colleagues is often a natural progression said Ms Maxwell, but for some people the process can come as a shock and lead to loneliness and even depression.

Seeking out community connections and getting to know people with common interests is a good way to redevelop social confidence.

"I think it's a fundamental part of being a human that we want to be useful in some way and we want to feel we are playing a small part in our community. Often during our working life we don't have time to develop those community connections," Ms Maxwell said.

Ms Maxwell's book also delves into the issue of what is retirement and flexible paths to retirement.

"The only danger is not having a plan; not being in charge of your future," she added.

Joanna Maxwell's book, Rethink Your Career, is available from bookshops, Booktopia and as an ebook. RRP $32.99.

Topics:  book review books entertainment general-seniors-news joanna maxwell re-retirement rethink your career retirement retirement-living


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