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The views expressed in this case study are those of the author and not necessarily 
those of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare 





For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 
Washington 25, D.C. - Price 15 cents 


PATTERNS FOR PROGRESS IN AGING 
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The TVA Preretirement Program 


CASE STUDY No. 9 
by 


E. B. Scuuttz, Formerly Personnel Staff Officer 
Tennessee Valley Authority 
Knoxville, ‘Tennessee 


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF 
HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE 


ABRAHAM Risicorr, Secretary 
Special Staff on Aging 
Washington 25, D.C. 


June 1961 





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FOREWORD 


PATTERNS FOR PROGRESS IN AGING is the overall title of 
a series of case studies designed to make more widely known a 
variety of successful activities for and by older people. Each study 
provides an account of the nature, history, and development of a 
project and its impact on older people. Each is, in effect, an 
objective self-evaluation made by a responsible representative of 
the program. 

The Tennessee Valley Authority Preparation for Retirement 
Program is a good example of how management-union coopera- 
tion in industry can assist employees to plan for their period of 
retirement. It seems fitting that TVA, which has pioneered in 
reclaiming resources of the Tennessee Valley, should also be 
among the first in industry to make a constructive contribution to 
the solving of some of the problems which arise when employees 
are faced with retirement. The success of this program is due in 
part to the careful thought and planning that went on for one 
and a half years before it went into effect. The success is also 
largely due to the efforts of the author, Mr. E. B. Shultz, who 
was intimately associated with TVA’s labor relations program 
during his long tenure with the agency. He directed the program 
described in this report until his own retirement in November 
1959. 

The “Patterns for Progress in Aging” series is being prepared 
under the direction of Clark Tibbits, Chief of Program Planning, 
Special Staff on Aging, U.S. Department of Health, Education, 
and Welfare. 

It is hoped that the studies will serve to suggest worthwhile 
projects to community planners and organizations and to provide 
guidance to their development and operation. 


PREFACE 


THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY is a public agency 
but is, in a number of respects, similar to a private industrial 
enterprise. A brief background statement may be helpful. It is 
an agency of the United States Government, established by the 
Tennessee Valley Authority Act of 1933 as a Government corpo- 
ration, and has considerable autonomy. Its operations extend 
over a region including parts of seven States. In the field of 
personnel administration, the autonomy granted by the Act has 
permitted collective bargaining relationships with unions repre- 
senting employees similar to those in private industry, although 
these relationships are limited by some Federal laws like the 
Veterans’ Preference Act of 1944, the Federal leave law, and the 
TVA Act itself. Since TVA was excluded from the Civil Service 
Retirement System, TVA established its own retirement system. 
A joint union-management committee formulated a plan under 
the guidance of an actuary and its plan was established by TVA 
Board action in 1939. The plan included administrative machin- 
ery consisting of a board of directors of seven, three appointed by 
TVA, three elected by the membership, and the seventh member 
elected for three years by those six. The retirement system is a 
contributory one and both TVA’s and members’ contributions 
are set up in a trust fund for the benefit of the members. This 
fund is managed by a trustee under a trust agreement. Under the 
original plan, retirement was optional at age 60, compulsory at 
age 70. 
E. B. Shultz 


CONTENTS 
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THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY PREPARA- 
TION FOR RETIREMENT PROGRAM_-______ 


HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT_______________ 


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A Conference With Gerontologists__________ 
The Need for Further Study________________ 


REACHING CONSENSUS. 2. oe 


FORMULATION OF THE PROGRAM______---_-- 


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EVALUATING THE RESULTS_________-____-_---- 
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APPENDIX A: PREPARATION FOR RETIREMENT 
PROGRAM ENROLLMENT QUESTIONNAIRE--_-~_ 


APPENDIX B: EVALUATION OF PREPARATION 
FOR RETIREMENT MEETINGS___-___-____-_~- 


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THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY PREPARATION FOR 
RETIREMENT PROGRAM 


What It Is 


THE TVA Preparation for Retirement Program, otfered since 1956, 
attempts to stimulate creative and individual planning among Tennessee 
Valley Authority employees approaching retirement age. The program 
emphas‘zes the “discussion group” approach to counseling, a technique 
which utilizes the personal resources and knowledge of each participant. 


