Work practices in developed countries have changed significantly in the past two decades, with many workers now changing jobs every 7 to 10 years. As regards the current cohort of the population in the 50 plus age sector, the average working life of these individuals whom we now meet on our retirement courses ranges from 42 to 50 years of working life-service. In many cases this involves at least 2/3 of this time or an average of 30 years will be provided as working service by most employees.
The question for employers here is whether they have a social and moral obligation to repay that loyalty to their organisation by helping those approaching retirement to prepare for such an important and significant milestone in their personal lives, particularly if they take account of the fact that while many companies will see pension benefits as its only duty, there is also a social duty to ensure that their employees’ psychological needs are also adequately catered for.
The aim here is an eminently social one which is to procure greater happiness for people after a lifetime of working for the good of our organisations. This will ensure that our retiring employee can at last fulfil himself and to coin a phrase “can enjoy the brilliance of the stars in the night sky”. But there will be no stars, and darker will be the night for those who have not learned to see what retirement life will bring! The following points illustrate why providing retirement education is essential for workers and should be provided for by socially minded employers:
- Preparation for retirement by workers will not happen by instinct alone. The input by employers who provide a Retirement Planning Course for employees comes at a minimal cost and in the case of our Retirement Life Courses where a company employs us to provide what we term an in-house course for an average of 10 to 25 employees, this cost can be as little as €75 per employee – or less than 0.2% of the average industrial wage.
- There is also an economic case why employers should consider stepping-up-to-the-plate. It is an established fact that where employers are seen to cater for the well-being of their soon-to-retire employees, this has a very positive impact on company morale – word about this small gesture permeates the workplace and echoes throughout the canteen.
- The obligation is also one of social justice and aims at giving retirees the human attention and economic comfort that they have earned by a lifetime of work.
- It is an established fact in international studies that a sudden change in working life leads to certain dangers for retired persons and involves “ certain physiological and psychological restraints as well”, and that without proper education and training for retirement life, “man does not know what to do with himself when facing the prospect of permanent inactivity”.
- The Retirement Moment is the moment for every private company and public sector organisation to which workers have contributed in building, to support them in return, not only on an income level, but also on the human level which can ensure that their personal and social lives continue to be a source of satisfaction and happiness.
- Retirement Education through well organised retirement planning courses can ensure that companies who benefit by the work of their employees can now be helped to broaden their horizons by each organisation showing the same generosity that employees have shown through their work efforts down through the years.