Cultural messaging has traditionally reinforced the idea of the man as bread winner and thusly, men of this generation have a particularly hard time making the retirement adjustment as they so often completely self-identify with their work. In light of this cultural trend, author and sociologist Lyndsay Green sets out to demystify retirement for men and their partners, and provides an engaging and uplifting portrait of the emotional landscape of men in their sixties and seventies.
While most books on this subject focus on finances, Lyndsay Green writes more about the psychological implications of retirement. More descriptive than instructional, the book is based on interviews with over sixty people, from age 56 to 88, living in cities, small towns and rural areas.
In spite of the fact that many men have a deep-rooted fear about retirement, and that so often their spouses can be baffled by their inability to express those fears and needs, Lyndsay Green discovered that the story of men’s retirement is mostly one of adjustment, revitalization and reinvention. "Ready to Retire?" is an inspiring portrait of the emotional lives of men who are retired or are considering retirement, and the women (and men) they live with.
I work in the retirement industry ... I conduct seminars and one-on-ones encouraging participants to sign up for their company-sponsored retirement plan so financially they can have the retirement they hope for. As such, I like to read books about retirement planning and this one caught my eye.
Most of us hope that we save enough for our retirements and we don't think about what we are going to actually do in retirement (this is something I discuss sometimes in the one-on-ones) and how our retirement will affect our relationship with our spouse. This book isn't focused on the financial aspects of retirement and the topics include:
- Men and retirement
- Fears of retirement
- The reality of retirement
- Delayed retirement
- Relationship with others
- Relationship with yourself
The foundation of this book was based on the lives of 44 men (I didn't realize when I got the book that is was focused on men) and 17 of their spouses, who told the author their stories about being or living with a retirement-aged man. The ages ranged from 56 to 88 with two-thirds of them at peak retirement age (age 64 to 75). Some left work happily while others not so happily. Some retired and then went back to work and some wished they were still working. They came from different income levels and some had saved enough for retirement, while others hadn't. They were married, divorced or widowed, both hetero- and homosexual.
It's an interesting book to read to get men's views on retirement and also their spouses reactions. It's got to be quite a change for a woman who has been used to having the house to herself to all of a sudden have her husband around all the time (that's a lot of togetherness!). One spouse was honest and said that she'll have breakfast and supper with her husband but she wants to be on her own for lunch.