How It Works 


Six small-group sessions, held on company time, give men and women 
who have reached 60 years of age an opportunity to discuss problems of 
mutual concern, including financial plans, retirement benefits, health, 
postretirement activities, living arrangements, and legal problems related 
to retirement. Each session is given direction by a discussion leader 
who, in turn, structures his leadership from a master guide or outline. 
Printed leaflets and visual aids are used when appropriate and changed 
from time to time in favor of newer, more informative materials. 
Groups are composed of from 10 to 20 people. 

Divisions meet the payroll costs of their employees while they are 
attending the retirement course and also contribute the services of 
recorders, discussion leaders, and experts, e.g., the health officers and 
lawyers, who are on the TVA staff. All other costs are met as an ad- 
ministrative expense by the Division of Personnel, which provides most 
of the direction, planning, discussion leadership, and materials. 

Management and unions cooperated in developing the program 
through a Joint Committee on Selection and Preparation for Retire- 
ment and continue to serve it in an advisory capacity. 


Who Is Served? 


When T'VA’s preretirement program began there was a backlog of 
employees ranging up to age 70. During the first year, those who 
would be 64 or older in 1956 were invited to participate. ‘Those who 
were 61 to 64 were eligible for the second year’s program. In the third 
year, those 60 and 61 were eligible. ‘Thus, at the end of 3 years, the 


program had been offered to all employees 60 or over. Now, as 
employees of the Tennessee Valley Authority reach 60 years of age, they 
are invited to join this series of small group discussions. Employees of 
all occupational levels are included and the groups are as homogeneous 
in economic level as possible. Attendance, of course, is voluntary but 
encouraged both by management and the unions. During the 4 years 
in which the program has been offered, a large majority of eligible 
employees enrolled in and completed the course with a minimum of 
absenteeism. 

From time to time the joint committee has considered including in 
the program the wives or husbands of TVA personnel. For several 
reasons, principal among which are the time and location of meetings, 
this plan has not been adopted. Many of the groups meet in steam 
plants and chemical plants, with the men coming in work clothes during 
scheduled hours of work. Under these circumstances, the inclusion of 
wives was considered inappropriate. It was also felt that wives should 
not be included in any groups if all groups could not be offered this same 
privilege. However, the need for employees to share the information 
received with their spouses and others who might be affected by their 
retirement has been emphasized. ‘This is one reason why the written 
reports of each session have been issued and the participants have been 
given a good deal of printed and reproduced material. While there is 
no objective evidence, there have been a great many assurances from 
participants that these reports and other materials have been useful in 
helping them share their information and experience with those at home. 


HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 


Early Investigations 


In 1953, when TVA was 20 years old and a fairly large number of 
the permanent employees (540 out of about 11,000) had reached or 
passed age 60, the agency was offered the opportunity to participate 
in the Cornell Study of Occupational Retirement. All TVA employees 
age 64 and 65 were invited to take part, and most of them did so. 

A preliminary report of the first series of interviews with these 
employees, conducted as a part of the Cornell University Study of 
Occupational Retirement, revealed some interesting factors. Practically 
all employees said they did not expect to retire until required to do so 
and indicated that one reason for their reluctance to retire was inade- 
quate incomes for retirement. A large majority disliked the idea of 
retiring, believed retirement to be unhealthy, and had made no plans for 


2 


life in retirement. They also felt that their skill and experience made 
them more capable than younger employees; believed that their health 
and capacity for work were as good as ever; and believed they should be 
allowed to continue work until they wished to retire. A minority indi- 
cated that they still felt capable of superior work, but had found it 
necessary to slow down. 

This represented employees’ opinions of their own work capacity. 
Supervisors’ ratings were consistent with this overall conclusion of con- 
tinued work capacity among most employees in this age group as 
evidenced by the findings of a survey made by the Division of Personnel. 
The survey showed that 18 percent of employees age 60 or over was 
judged by their supervisors to be doing excellent work. Approximately 
the same proportion, mostly in the 65—70 age group, was considered to 
be doing less than satisfactory work, but were retained since they did 
not voluntarily retire. ‘Thus, it appeared that chronological age was 
not a reliable criterion for retirement. (This survey did not attempt to 
compare the work of this age group with other age groups.) ‘Table 1 
presents the findings of this survey. 

