Q. My company is offering retirement workshops. I’m not sure what that really means, but I have been thinking about retirement, the money it would take and what else I want to do. I want to attend, but everyone says that even going will be like raising your hand to be laid off, or show that I don’t take my work and having a job seriously, which I do. To go or not to go?
A. Your company is trying to offer a benefit which will help you and help them. Both of you need to plan for retirement. You need to review the financial implications to make sure you can afford to retire, or find out how much money you will need to live the way you would like to in retirement. Most retirees want to develop a plan for what else they will do, and to have these conversations with their spouse or partner.
The company also needs to plan for retirement. It looks at knowledge transfer – making sure all the history, expertise and relationships you have are able to be captured by the organization. Companies want to make sure there is time to do that before you choose to leave.
Retirement planning workshops most often will assist you in assessing your readiness for retirement, strategy exploration and resource identification. This will help you develop an action plan for retirement. Areas of exploration will include career and work, finance and insurance, health and wellness, family and relationships, leisure and social, personal development, and legal and legacy issues. Many companies will allow your significant other to attend, and in this confidential group, you can begin to have conversations which may have been overdue. You will also hear from others in similar situations and learn more about their strategies or issues.
The Bureau of labor Statistics (2012) shows that of retirees,
• 89 percent returned to work to stay active, not because of financial need
• 28 percent of current working retirees will continue working as long as their health
• 70 percent see retirement as a time to stay active and begin a new chapter vs. 28
percent to take it easy
Talk to your HR person or manager. Ask about the confidentiality and express your concern. Tell him or her how important your job is, and that you are not at all ready for retirement, but that you are a planner, and appreciate his or her support in offering this benefit. Communicate the general concern in the employee population and hopefully he or she will try to address these concerns so they take advantage of a very solid benefit.