Retirement Stories study focuses on SUNY retirees and looks into the process of their adjustment to retirement and the activities in which they engage. Retirement is considered a major change in one’s life.
The major goal of the study was to find out how SUNY retirees had adjusted to their retirement and the lessons we could learn from their retirement experiences. Based on those experiences, what steps could SUNY campuses and potential retirees take to improve their retirement planning?
A survey questionnaire, “The Power of SUNY Retirees: Lessons from Retirement Experiences Survey,” was sent to retirees through the SUNY Retirees Service Corps (RSC). It contained questions relating to three items: 1. Adjustment to Retirement: How have retirees adjusted to retirement and what were the activities they engaged in to stay busy? 2. Role of SUNY Campuses in Providing Retirement Assistance: What assistance did survey respondents receive from their campus in planning their retirement? What more could campuses have done that would better prepare future retirees? 3. Advice to Employees Planning to Retire: Based on their own retirement experiences, what advice would respondents give to SUNY employees looking to retire?
The survey questionnaire was sent electronically to retirees on the RSC distribution list. Nearly 90 completed surveys were received. The responses came from retirees belonging to 30 SUNY campuses; they represented a variety of job classifications and years of service. About 67% of the responses came from retired faculty and the remaining 33% represented other job classifications.
This report is divided into five chapters. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the study and highlights the transition process most retirees generally go through in adjusting to retirement. Chapter 2 contains 102 actual retirement stories from the survey responses and the SUNY RSC website. Each story is fascinating, showing the challenges faced in transitioning to retirement. Although some retirees experienced initial difficulties, most of the respondents got involved in a variety of professional, civic, and voluntary activities to stay busy and productive. Giving back to community through volunteerism gave many much satisfaction and added meaning to their retirement. Chapter 3 contains recommendations from the retirees to employees planning to retire to help them better prepare for retirement. Chapter 4 contains suggestions from retirees regarding what assist employees planning to retire. Chapter 5 proposes several action items which SUNY campuses should consider taking to connect with their retirees and to tap this valuable resource.
SUNY campuses can take several simple cost-effective steps suggested in the action plan to strengthen connections with their retirees. For example, creation of campus retiree programs or organizations, strengthening those already in existence, and encouraging retirees’ involvement in campus and community services will benefit everyone – campuses, communities, and retirees themselves. The study makes a strong case for promoting a “retiree-campus-community” partnership at every SUNY campus to harness the power of SUNY retirees for their own greater good and that of the campus and the community.