Workers Need to Rebuild Relationships Before They Retire

      January 05, 2012 07:35

      In preparing for retirement, workers should try and build meaningful relationships with their nearest and dearest that can sustain them once they no longer spend all day at the office, academics suggest.

      If they leave it until retirement, they may suffer a severe culture shock from the sudden need to build meaningful relationships with their spouses and families who have become virtual strangers. Men are especially prone to finding themselves hopelessly at sea without an office to escape to.

      In a survey by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, 72 percent of women said looking after an aging husband is a burden.

      "Men who've focused on their workplaces are much less prepared for old age than women who've maintained good personal relations with friends and relatives," Prof. Han Kyung-hye of Seoul National University's Institute on Aging said. "Retiring men need to change their mindset about relations with their families and friends, as if they were starting a new job."

      In a survey last month, the Chosun Ilbo and Samsung Life Insurance asked 500 men and women in their 40s and 50s how much they talk to their spouses. Forty-two percent said less than 30 minutes a day, and 29 percent said between 30 minutes and an hour.

      But given the average life expectancy, most people will have to spend long hours cooped up with their partners for 20 years or more after they retire. According to the Chosun Ilbo survey, most respondents believe they will spend an average of 21.8 years with their spouses after retirement.

      That means men in particular should start to build an affectionate relationship with their wives long before they leave their workplace for the last time to avoid constant squabbles and late-life divorce.

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