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Given the unstable situation with the Wisconsin state budget and removal of collective bargaining rights, the number of individuals in the public sector who are planning for retirement or newly retired is rising.

With a nine percent increase in the number of retirees since last January, many individuals are finding that they must quickly plan for retirement without having the time to create a plan for themselves and a direction for what they will do in the future. Yet to be prepared for a successful and satisfying retirement, one needs to look at more than the financial and health planning issues. Individuals also need to explore the question, “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”

The unique online, self-study course, “Planning for Retirement: Exploring Your Career and Leisure Options,” provides the resources, tools and time you need to explore this question. The University of Wisconsin Center on Education and Work conducts this online course through the University’s Learn@UW website. The 18-unit course guides participants through the retirement-planning process by exploring the issues that retirees encounter as they transition into retirement.

In the Planning for Retirement course, each registrant is assigned to an instructor who will respond to the assignments and online postings. This does not limit the participant to online interactions with the instructor. The course is built to give the participant the opportunity to meet with the instructor in person or on the phone during the course and after completion. This gives the participant personal career counseling with a qualified career facilitator.

The course provides a structured way to move through the process of exploring what you will do after retirement. This flexible course will increase your self-knowledge, clarify the roles you want work to play in the future, help you explore occupational opportunities and guide you as you examine your skills and strengths. Through the ongoing enrollment, participants may join the course at any time and work at their own pace to complete the 18 units within six months.

Since its start two years ago, the Planning for Retirement course has seen an array of students from different fields, such as doctors, lawyers, graphic designers and computer programmers. A former student shared, “I am sure that I have never had a class that has provoked so much soul searching as this one. You are right that this class has really helped me clarify the things I value most… the exercises have caused me to devote the time and thought necessary to prepare for retirement.”

This process of exploration is not straightforward, but it can be exciting. It takes time to decide what kind of life balance you want – what you want to leave behind and what you want to take with you. Participation will allow you to step back, reflect, and gather energy and direction for the next phase of your life and work.

For more information, visit or contact Judy Ettinger.

Karen Ames, Center for Education and Work, submitted this announcement. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contribute calendar items, campus announcements and other good news to UW Oshkosh Today.