What is preventing people from retiring

Career & Salary

Many Germans dream of retirement. Others, on the other hand, made the decision early on to continue working beyond retirement age. "A wise decision," says Madeleine Leitner, a psychologist from Munich, "because, in addition to financial aspects, many people are still far too fit to do nothing at the age of 60. From a psychological point of view, in contrast to the widespread cliché of sweet idleness, there is even a risk of emptiness and depression . "

Lately the psychologist, who has been advising people in situations of upheaval at work for over 20 years, has noticed a new trend. "I have increased inquiries from successful people over the age of 50 or even 60 who would like to consciously deal with their future career plans." You do not dream of retirement or volunteering, but of a job with meaning.

For them, work is not a burden, but on the contrary a valuable and meaningful part of their existence that they would like to pursue in the long term. In the media, too, there are increasing reports of professionally successful "seniors" who, according to their self-image - such as the 78-year-old entrepreneur Harald Scheer - leave the subject of retirement behind with increasing age.

A full life and more money

Most of those seeking advice from Leitner are in the 50 plus age group and would like to put their previous work to the test once again. Some are consciously preoccupied with their lifelong dreams: for example, a civil servant finally opened a gallery after his retirement. Or employees are considering whether they can better set up their own business so that they can finally work according to their own ideas as entrepreneurs.

"Some successful entrepreneurs or the self-employed - for example lawyers, management consultants, doctors and tax consultants - seriously considered giving up their work completely. On closer analysis, however, their problems such as too much routine or certain adversities in their job turned out to be solvable," said Leitner . As a result of the collaboration, an unhappy tax advisor deliberately parted ways with his unreliable and therefore particularly expensive clients in the 1960s.

A frustrated lawyer in her mid-fifties is now focusing on initial discussions with clients and developing a strategy for the process; She now consistently delegates the unloved "odds and ends" to her colleagues. By tailoring their work even better to their own needs, these clients suddenly make them happy again, so that they can consciously start all over again. "And with an open end beyond the classic retirement age."

Retirement as a psychological risk

Due to the fixed retirement age, employees say goodbye to working life at a certain point in time, not always voluntarily. Many then fall into a deep hole. Although family, friends and hobbies can help to enjoy the new phase of life, there are significant changes from a psychological point of view that are predestined for the development of depression.

Working life offers a natural structuring of everyday life and is an automatic relationship generator. If both are omitted, and there are also financial restrictions, depression threatens. In no section of the population are these as widespread as among pensioners. Scientists have also found that working people age faster and die earlier the sooner they retire.

Five Tips For Deciding: Retire Or Not?

It is advisable for everyone to actively consider whether the classic model of retirement is suitable for them. Leitner has put together five tips as a small anti-retirement guide:

1. Forget the stereotype of the fateful forced retirement. From the perspective of the pension fund there is a "magical age limit", but basically this is a pure formality that has arisen historically. Objectively, nothing prevents you from continuing to work.

2. If you were previously employed, ask yourself the question: Could your company continue to be interested in your expertise? With the Flexi-Rente, the retirement age can now be voluntarily shifted back and pension entitlements can even be increased again. Do not be afraid to ask your employer whether you can continue to work as a freelancer or with a consultancy contract.

3. Take stock of your previous work. What do you like? What do you want to give up? How could the job be modified in such a way that it continues to be or is more enjoyable even beyond retirement age?

4. Do you have special interests? Then maybe you can realize this in your own business. Your monthly pension is a good cushion and helps you against the existential fears that keep many from self-employment.

5. And above all: Don't let yourself be branded because of your age. Instead of feeling "old", use terms like "seniority" and "life experience". The so-called "seniors" as a generation also stand for classic virtues that once distinguished Germany as a location and are no longer taken for granted today.