In response to these findings, three steps were taken: 

1. The portion of the retirement benefit paid for ‘T'VA contributions was 
increased so that it would be as large at age 65 as it would formerly 
have been at age 70 if the employee had 15 db a of service, and 
larger if he had more service. 

2. Age 65 was adopted as the normal retirement age with employment 
beyond that age continued only at the election of management by 
one-year temporary appointments; retirement remained compulsory 
at age 70. 

3. A study was initiated to try to identify the needs of employees 
approaching retirement age and to determine how those needs might 
be met. 


A Conference With Gerontologists 


To initiate this study of retirement needs, the executive secretary of 
the TVA Retirement System arranged for a conference of a number of 
25 management and labor representatives and a group of five leaders in 
the field of gerontology." The conference took place in May of 1954. 
The union participants came from both white collar and trade craft 


1 The five gerontologists were: Mr. Clark Tibbitts, Special Staff on Aging, Depart- 
ment of Health, Education, and Welfare; Dr. Wilma Donahue, Division of Gerontol- 
ogy, University of Michigan; Mrs. Elizabeth Breckinridge, Illinois Public Aid 
Commission; Dr. John W. McConnell, New York State School of Industrial and 
Labor Relations; and Mr. Harold R. Hall, Consultant on Executive Retirement, 
Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. 


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unions representing IVA employees. The management participants 
were, for the most part, officials with high level responsibilities. Several 
were staff officers of the Division of Personnel who would have responsi- 
bility for the administration and conduct of any program which might 
be developed. 

For 3 days the conference participants discussed the TVA situation 
and the many factors and problems involved in selective retirement and 
attitudes toward retirement. The final day of the conference was 
devoted to consideration of a series of recommendations which developed 
from the discussions, including procedures for obtaining further infor- 
mation of employees’ attitudes toward a program of retirement 
preparation. 


The Need For Further Study 


Based on its earlier studies and the conference with the gerontologists, 
the TVA management-union group became persuaded that the following 
factors warranted further exploration and study: 

1. Retirement benefits are generally considered to be an essential 
economic factor in our modern industrial life. ‘The adequacy of these 
benefits to provide a decent living after retirement from full-time 
employment is often as important a consideration in labor negotiations 
as are wage rates. Public agencies at one time were leaders in pension 
plans, but this general statement is no longer true. The current signifi- 
cance of retirement benefits is largely due to the changes in our social 
structure from an agricultural to an industrial society. 

2. Life expectancy has increased, so that those who retire between 
ages 65 and 70 can expect to live 10 to 15 years—or even longer—after 
they retire. ‘This has opened an area of personal and social concern 
with new problems and potentials. 

3. The same social and economic changes in our society which led 
to the need for pension plans make it necessary to think anew concerning 
the place of the rapidly increasing proportions of older people in our 
total population. A century ago there were five farm families to every 
urban family. ‘Though most people did not live beyond age 65, those 
who did usually continued to live with their families in their accustomed 
settings, performing the tasks of which they continued to be capable. 
Today, with that ratio reversed to more than five urban families for 
every one farm family, the picture is very different. Children migrate, 
living units are small, and there is little useful work for the older people 
to do in their accustomed settings after they have retired. 

4. The tempo of our industrial enterprises has placed a premium on 
characteristics most common to youth—stamina, speed, and adaptability. 


5 


Some employers feel that even administrative work, which has custom- 
arily placed a premium on experience, now requires initiative, imagina- 
tion, and flexibility—characteristics more commonly associated with 
mature, middle age than with three score years or more. 

5. This situation has excited a growing interest among physicians, 
psychologists, economists, sociologists, architects, nutritionists, and others 
in programs that attempt to prepare mature individuals for the later 
years, which for many tend to become a period of social as well as 
occupational retirement. 

