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College courses offer boomers new perspectives on retirement

Approaching retirement can be a stressful proposition even for those who report feeling well-prepared for their next chapter – a finding that has prompted an Okanagan College instructor to launch two new courses aimed at allaying worries and smoothing the transition for baby boomers in the region.

“Even when retirement is something we’ve looked forward to all our working lives, actually leaving the workforce is complicated,” says Kathy Fahey, a certified retirement coach and one of the instructors for the two new courses that will launch this fall at the College’s Kelowna and Penticton campuses.

A six-week course entitled Launching Your Encore Career will offer soon-to-be retirees insights into how they can fulfil the dream of being their own boss, embarking on second career or using their experience and knowledge to give back to the community.

For those searching for a quick introduction to common retirement pitfalls – and ways of sidestepping them – the College is also offering a four-hour workshop entitled Am I Ready to Retire? How to navigate a smooth transition from the workforce. This shorter offering is designed to help participants gauge their level of readiness to retire, explore their options and develop a plan to make the transition easier.

“Navigating a smooth transition from the workforce can be tricky,” says Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies at Okanagan College. “Ensuring you have the financial means to support yourself is only one of the many factors to consider before picking your retirement date.”

As a coach who has worked with scores of retirees from different sectors and economic situations, Fahey says there are many factors influencing boomers to stay in the workforce – from longer and healthier life expectancies to financial concerns, reduced pension benefits and higher personal debt.

Fahey is also quick to point out another factor she sees in many boomers’ desire to remain in the workforce.

“For many of the current generation approaching retirement age, there is a strong sense of identity and purpose tied to their job, and the desire to continue to contribute.”

“With the expectation of increased longevity and good health, Canadian Baby Boomers could spend more years in retirement than they did working,” says Fahey. “Along with those longer life expectancies, come concerns about being able to support themselves financially and how they will fill their time.”

Launching Your Encore Career starts on Sept. 13 at the College’s Penticton campus and on Sept. 26 at the Kelowna campus. Am I Ready to Retire? workshop runs Sept. 12 and Sept. 14, and Nov. 4 in Penticton and on Nov. 7 and Nov. 9 in Kelowna.

Learn more at