Retirement is a beginning, not an end

(NewsUSA) - Chances are, you know someone about to enter retirement. Between aging baby boomers and struggling businesses, many seniors find themselves leaving the workplace. And the numbers of new retirees are only going to rise -- nearly 6,000 Americans turn 65 every day.

Retirement is a big transition for a former working stiff, and many people struggle to determine their next step. After all, the retirement age of 65 was established in the late 1800s, when life expectancies were shorter -- today's retirees will live for decades after leaving the workforce.

And longer lives create more expenses. Many retirees will end up pursuing second jobs in order to meet expenses. Only half of all employees earn pensions, and the falling stock market wiped out many a retirement fund.

If you're planning -- or even attending -- a retirement party, you should keep these potential uncertainties in mind. For example, a person being forced into early retirement might not appreciate congratulations. It's more appropriate to express how glad you are to have known or worked with the retiree.

That said, it is still okay to celebrate by acknowledging the retiree's contributions. If you're selecting gifts for a retiree, choose something that will commemorate their work, such as a personalized wall plaque or pen holder.

Of course, retirees today often choose to stay active, pursuing new careers that suit their personal interests or involving themselves in volunteer work.

With this in mind, treat your coworker's retirement like a transition into a new and rewarding phase of life, rather than just an exit from the workplace. Talk to the retiree's spouse and friends to learn about their post-retirement plans. If they're planning on going back to school, for example, you might want to give them a gift certificate to a book store, as well as a gift that commemorates their contributions to your organization.