Churches are failing to help people prepare for new adventures and opportunities for service in retirement.
So says Peter Meadows, who will help launch AfterWorkNet at CRE 2018.
‘A generation ago, life after work was much the same for everyone,’ he suggests. ‘Your job was done with a gold watch to mark the moment. But how that has changed!’
Today’s baby boomers meet retirement with perhaps 20 – or even 30 – years of life ahead, often in better health and with more money to spend than their parents’ generation could dream of.
‘Today, there’s a lot of active years to make the most of,’ says Peter, programme director of AfterWorkNet.
Research by retirement specialist Cathy Severson points to this longer, healthier and more affluent era as involving four distinct categories:
The Clueless – those who have done the least planning and make up almost half of those no longer in full-time work.
The Aimless – those still looking for a sense of satisfaction in retirement make up about one in five of retirees.
The Directionless – they are happy to adjust to a more relaxed and, hopefully, less stressed lifestyle and make up about another fifth of all retirees. But their agenda has no place for learning or experiencing new things.
The Motivated Redirected – these are people at the other end of the spectrum, having prepared for retirement both by way of their plans and how they can fund them. Surprisingly, they make up only one in five of those coming to retirement. For them, this new period is one with fresh challenges, adventure and personal fulfilment.
What separates the Clueless, Aimless and Motivated Redirected, points out Cathy Severson, is the time taken to think about the future and plan for the life you want.
‘Our parents didn’t need to do this kind of planning because their options were so few,’ suggests Peter. ‘As a result, we’ve no role models.’
In the main, churches fail to see this as an issue, lacking plans and programmes to help those approaching retirement get ready for new adventures and seize new opportunities for service.
‘That being the case, those of us who are heading for retirement – or are already there – need to take personal responsibility,’ concludes Peter. ‘This is not the time to be among the Clueless, the Aimless or the Directionless. After all, life after work is not a rehearsal but the real thing. We’ll only get to do it once.’
AfterWorkNet are on stand S157 at CRE 2018