Exploring Retirement

"The institutions and instruments which have been created to meet the problem of ageing, are in no position to provide us with a policy for that great majority of retired people who present no problem at all"

Peter Laslett: A Fresh Map of Life.

Welcome to the February 2018 edition of Exploring Retirement. In 2018 we are exploring some of the roles open to people in "retirement". Not necessarily full-time, not necessarily paid but all of them interesting!

As awareness grows of the huge and growing number of active retirees, so new initiatives are springing up to cater for their needs. This month we feature Retired 4 Hire, a website that aims to match people with skills developed over a lifetime, to those who have a need for those skills.

Exploring Retirement is fast becoming the most comprehensive source of ideas for an active retirement lifestyle on the internet.

Exploring Retirement is written by and for retired people, to assist active retirees make the most of their additional years of good health. If you are interested in writing for Exploring Retirement, please contact editor@exploringretirement.co.uk. For ideas to write about, have a glance at the July 2014 issue of Exploring Retirement, available by clicking on "Past Issues" in the navigation bar on the left of this page. These are only suggestions, please contact us if you have a different topic you would like to share your thoughts on.

We trust that you will continue to enjoy our monthly publication and please tell your friends about the site.

Writing team

We have three regular contributors on our writing team. Here they are with a brief note explaining their principal areas of interest:

John Copelton, EditorDr John Copelton - well-being in retirementMichael McSorley, contributorMichael McSorley - lively comment on sport and cultureJeannette Lewis, contributorJeannette Lewis - inspiring ideas on retirement living

Life experience and adjustment to retirement.

In the October 2015 issue of the Gerontologist, there was an article discussing how the adjustment to retirement was influenced by the retirees earlier life experience and resources. In particular the study examined the impact of earlier life experience on the extent to which retirees said they missed work after they had retired. While most people seem to adjust to retirement fairly smoothly, a considerable share of retirees experienced problems.

This new study aimed to test the impact of earlier life experiences in the work, health, and family spheres, on adjustment difficulties, particularly with regard to income, social contacts and status.. They also sought to take account of gender as a potential moderator. The study used data collected in 2001, 2006–2007, and 2011 among 1,004 Dutch older persons, who were all employed at the first wave of data collection and fully retired within the observation period. In the Netherlands, all individuals are covered by a flat-rate basic public pension scheme, and about 91% of employees are covered by earnings-related occupational pension plans in which participation is mandatory, so income in retirement should not have been a significant factor in determining retirement satisfaction. Much more is organised at a collective level in the Netherlands than, for example, in the United States where individual workers mainly carry the risks and responsibilities. Replacement rates are relatively high and the income poverty rates among the elderly are low.

The study set out to examine the impact of those factors which were considered could possibly influence the extent to which retirees might miss work. These were -

  1. Career Mobility

  2. The findings showed that retirees who had a steep upward career path in midlife were less likely to miss money/income, equally likely to miss social contacts, and more likely to miss status, compared with those that did not experience upward mobility. These findings clearly point out that retirees can miss work for different reasons, depending on their career path in midlife. Probably, mid-career pathways “set the stage” for experiences during late careers and one’s post-retirement situation, either by limiting or promoting resources and opportunities and consequently shaping retirement experiences.

  3. Marital History

  4. The study found that divorced retirees without a partner were most likely to experience difficulties adjusting to the social changes accompanied with the loss of the work role. They were not only more likely to miss social contacts and status compared with continuously married retirees but also compared with single never married retirees, suggesting that among those living without a partner it is important to take diversity in terms of marital histories into account. Also, the long-term negative financial consequences of divorce experiences were reflected in the data. Those retirees who re-partnered after divorce were found to be more likely to miss financial resources after retirement compared with continuously married retirees. Generally, men and women did not differ in terms of their difficulties adjusting to the loss of the work role, although the implications of marital experiences were found to differ slightly by gender. As expected, being divorced and single had a slightly stronger impact on missing work-related social contacts for men than for women.

  5. Social Contacts

  6. Generally, social contacts were found to be the work-related aspect that retirees were most likely to miss. The longer individuals were retired however, the less likely they were to miss work-related social contacts, which might either suggest that retirees compensate work-related contacts by other contacts or perceive work-related contacts as less important over time.

  7. Health

  8. Retirees in poor health were more likely to miss work-related money/income, social contacts, and status compared with those in good health. Leaving work due to disability or unemployment was likely to result in much less favourable outcomes, given its relatively poor prospects and inherently involuntary character.


