Retiring Lives

Paperback / softback, 200 pages, 244 mm x 186 mm
1 Nov 2009
Institute of Education

Price: £15.99

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Retiring is a challenging transition, or series of transitions. It affects social, economic, emotional and physical lives, and decisions about relationships, places to live, indeed all aspects of being alive. Retiring Lives presents fourteen personal real life stories from people at various stages of retiring. Each author recounts their own story about retiring, bringing together many aspects of the experiences: the social, psychological and practical. These inspirational and illustrated stories will encourage the reader to hold up these experiences to their own, learn from comparisons and similarities and extend their own thinking. The book also includes chapters on setting up and running a retiring group; the process of retiring as an aspect of professional development and reoccurring financial themes; and the benefits, allowances and privileges of becoming older. These contributions will stir the reader into becoming actively involved in the planning for their own retirement. This book is essential reading for those working within the education sector. It will also benefit all those considering retiring or changing how they view their working lives, whatever their professional background. It will be useful for those who want to set up or advise on retiring groups and workshops both within and outside their organisations.

  • Eileen Carnell

    Eileen Carnell has been involved in teaching, professional development and educational research throughout her carrer. She has contributed to a range of publications, included her co-authored book Passion and Politics (IOE, 2008), which focuses on academic writing.

  • Caroline Lodge

    Caroline Lodge has worked all her adult life in education, pausing only to gain a daughter and an MA. At 60 she is a member of the Retiring Women group as she retires slowly from her position as a lecturer in education into an unknown future that involves a new grandson.

  • Gillian Bennet

    Gillian Bennet taught Art in secondary schools and retired from a deputy head's post at 50 following health problems.

  • Marianne Coleman

    Marianne Coleman has spent her working life in education and at the time of publication had recently retired from her post as Reader in Educational Leadership and Management at the Institute of Education, University of London.

  • Jennifer Evans

    Jennifer Evans worked for 25 years as a researcher and lecturer in education policy, mainly at the Institute of Education, but also at NFER and the House of Commons.

  • Anne Freeman

    Anne Freeman taught in London schools for 30 plus years, the last ten years as head of a Design and Technology faculty.

  • Lorna Hoey

    Lorna Hoey has been a teacher of Art and English for over 30 years, teaching in Northern Ireland, Switzerland and London.

  • Anne Gold

    Anne Gold retired from 20 years of teaching in inner London comprehensive schools followed by 20 years of working as an academic at the Institute of Education, University of London.

  • Ashley Kent

    Ashley Kent retired as Professor of Geography Education at the Institute of Education, University of London - the culmination of a lifetime as a geography teacher.

  • Alison Kirton

    Alison Kirton has over 40 years experience of teaching Social Science and Huimaninites in the UK and abroad. Her main commitment has been curriculum innovation designed to provide better educational opportunities for female, working-class and ethnic minority students.

  • Diana Leonard

    Diana Leonard started work as a science teacher, but undertook a PhD in anthropology and ended up teaching sociology and then women's studies at the Institute of Education, University of London. At the time of publication she continued there as an emeritus professor.

  • Jacqui MacDonald

    Jacqui MacDonald is a qualified teacher and a trained Careers Education and Guidance specialist and has worked in higher education as a lecturer and consultant for over 17 years. She currently works as head of Staff Development at the Institute of Education, University of London.

  • Ted Mercer

    Ted Mercer was a primary headteacher in the Inner London Education Authority. He became an inspector before retiring at 65, but he continued to work in a part-time consultancy role for a few years after retiring.

  • Alex Moore

    Alex Moore has worked as a schoolteacher and university lecturer since 1969. At the time of publication he was an emeritus professor at the Institute of Education, University of London.

  • Barbara Patilla

    Barbara Patilla retired age 61 after working all her adult life. For 28 years she taught in secondary schools in Tower Hamlets, apart from three years working as an advisory teacher in the ILEA.

  • Anne Peters

    Anne Peters was Head of Information and Services at the Institute of Education, University of London.

  • Sid Reddy

    Sid Reddy came into Financial Advice after a career in teaching and retail management. At the time of publication he was working as an Independent Financial Adviser and also advised charitable organisations on various aspects of Financial Planning.

