How Does Retirement Work?

How Does Retirement Work?
••• elderly,retirement image by Greg Pickens from

Retirement is a major transition. Some people revel in it, while others may find themselves feeling somewhat lost and missing the purpose and companionship of their career. Financial security is a primary concern for many retired people. Staying active and involved in the community can help a retired person to avoid alienation and boredom.


People who worked in a career with good benefits will probably receive a pension upon their retirement. Many retired people depend on this pension as their primary means of income during their later years. Governments in many countries also provide their citizens with a pension. Although these pensions are generally not enough to live on by themselves, they can be a great help in making ends meet. Married couples who both had long careers resulting in generous pensions, combined with the government pensions available after the age of 65, can look forward to financial security in old age.

Part-Time Jobs

For older people who are not receiving a large enough pension, or elders who are looking for a way to stay active, a part-time job can provide a good balance between working and retirement. Some workers simply move into semiretirement and continue in the same job but with fewer hours and less intensive involvement. Other people may retire from their career and pursue another path that may be less profitable but more in line with their true interests. Some older people find themselves working in part-time jobs solely for the money, and may be doing the same work as students and people at the beginning of their careers.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is important at any time of life, but particularly during the retirement years, when the requirements of work have been removed but an aging body can be more prone to the weakening that comes with inactivity. Physical activity can be as simple as gardening or walking every day. More ambitious retired people may become involved in bicycling, running or even triathlons. Overcoming the societal belief that older people should be inactive and uninvolved can be a challenge for retirees who wish to maintain their physical health.


Retirement can lead to a feeling of isolation for some people, particularly people who live far from close family and have few friends outside of work. Putting effort into maintaining close friendships and frequent interaction with other people is an important element for seniors to maintain a sense of connection and purpose in their lives. Many organizations focus on the needs of seniors and can help them to avoid becoming isolated. The death of a spouse is a particularly stressful time, and it can lead to the disruption of other social connections, for example by losing touch with friends who were closer to the deceased partner.