To leave full-time employment and enter a life unregulated by sched- 
uled work requires an adjustment of major proportions. It is one of 
the most dramatic events in an adult’s life since he left school to take 
full-time employment. There is a major difference between the adjust- 
ment to entering the work force and the adjustments when leaving it. 
During school life, one is preparing for the type of work he expects to 
enter, which arouses his eager expectation. It is marked by an expect- 
ant, forward-looking attitude. We even call graduation a “commence- 
ment” because it is not only the end of something, but also the beginning 
of something new. This attitude makes for easy and rapid adjustment to 
new life situations. Can older retiring workers acquire this new and ben- 
eficial attitude and thereby make a more rapid and satisfactory adjust- 
ment to a new mode of life? Can release from full-time employment 
be envisaged as a “commencement” with new and interesting possi- 
bilities for living rather than a stepping down out of life? This will 
require a reorientation toward aging and toward retirement, the very 
name of which unfortunately implies withdrawal from life. 

6. There are two major points of view among employers about their 
participation in solving this problem. A number of employers feel that 
it would be paternalistic for them to try to help their employees make this 
postretirement adjustment. Some of these employers say that they 
believe employees would interpret any such efforts merely as an effort 
to sugar-coat the bitter pill of involuntary retirement. Some take the 
position that their obligation does not extend beyond providing a pension 
plan; if preparation for retirement is needed at all, they believe it is the 
responsibility of the workers or the workers’ unions. Others claim that 
the problems frequently foreseen in retirement do not actually exist, but 
may be created by discussion; that, if left alone, everyone will make his 
own satisfactory adjustment when the time comes. 

On the other hand, a number of employers for varying reasons have 
accepted some responsibility for helping employees think positively about 
retirement. Some of these employers believe that final years of employ- 


6 


‘ment are less happy and productive because of uncertainty about the 
future and unawareness of the possible values of leisure. ‘They feel they 
must relieve this uncertainty by at least giving employees a clear under- 
standing of their retirement and social security benefits several years 
before retirement. ‘This minimum effort has frequently developed into 
a discussion of other areas of concern. An increasing number of em- 
ployers have offered employees a program of systematic exploration of 
what retirement status involves, including both its problems and its 
opportunities. These have been called preretirement counseling pro- 
grams or programs of preparation for retirement. 

7. Public relations is another consideration which has sometimes led 
employers to launch such programs. An employee who fails to adjust 
to retirement and is unhappy in his new status may become a center of 
criticism of the company in the community and even among his friends 
who are still employed. In spite of millions of dollars invested to pro- 
vide retirement benefits, the net result of unsatisfactory adjustments to 
retirement may be ill will and criticism. 

All these factors provide both a social and an economic justification 
for expenditures on a program of preparation for retirement. Such 
justification is particularly important to public agencies expending public 
monies. 


REACHING CONSENSUS 


In June 1954, 1 month after the conference with gerontologists, a 
joint union-management committee was appointed under the chairman- 
ship of the secretary of the Retirement System to explore the suggestions 
of the leaders and to recommend a program. ‘The committee was 
designated as the Committee on Selection and Preparation for Retire- 
ment. McConnell was engaged as a consultant to this committee. 
Two projects were chosen: (1) A procedure for selective or flexible 
retirement, and (2) preparation for retirement. (This case report deals 
only with the latter project.) The committee studied the problems for 
a year and a half before making recommendations. This pattern of 
joint committee study of special problems and formulation of programs 
is the regular pattern of TVA’s union-management relationship. 

In addition to considering the advice of the experts, the committee 
met with a number of groups of employees aged 60 and over, and with 
a group of recent retirees. ‘These meetings convinced the committee 
that employees approaching retirement sincerely wanted help in identify- 


7 


ing the problems and opportunities of retirement and would appreciate 
an opportunity to exchange views with fellow employees of their own age. 

The employees who were consulted indicated clearly that they did 
not want to be told what to do when they retired. Neither did they 
want a sugar coating on the pill. In the light of their confidence in and 
respect for IVA union-management relationships, most of the employees 
did not place such interpretations on the interest which TVA and their 
unions were taking in their retirement. ‘They indicated that they would 
welcome a chance to get the facts about retirement and an opportunity 
to share with each other views and opinions on their problems and 
opportunities. ‘They recognized that retirement at some age is inevi- 
table, and they accepted the premise that it was their responsibility to 
make their own retirement as satisfactory as possible. Consistent with 
the conclusions of earlier explorations, many employees said they did not 
want to put off retirement until they were disabled or decrepit. Uncer- 
tainty of adequate and assured retirement income seemed to be the 
major factor in their personal decisions. On the other hand, most of 
them wanted to work as long as they enjoyed their work and felt that 
they could do their full share. A program sponsored by TVA and their 
unions designed to help meet the desires of employees to understand 
retirement seemed to them a nautral and legitimate joint endeavor. 

