Retirement stress is a subjective phenomenon induced by an individual’s secondary appraisal of retirement as threatening and dreadful. It is a silent killer. It is an outcome of inter-relationship between the mind and the body as well as the link between the body and health. It depends on the magnitude of one’s negative attitudes towards retirement. Retirement is a change in job status from full time employment and it relates to job network. Retirement is also an earned position based on many years of service in the labour force. It was introduced in ‘Britain in 1810 and in America in 1920.
The institutionalization of retirement emanated as a result of reaction to the needs of a large number of elderly, unable to work due to their ages or ill health. It was a measure designed by Political and Economic Leaders to control labour market. It was also a measure designed by personnel policy to tie workers to jobs and reduce unemployment by providing a systematic way to phase out older workers. Retirement has become in our accelerated machine culture, a “rite of passage”, it is looked forward to anticipated happiness, stress, and dread of the new worries it creates.
Stress is a response of the mind and body to external stimulus as a result of negative perception of the difficult situation as a threat. The stressed individual may start to manifest psychological, physiological, and behavioural problems because of the internalized unfavourable perception of retirement. Stress is the individual’s experience of an event that is perceived as endangering his physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.
Retirement stress has a percolative power, which distorts the stressor’s psychological, social, and physical configuration. From experience through literature, it is not every one that perceives the same event (retirement) as stressful. For instance, one may experience retirement as threatening, while another may welcome it as a challenge. This depends on the degree of preparation or enlightenment towards the retirement. It also depends on how one is grounded in the word of God. The Christians who live by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) will surely not experience retirement stress.
The Disengaged theory, Activity theory, and Crisis theory were able to explain retirement in different perspectives. The Disengagement theorists conceptualized retirement as a mutual withdrawal of older individual and society from each other. They believe that retirement ought to precipate retirement stress. The Activity theorists theorized that unless constrained by poor health or disability the older workers should not retire in order to avert retirement stress. The Crisis theorists emphasized that life event such as retirement, creates great amounts of retirement stress. It is possible that retirement stress is bound to occur to some individuals based on poor pre-retirement education to the elderly individuals or one’s faith in God. That is why it is known that retirement stress depends on the individual psychological make-up or Christian faith in God.
Retirement stress has its roots/origins on psychological disequilibrium or financial imbalance or both of them. The remedy of stress will be interesting if one is adequately prepared psychologically and financially, prior to his near phase retirement. It is obvious that one might be financially buoyant but he still suffers from retirement stress because he has not prepared cognitively and emotionally. He who is not prepared psychologically might be preoccupied with what may happen to his high-esteem and high status if he retires.
Every worker should understand that retirement is inevitable like death. Retirement involves receipt with pension benefits to sustain the elderly at his old age. The old ones have to leave the job to create an opportunity for the young ones to be employed and maintain high productivity.
There are many things a worker should bear in mind to achieve from the day he was employed to avert retirement stress. He should plan to build a house of his own and save enough for the raining day. One should be parsimonious (extremely unwilling to spend money) in certain situations with hope for the raining day. He should be able to envisage post retirement life-style in time, to adjust where necessary. One should not isolate himself during his active working years. One should be able to invest on a small-scale business he could lean on when he retires.
One who has enough money can invest on landed property so that they can assist financially later and materially at their old age; when they must have occupied better positions because of their level of education. One has to plain very well on how to utilize his gratuity and pension. One could plan to put his money in fixed deposit where he can depend on the interest to feed. One can take up insurance policy. One can start early to purchase shares from reliable companies to make him a shareholder. The dividends may sustain him at old age and as well engage in Oil Palm Plantation etc.
When an individual applies some of the above strategies, he would not fear or worry if his mandatory retirement should start today. One should try his best to hold to the word of God, be on your guard, stand firm in faith, be men of courage; be strong (2 Corinthians 5:7). The things of this world should not make you to have psychological problem. If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed (Matthew 17: 20 KJV), you shall say unto retirement stress be removed and it shall obey you. Your faith in God will enable you to live a normal life and God’s grace is sufficient for you. You have to know that God is able (Matthew 19:26).