How do you prepare for retirement when you love what you do? It’s especially hard when your work has become who you are.
In this episode we talk with Michelle Pannor Silver, of The University of Toronto, author of Retirement and Its Discontents: Why We Won’t Stop Working, Even if We Can.
Michelle shares what led her to research retirement and write her book; how identity can make retirement challenging for some people; and what factors influence the timing of when people in different professions are ready to retire. We also discuss how ageism is costing organizations and societies across the world. We close with her recommendations on preparing for retirement. based on her research. She shares valuable tips that if you’re planning for a transition to retirement you’ll keep top of mind.
“In my book, I explained that a fundamental tension exists between the autonomy, and flexibility, and the lack of boundaries that are associated with retirement and our instincts to maintain structure, a sense of social connection and personal fulfillment. I explained and I argued that retirement has been socially constructed in a way that can give rise to feelings of great discontentment as it stymies some things in favor of others. The people that I interviewed, they struggled with that tension. Some reconcile that by drawing themselves into new ways of recalibrating their identity.”
“I do write about people who were discontented, who experienced really dark points in their life, but it’s important to recognize that there is a positivity effect available. If we can just take stock and get rid of the excess and focus in on what’s positive in our life, I think that is going to be a good thing to keep in mind. The other two, I’ll just quickly share are the idea of practicing of preparing for the transition. Like many of us, we don’t take lunch breaks, work all through our adulthood, literally eat at the computer. I’m not saying you have to go for a walk every day at lunch. I’m saying that if you’re planning to retire at a certain point, then prepare for the transition.”
Please visit her website
Read Michelle’s book Retirement and Its Discontents
Commentary on her book:
University of Chicago Magazine Spring ’19: When what you do is no longer who you are
Michelle Pannor Silver is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto with joint appointments in the Department of Sociology and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society (ICHS).Dr. Silver’s primary areas of research include: 1)Work, Aging, and Retirement; 2) Health Information Seeking; and 3) Perceptions about Aging and Health.
Her book, Retirement and Its Discontents, was published in 2018 by Columbia University Press. Dr. Silver holds cross appointments in theDalla Lana School of Public Health/IHPME and the Institute for Life Course and Agingat the University of Toronto. Her research has been supported by grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Connaught New Researcher Award, the Mitacs Accelerate Program, the UTSC Research Competitiveness Fund, and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan.
She received a BA, BS, and MPP from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD from the University of Chicago.
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Learning how to retire well goes well beyond your 401(k). Get wise about the non-financial side of retirement.
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