The meetings of the joint committee with a number of recent retirees 
helped to determine what subjects would be most helpful in the proposed 
program of prepartion for retirement. The union representatives 
reported on the proposed program to their organizations, which accepted 
their recommendations. 

The cost of the work of this committee, including the use of consult- 
ants, was covered as an administrative expense of the Division of Per- 
sonnel. However, members of the joint committee, both management 
and labor, defrayed their travel expenses through their respective 
budgets. 


FORMULATION OF THE PROGRAM 


After about a year and a half of study and discussion, the Joint Com- 
mittee on Selection and Preparation for Retirement recommended a 
program to the Director of Personnel. It was discussed with division 
directors and the general manager and was later adopted. ‘The pro- 
posal in brief was that, as employees reached age 60, they would be in- 
vited to take part as members of small groups in a series of five group dis- 
cussions (later changed to six) on company time. Such a program was 
begun in 1956 and has been conducted each year since. 


The discussion group method rather than personal counseling inter- 
views was selected for three reasons: 

1. The study of the problem indicated that employees believed one of 
the best values of such a program would be the opportunities it might 
offer for an exchange of points of view and information among 
participants. 

2. The reticent employees, who may stand in greatest need of counseling, 
were least likely to request interviews, unless personal counseling was 
made compulsory. 

3. ‘The experienced staff suitable for personal counseling in this field was 
not available, and the cost of employing expert counselors for this 
purpose would be prohibitive for a public agency. Inexperienced 
counselors were considered a poor investment and apt to do more 
harm than good. 

Attendance was to be voluntary but encouraged both by management 
and the unions. ‘The groups were to be located at the centers of older 
employee concentration, but those working outside these centers were 
to be provided time and transportation to attend. ‘The backlog of older 
employees, those already passed the age of 60, would receive priority 
and be offered the program first. However, the plan was to work toward 
establishing groups regularly as employees approached age 60. ‘The 
groups would be made up of employees as near the same economic level 
as possible. ‘The discussion method was to be used exclusively except 
for the presentation of relevant facts and no attempt was to be made to 
reach “right” group answers. Reports of the discussion were to be 
issued and as much helpful printed material as possible was to be made 
available to facilitate the retention of points discussed and for sharing ~ 
the information and points of view with other members of the families 
who would be affected by an employee’s retirement. 

The program proposed by the joint committee was enthusiastically 
accepted and supported by top management. ‘The preliminary talks 
with employees and their representatives bore fruit and most employees 
accepted the invitation to participate. For the 4 years in which this 
program has been offered, a large majority of the eligible employees 
enrolled and nearly all of these participated. 

Records kept for the years 1957, 1958, 1959 show that about 9 out 
of 10 participants attended three or more meetings; about half of the 
participants attended all meetings in a series. Level of attendance was 
considered excellent in view of necessary absences for travel, sickness, 
and previous vacation plans. ‘Table 2 gives these data on enrollment 
and participation. 





TABLE 2. Participation in TVA preparation-for-retirement program, 1956-59 


Employee participation 


Number of eligible employees............... aif 256 158 218 
Number responding affirmatively to invitation..}| 219 200 135 191 
Percentage responding affirmatively.......... 79.1 78. 1 85. 4 87. 6 
Number of eligible employees attending one or 

OTD MARCO 6 5 a Sd 12 TERS es! 198 183 120 160 
Percentage of eligible who participated....... 71.5 71.5 75.9 73. 4 
Average attendance—all groups!............ 80. 7 84, 2 85. 2 86.5 


1 Figure for 1956 includes all who attended one or more meetings. Figures for all 
other years include all who attended two or more meetings. 


Content 


The subjects covered in the 1959 series of discussions were: 

Retirement and Financial Planning. This involved discussion of the 
meaning of aging and retirement and some of the general financial 
factors, such as life insurance, tax concessions for older people, and 
supplementary income from other work. 

Retirement Benefits. The discussion of TVA Retirement System 
benefits, Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance, Civil Service 
Retirement System benefits, Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance, 
and hospital insurance after retirement. Retirement budgets were also 
discussed. 