Section 1 Big Issues and the experience of the Retiring Women group
1 Perspectives on retiring: dipping our bread into the sherry by Caroline Lodge and Eileen Carnell
2 The history of the Retiring Women group by Marianne Coleman
3 What we have learned about running the group by Eileen Carnell, Marianne Coleman, Jennifer Evans, Anne Gold, Alison Kirton, Diana Leonard, Caroline Lodge and Anne Peters
Section 2 Retiring stories
4 Three teachers talk about retiring by Barbara Patilla, Anne Freeman and Lorna Hoey
5 Hip-hop, illness and early retirement by Gil Bennet
6 Transitions and transformations by Eileen Carnell
7 Part-time work as a way forward into retirement by Marianne Coleman
8 Busy doing nothing... by Jennifer Evans
9 Reflections on gender and retiring by Anne Gold
10 Even busier in my Third Age by Ashley Kent
11 Dogs and duvets: living in rural France as a retirement project by Alison Kirton
12 One step forward and two back, then hopefully forward again by Diana Leonard
13 Retiring backwards by Caroline Lodge
14 A conversation with Ted Mercer, looking back twenty years by Ted Mercer
15 Into the airlock by Alex Moore
Section 3 Supporting and celebrating retiring
16 Professional development for retiring by Jacqui MacDonald
17 Helping people to the other side: recurring themes from a financial adviser by Sid Reddy
18 Reasons to be cheerful by Eileen Carnell, Marianne Coleman, Jennifer Evans, Anne Gold, Alison Kirton, Diana Leonard, Caroline Lodge and Anne Peters

Although retirement is a transition commonly experienced by people as they reach the end of a work cycle, it is nevertheless a highly individualized experience. For many, it can also be the start of new beginnings. Retiring Lives gives a wonderful insight into the personal reflective process that retirement involves and allows readers to reflect in a meaningful way on their own retirement experience.

Tatiana Schifferle-Rowson, University of Keele

With the added years of health and vitality that have been visited upon a new generation of retirees, we/they are in uncharted territory, entering a stage of life not seen before in human history. Many of us are wondering how we’ll live, what we’ll do, who we’ll be for the next twenty or thirty years. This is a tremendous challenge and a tremendous opportunity – surely easier for some than for others. The authors of this book show the many ways that some retired professionals are moving through the transition in human terms and with the support of a group of kindred spirits. Some feel joyful at the freedom and chafe at the disbelieving tone of social conversations, while others take a longer time to adjust and find new networks and friends: 'a steep learning curve', according to one. Stories are laced with sudden illness or the death of a spouse – 'whatever our best laid plans … illness can upset everything at any time'. Most are adept at reflecting on the experience and finding undiscovered strengths and sensations. The book is a worthy read for anyone thinking about retiring.

Jacquelyn B. James, Ph.D., Co-director of Research, Sloan Center on Aging and Work/Workplace Flexibility; Research Professor, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, USA,

This book provides a wide range of insights into patterns of life and how these are influenced by and shape the transition into retirement. The honest life stories, presented by the chapter authors, provide a clear picture of the thoughts and feelings being faced by people, especially professional women, as retirement is contemplated and experienced. The introduction grasps the diverse aspects of retirement planning and the range of chapters adds quality and depth to this helpful book. Retiring Lives will be helpful to anybody considering pre-retirement planning, for individuals themselves and for course providers. The ‘live cases’ add richness and colour to planning for retirement.

Anthony Chiva, Life Academy

It will be of interest to people thinking about their own retirement, and to others who give advice about retirement. ...Retiring Lives offers thought-provoking material for gerontologists concerned with the development of personal retirement narratives.

Jonathan Hughes, Ageing and Society

Essentially, the book is a very valuable resource providing stories that are ‘positive and upbeat’ whilst acknowledging some of the ‘dark side’ associated with retiring (xiii). The most important thing I have learned from reading the book, perhaps, is that transition into retirement can be eased with preparation and social support. After reading the very spirited stories where retirement has given people time and space to be able to do the things they want to do, it has also made me reflect on how I would like my career and life to progress.

Helen Owton, University of Exeter, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 30: 2