The Experience of Retirement
Foreword by David J. Ekerdt
Retirement brings with it the promises of leisure and freedom as well as the risks of boredom and isolation. When retirees rid their schedules of anything resembling the kinds of obligations that once had been imposed by work, they will experience a sometimes-uncomfortable absence of structure. In The Experience of Retirement, the distinguished sociologist Robert S. Weiss provides a detailed description of how some people plan their retirement, what life in retirement is like, and what makes for a fulfilling retirement. His engaging book can thus serve as a most useful guide. Weiss shows us both retirement's benefits and its possible costs, both the relief retirees can feel once free of work's stresses and constraints and the discomfort that can be caused by loss of the positive aspects of working life.
The book is based on extensive interviews with eighty-nine men and women before and after their retirement from middle-income careers. Weiss makes vivid their experiences by presenting, in their own words, their descriptions of leaving their careers, considering what to do with their time, confronting issues of income in retirement, dealing, sometimes, with social isolation, and reorganizing their lives. The interviews reveal the way in which retirement affects marriages and other familial relationships. Weiss concludes by presenting advice about retirement based on the actual experiences of retirees. For anyone approaching the age of retirement or already retired and looking for a more satisfying post-career life, for personnel managers, health care professionals, and all those who provide services for the retired, The Experience of Retirement will be an illuminating guidebook to this phase of life.