Health in Later Years and Retirement. A TVA health officer dis- 
cussed the physical changes and problems that may come with age. 
Health habits of older people, such as exercise and diet, the diseases most 
common in later years, and other health questions that each group raised 
were discussed. 

Planning Activities for the Time of Retirement. ‘This discussion 
emphasized the value of having interests and activities after retirement 
which would provide the type of satisfactions derived from work, asso- 
Ciations, status, schedule, achievement, etc. It provided information 
on abilities and interests which might be turned to good account for pay 
or pleasure. The ways to go about getting paid employment, the 
importance of group activities and associations, and the opportunities 
and personal values of work for community welfare were discussed. 
Pooling ideas of the group were especially interesting in this discussion. 


10 


Living Arrangements. ‘The group members discussed the problems 
which wives and other dependents have in adjusting to retirement. 
What about housing for older people? Should retirees live with their 
married children? ‘They also talked about various plans and choices on 
where to live as they see them. Some believed in retiring to special 
retirement communities; others thought it best not to pull up roots. 
Economic and climatic information about various areas was made 
available. 

Legal Problems About Property After Retirement. ‘This discussion 
included general information on legal and tax problems associated with 
financial planning, making wills, inheritance, and property holdings. 
The specific legal problems of individuals were not discussed, for these 
require legal advice based upon a study of all the facts and legal research, 
but the discussion helped employees to discern the type of problems for 
which legal advice might be helpful. 


Leadership 


The discussion groups for the first 2 years were led by personnel offi- 
cers. ‘The chief of the Labor Relations Branch of the Division of 
Personnel, who was also secretary of the TVA Retirement System, 
served as director of the program. Initially, he selected three other staff 
members to work with him on the basis of their interest in the problem 
of aging and their capacity to use discussion methods. ‘These four 
individuals worked with Dr. McConnell of Cornell University in devel- 
oping a manual. ‘This preparatory activity, together with outside read- 
ing and attendance at other conferences on aging, provided training. 
The manual developed was not used directly as a working manual, but 
writing it was an educational process. ‘Thereafter, each leader devel- 
oped his own course outline and sat through all the discussions of the 
first group, conducted by the secretary of the TVA Retirement System. 
The outlines used by this group were given to the three other discussion 
leaders, each of whom modified the outline considerably to meet his own 
needs and the needs of his groups. 

The same chairmen or discussion leaders conducted all six sessions. 
However, physicians were used to present material and respond to ques- 
tions when health problems were the subject and lawyers when legal 
problems were discussed. Each group had a recorder who prepared 
brief summaries of the discussion, and these recorders became thoroughly 
familiar with the subject matter and the methods used. Mainly, these 
recorders were personnel officers and administrative officers. In suc- 
ceeding years, some of these became leaders of discussion groups. ‘There 


11 


are now seven experienced group leaders who have been exposed to the 
field of gerontology through attendance at conferences and through wide 
reading, as well as through participation in the program at TVA. 

Discussion leaders recognized the need for every member of the 
group to take part and were able to achieve unanimous participation 
although, of course, some participated to a greater degree than others. 
No formal record was kept of the number of times each individual con- 
tributed to each of the sessions, but discussion leaders made sure that 
the more reticent members did take some part. The informality of the 
groups, the skill of the leaders, and the voluntary nature of the attendance 
all helped to achieve full group participation. The leaders were also 
conscious of the fact that the most talkative members needed to be 
controlled. 

All groups met during scheduled work hours but in some cases, when 
the sessions did not fall within their work schedules, individuals attended 
on their own time. Those who did not work in the areas of employee 
concentration were brought together at ‘TVA expense for the full series 
of discussions in a 3-day period. All meetings were held in TVA con- 
ference rooms equipped with tables and blackboards. 


