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Retirement

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By clarier2007
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Retirement

Abstract

Retirement is a great is one of the biggest developmental changes that life has to offer. It can affect you in many ways if you are not prepared. Although, it may have negative effects on a physical and psychological level, it also can have its benefits. It depends on how prepared you are, going in to this stage of life. In most cases, the economical status of an individual can be a major factor in being prepared for this event. As human beings, we are not able to depend on our own selves and that is where psychological stress may impair our vision of retirement should be. Now, I ask, why do we retire? Obviously, to enjoy what we have achieved from all the hard work that have had to endure. For some it may come easy; for others it becomes a difficult stage where independence becomes dependence and that is where anxiety and depression come in to play. In this paper, I will discuss the findings psychologists that have studied the effects of this life stage.

First, let’s review the psychological perspective of retirement. As stated by Kenneth S. Shultz and Mo Wang, “Retirement is an interdisciplinary topic studied by researchers in psychology, sociology, social work, demography, economics, and organizational sciences…” Because of this, literature on retirement has grown a great deal and has research has taken many different forms. The basic conclusion is simple; retirement is a process that older individuals go through and it does not consist of only a single event. We must understand that this process is different for each individual and this has made researchers get a better psychological perspective of the study of retirement. To be able to understand retirement we must first go through history and where the concept comes from. I was created in the first half of the 20th century, when social security was created. In former years, individuals had to work until they could not physically continue. In eighteen eighty nine, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, created an old age social insurance program, in Germany. The first age of retirement was seventy years, but in nineteen sixteen, it was changed to sixty-five. With this plan and the wide variety of company pensions that existed in that time, individuals could cease paid employment without having to be physically impaired. Because of the time individuals spend in this stage of their lives, the psychological aspects have become very important to researchers. Although these aspects are extremely important, physical and financial issues have impacted retirement, also. As research continues, it indicates that physical and financial aspects are linked to the psychological aspects as well. Retirement is also viewed as temporal. Some individuals retire at the age of forty or fifty and then join the workforce and start new careers. This allows researchers to understand that retirement is not the same in all individuals. Another aspect that is studied is how these individuals adjust to postretirement. Researchers have found that physical and psychological demands decrease over time and psychological well-being increases.

As we reviewed with Kenneth S. Shultz and Mo Wang, now we review planning for retirement with Gary A. Adams and Barbara L. Rau. The temporal view of retirement has three phases. The first phase is preretirement, where planning for retirement occurs, and then it is followed by retirement decision/event and the post retirement adjustment phase. It has been proven that the planning event of this stage in life is a crucial key to being successful in the decision and post adjustment phases of this process. With these findings, we have discovered how unprepared the United States is on this subject. The preparation for retirement involves planning to meet the needs through retirement that were met while through paid work. The three fundamental needs, Blustein (2008), which work fulfills are the need for survival, the need for relatedness and the need for self determination. As identified by Mor-Barak (1995), there are four needs that older workers can fulfill at work and these include: financial, personal, social and generative needs. These needs tend to overlap and they both contain what Johonda(1981) called the manifest and the latent. Examples are providing income to be able to sustain one’s life and structuring one’s time by providing opportunities for activities and social interactions.

Daniel C. Feldman and Terry A. Beehr studied the three-phase model of retirement and found that when making retirement decisions first became important in nineteen seventy it was quite straightforward. The majority of the workers had pension plans and received checks based on age and years of service. Now, it has become more complex and employees are accumulating assets for retirement through self funded pension plans and make the decision of how their funds are invested. As they continue to invest, it is hard to determine an annual estimate of income during retirement. Other factors may make this process uncertain as well. For example, real estate was an appreciating asset and over the years has begun to depreciate, also social security is now taxed and we do not know if it will remain available after the years to come. As cost of living increases health care does, too; and this makes financial planning much more complex than before.

Mo Wang, Kene Henkens and Hanna van Solinge state that there are five major theories. First, there is Role theory, where the individual goes through a role transition. They come from effective to losing or weakening work roles, but in the process strengthening the family and community member role. Second, we can see the continuity role, where it emphasizes consistency of life patterns over time. It is viewed as an opportunity to maintain social relationships and lifestyles patterns. In this theory, there shouldn’t be a significant drop in well-being unless these patterns are not maintained. We can also evaluate the stage theory, where the individual experiences the honeymoon stage, in which their level of energy and satisfaction rise as they pursue new activities and roles. After the honeymoon stage, we may encounter the disenchantment stage, in which the realization of fewer resources and/or unrealistic expectations of retirement. After time, retirees go through a reorientation stage, in which they reevaluate their life status, accept limitations and focus on further adjustments. The last stage is stability, where they settle into a predictable daily life pattern until death or disability terminates their retirement. Now, we review the life course perspective. This is where the individual has cultivated a flexible style in dealing with life transitions. This helps the individual adjust better and easier in this transition. And finally, we review the resource perspective. This theory states that the ease of adjustment is the direct result of the individual’s access to resources. In other words the more resources the individuals have helps them adjust better to the change, while fewer resources make it more difficult to adjust.

Finally, Bettina Kubicek, Chritian Korunka, James M. Raymo and Peter Hoonakker research the effects of personal and gendered contextual resources. They state that few studies have explored the influence of gender on the sources of psychological well-being in retirement. Key factors to determine the well- being in the stage of retirement is marital status for women more than men. Loneliness becomes a problem for women, affecting their psychological well-being. Therefore, social networks become more important for women than men. On the other hand, resource loss affects both males and females equally. Poor health can be a negative factor in both genders, as well, but poor health of a spouse impacts female more negatively than males.

As we have seen in these past researches, we can come view how the stresses of retirement can affect an individual in many ways. The main factor in general is the financial aspect of this stage in life. We can see how not preparing our economical status can lead to serious problems of depression, anxiety and uncertainty amongst other factors. The only way to avoid not being prepared is to start thinking of what the future may be at a young age and doing so may avoid the negative effects on retirement. We can also view how gender palys it role in the difference of its effects. For example, a female is more likely to feel alone in this stage of life and cannot always cope with this type of situation especially if a spouse suffers of some kind of illness and inevitably ends up alone. Male tend to cope better off with accepting the solitude. But in all, economy plays the part on this aging stage and we should all be aware of what we can do to improve this situation and avoid it from affecting mental well-being.

I believe the research of retirement can lead to better solutions for future generations. The findings that these researchers have brought to our attention may have a great impact on how many individuals may lead their lives for a better future. It may make people work harder just so they are able to enjoy the golden age without any worries, avoiding the negative effects on psychological well-being. This could be a field that can be studied with more detail, being that it is not saturated and researchers have just begun to explore. It can find ways of helping the older generations cope with the changes in lifestyles and avoid the occurrence of depression or anxiety that lead to worse problems as time goes by.…...

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