The findings of this study have a number of important implications for post retirement. The impact of early career mobility on retirement satisfaction is significant. The self-determination theory of motivation proposes that we all have an innate need to feel competent, autonomous and related. Clearly these needs are stronger in some individuals than others. They may also be self-reinforcing in that rapid career advancement can enhance the experience of self-determination achieved through work and hence provide the drive to achieve more. For such individuals retirement can be unwelcome, with it's loss of influence as well as status. Such individuals are more likely to seek out new roles were they can continue to experience psychological reward. Hence they often continue to work part-time as, for example, non-executive directors or as charity trustees in the voluntary sector.

The rewards of self determination are not restricted to the high fliers however. We all seek opportunities to feel valued and use our respective talents. A UK Government sponsored study [2] found that one way in which some retirees manage retirement is by a gradual transition into retirement, by a reduction in their hours or by taking a part-time or ‘bridging’ job. Those who took up bridge employment for enjoyment or social motivations were found to have a greater level of life satisfaction than in their pre-retirement work. However, the life satisfaction levels upon retirement were lower for those who took up bridge employment because of financial concerns.Clearly it is the "quality" of the work that matters.

For most males their partner is often the one person to whom they can truly unburden themselves. The same UK study [2] found that the employment status of their wives can influence how many men react to retirement. Married men usually feel better about retirement if their wives are not working, whereas those whose wives continue to work when they are retired are more inclined to experience depression.


[1] The Gerontologist: Missing Work After Retirement

[2] UK Government: Retirement and Well-being

Featured Activity: Retired 4 Hire

Why continue working?

Cessation of work is not accompanied by cessation of expenses - Cato the Elder (234-149BC)

If you ask people who are still working after the age when most people have retired, why they continue to be employed for reasons other than for the money, they may give you many different answers.

Here are a few of the more common ones -

  • To have structure in my life
  • To have a sense of belonging
  • To keep physically and mentally active
  • To maintain my sense of identity
  • To maintain my self-esteem
  • To feel part of a team
  • To have a social network
  • To make a contribution
  • To use my skills, knowledge and experience

A UK study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that substantial numbers would prefer to keep on working rather than retire completely, provided their work would:

  • enable them to learn new things
  • give them a lot of freedom to decide how to do their own work
  • allow them to have a say in important decisions.

A number of websites have sprung up to address these needs. This month we are looking at one in particular, Retired 4 Hire.

Retired 4 Hire

Retired 4 Hire is a free, non-profit organisation in the UK that aims to to help retired people broadcast their skills on the internet and find part time work in their local neighbourhood. Retired 4 Hire aims to recover it's costs from the advertising on their site and from sponsorship.

The Retired 4 Hire database is not intended for people who have a full time income, it's for people who are retired or semi-retired, or about to retire. It aims to enhance people's life by enabling them to continue to earn some money, and just as importantly, by add interesting activities to their lives. You can, if you wish, choose to only accept projects that interest you. You may wish to work only one or two days per week or perhaps only on an occasional basis. Retired 4 Hire plays no part in negotiating a price for your work with whoever who contacts you. That is left up to you to agree with your client once you have discussed the work, or once you have met them in person.

Retired 4 Hire believe that after many years of learning and training many retired people just don't want to give up their skills totally. Or you may want to reinvent yourself by turning a hobby interest into a whole new career. You can list as many skills as you like when you put in your profile, or add more later and the search will find those when someone needs one of your skills.

To learn more about Retired 4 Hire and to read about the wide variety of jobs on offer, visit their website by clicking here.

You can watch a short video clip with Chris Croft, the co-founder of Retired4Hire by clicking here -


Michael McSorley

Last month Michael reviewed some of 2017's best films. Here he shares his views on a number of last years best reads, both fiction and non-fiction.You can catch up with his recommendations by clicking here.

Jeanette Lewis

Have you broken your New Year resolutions yet? I long ago gave up having any! For this February issue Jeanette takes a long, hard look at the self-improvement industry, with it's constant admonishments to be fitter, slimmer, smarter etc. You can read Jeanette's article by clicking here

Ronnie Carser

Regular readers will know that Ronnie contributes to Exploring Retirement on an occasional basis. His articles are always well researched and thought provoking. In this essay he takes a look at the important topic of planning for retirement. Click here to read what he has to say.

Quote - Unquote

My thanks to Michael for this little gem.

"If you haven't grown up by age 50, you don't have to!"