EVALUATING THE RESULTS 


Self-evaluation 


Each year the participants have been asked to give their own evalua- 
tion of this group experience. Insofar as possible, this has been kept 
anonymous. At the first session, members of the group filled out enroll- 
ment forms giving certain basic information about themselves (Prepara- 
tion for Retirement Program—Enrollment Questionnaire—see appen- 
dix A). At the last session, they were asked to fill out an evaluation 
form (Evaluation of Preparation for Retirement Meetings—see appen- 
dix B). Although the participants did not sign either of these forms, a 
method was devised by which the enrollment form and the evaluation 
form of each participant could be related. The information on these 
forms was tabulated and studied in an effort to find out whether the 
discussions were considered helpful, which sessions were judged to be 
most effective, and which sessions needed to be improved. Consistently, 
the sessions on retirement benefits and legal problems rated highest in 
interest, with “Health in the Later Years,” that is, the medical aspects, 
as a close runner-up. This form also provided some indication as to 
whether the time spent in discussions was leading participants to develop 
attitudes and to take actions that might be helpful in their adjustment 


12 


to retirement. This measure was obtained through checking of certain 
categories of comments in the evaluation form. 

Probably the most significant result revealed was a change in attitude 
toward retirement which was expressed in many different ways. The 
period of retirement emerged as a reality to be studied and thought about 
rather then something to be ignored until it happens. Participants rec- 
ognized retirement as a part of growing older, extending over a period of 
years during which they would change. There was no glossing over 
such uncomfortable probabilities as reduction of income, the normal 
decline of physical stamina, and the possible loss of dear ones. But of 
equal importance was the preview of opportunities for making new 
friends, finding new channels for service or reestablishing old ones, doing 
things for which there had been no time during their employed years. 
The more accurate conception of what retirement would be like came 
with thinking and talking about it to others, getting rid of fears, and 
anticipating new opportunities. Aging was discussed as a process, not a 
disease, and retirement was recognized as one of the incidents of aging 
that has great possibilities for those who look ahead. Some had no in- 
terest outside their work, but as others discussed the things they were 
doing and how those interests would develop when there was more time 
for them, they all began to have a new appreciation of the value of such 
outside interests. 

In addition to the values of getting a more realistic concept of what 
retirement would be like and thinking of its future possibilities, many 
worthwhile specific results were mentioned. ‘The items most frequently 
cited were making or revising wills, having physical examinations, 
changing diets, revising property titles, making postretirement budgets, 
reviewing insurance programs, joining new groups, accepting opportu- 
nities for service, and speeding up payment of the mortgage or other 
long-term commitments. 

Not many indicated that they had made any long-range plans as yet. 
The few who had such plans under way saw no problems and, indeed, 
there probably will be none if circumstances allow them to carry out 
their plans. It was foreseen that a plan too rigid in nature might lead 
to frustration, if circumstances did not permit its completion. Flexi- 
bility appears to be even more important than early planning because 
the condition of older people is susceptible to drastic change. 

Some of the real value of the program cannot yet be measured or even 
estimated. Only after the participants have had a substantial period 
of retirement will they be in a position to judge what benefits they de- 
rived from the decisions the program helped them to make. Even then, 
of course, they can know only whether they have made a satisfactory 


13 


adjustment to retirement; they will not be able to say just what influence 
can be attributed to this preretirement program. 


Outside Evaluation 


Because the committee wanted to know as much as it could about 
what the program was accomplishing, it welcomed the offer of a grad- 
uate student to evaluate the TVA program. A doctoral dissertation by 
Roger A. Walker, ““An Examination of a Pre-Retirement Planning Pro- 
gram—The TVA Experience,” provided a more objective estimate of 
the program’s effect.’ 

This study dealt not only with the participants but with a portion of 
the approximately 30 percent of eligible employees who did not par- 
ticipate. The differences between the two groups were found to be 
significant in several respects. This difference with respect to attitude 
toward retirement was especially significant. The nonparticipant group 
members were almost wholly negative in their attitudes toward retire- 
ment and were merely drifting toward a dreaded cessation of employ- 
ment. ‘They tended to resent the adoption of a normal retirement age 
and blamed their unions as well as management for having participated 
in accepting such a plan. 

One of the findings of the study was that a great many of the par- 
ticipants in the group discussions had taken specific actions based upon 
interests stimulated and purposes formed in the groups. Examples of 
these actions were: renewing interest and membership in organizations 
and activities, making preliminary arrangements for part-time work after 
retirement, writing or modifying wills, changing the way in which pieces 
of property and Government bonds were held, scheduling physical 
examinations, and improving diets. ‘The researcher also found that most 
of the employees had developed a wholesome and optimistic view of 
retirement. Many of them rather proudly revealed that they had made 
plans they expected to carry out. Only one case of resentment because 
of possible retirement before age 70 occurred in the study. Many em- 
ployees expressed a preference for working beyond age 65 but also ex- 
pressed their readiness to be retired and some enthusiasm for taking up 
new interests. 

