Judy Murphy of the Connaught Tribune hears of the wisdom of planning for retirement at a time when people are living years longer

Planning for retirement is something many people put on the long finger, but it’s something that shouldn’t be avoided, says Elizabeth Carvill of the not-for-profit Retirement Planning Council.

The national organisation is currently running a series of courses in Galway offering advice and information on everything from lifestyle to finance to people who are getting set to face this new phase in life.

People are living longer and these days it’s possible that somebody’s retirement can last for a longer period than their career did, she points out.

“Therefore it becomes more important to plan and take a positive approach to retirement,” explains Elizabeth.

“Most people are looking forward to aspects of being retired, but there can be underlying feelings of apprehension and uncertainty about the time ahead. It’s a new phase.”

The Council, which is based in Dublin, works with over 3,000 organisations in Ireland, giving impartial and multi-faceted advice and information to people who are approaching retirement. Its expert advisers will be in Galway’s Ardilaun House Hotel on March 20 and 21, having previously been here last month.

Impartiality is a vital aspect of its service, says Elizabeth, who is the Retirement Council’s Head of Marketing and Development. The Council is not influenced by any financial institution and has no agenda, except to ensure people are ready to retire.

As part of this, it runs two-day open courses in all the country’s major cities, as well as in its Dublin headquarters. The demand in Galway is so strong that there’s now one here every month.

In addition, the Retirement Planning Council also runs tailor-made, in-house courses for companies which might have several people retiring at the same time.

But the two-day course, which is open to all, is the most popular. It focuses on the lifestyle and financial issues people face when retiring.

“Often with retirement-planning events, the focus is totally financial, but we take a multi-faceted approach,” says Elizabeth.

That’s important, she says, because while financial issues are relevant, they are only one aspect of this major phase of life.

“Retirement can have a big impact on someone’s identity,” she explains. “That transition from maybe being a bank manager or a postman to being a retired person means a change in identity and that can be difficult for some people.”

To access the full article, please click here 2014-03-07 Connaught Tribune