The most important finding of the evaluation study was an apparent 
and favorable change in the attitudes of participating older employees 
toward their retirement. This supported the conclusions drawn from 
the groups’ self-evaluation. The discussion sessions were found to have 





* Walker, Roger A. An Examination of a Pre-Retirement Planning Program—The 
TVA Experience. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Cornell University, 1958, 
550 pp. 


14 


contributed substantially to this result. Another important factor in 
this change of attitude, however, was the coordination of the TVA 
Retirement System with OASDI under the Social Security Act Amend- 
ments of 1956 which considerably increased the retirement income ex- 
pected by these older employees. Many said it had placed them in a 
position to carry out their plans when they retired from TVA. Some 
of the retirement plans were an extension of what they are doing now in 
their leisure time; others were entirely new and different. 

The real measure of the value of this program will be the successful 
adjustments to retirements. ‘The program is not old enough for that test 
to have been made, since retirements of participants in the program first 
occurred in July 1957. We expect to make a future study of adjust- 
ments to retirement to see if we can identify the basis of successes and 
failures. Until evidence to the contrary is discovered, however, we be- 
lieve the facts indicate clearly that this program of preparation for retire- 
ment has been extremely worthwhile to both the employees and the 
employer. 


15 





APPENDIX A 


ee Sit Cio oe eS) pet 


PREPARATION FOR RETIREMENT PROGRAM 
Enrollment Questionnaire 


DON ee Marital status: Single ~______~- ,; Married —......- : 
Widowed ________ , Divorced ______. 

Number of children alive ________. Number of children living with 
5 pe ee ne 

Number of other relatives living with you ______-_-. 

RINT os ses scsdarraieice wceptace Sic nhatectad cana BiGeak DO a anedic em epee 

Health: Excellent _______ Rag ao a | eR ae Pie iene: Liner 

Do you have a pretty good idea of what your retirement income, other 
than income from work, will be? Yes ~__---_- Jee wee 

Do you expect to seek more income than you will receive from retire- 
ment system and Social Security after you retire? Yes ____,No----. 


If yes, from what source (work, rentals, hobbies, etc.)? _______-_----- 


Oe ene ee ee i aoc So la ee ore 

To what extent are you active in the church? 

Membership —_-~—~_ , Attendance _____ , Teacher _____ , Officer _____ ‘ 
RI ai a sites sa ices wala nk enh can acne 

(Please write in) 

Do you devote any fime to other types of volunteer service to the 
community? 

TO soe AY” preset nee i ves Wel Mine? 2.0008 

Jot down here anything about which you want to get more information 
or the views of others during these discussions. Be as specific as 
Wb OURS rind ot. teat es lee are ee ore Sek nal ale 


ee ee re ee ee ee ee ee ee ee ee ee ES ES 


16 


APPENDIX B 


ae SCORE ee See | 


EVALUATION OF PREPARATION FOR RETIREMENT MEETINGS 


How many meetings did you attend? ____________--------------- 

Check the following meetings from the point of view of value received: 

(If you were absent from a meeting put an “A” in the no help column 
for that subject.) 


Subject of Meeting Considerable | Some | No 
Help Help | Help 








| Retirement and Financial Planning 

ll Retirement Benefits (TVA, OASI, Civil Service) 
Ill Health in Later Years and Retirement im wey ovr 
IV Planning Activities for the Time of Retirement 
V Living Arrangements mieagehil?: vasithiem 
VI Legal Problems About Property After Retirement 


Would you have liked more time spent on any of these subjects? 
TOG 2 nc can RUA CRErel ess 

OF Di. ALC DOR itd dis, acu Sicaite waist cm teahed mia scalars: deataast bitte 

Was enough time allowed in these meetings for discussion? Yes__-_-_, 
OG JeG tou. 

Do you feel that you had interests common enough to the group to 
make discussion worthwhile to you? _____________-_-_-----_--- 

Check the worksheets from the point of view of helpfulness: 


Worksheet Considerable | Some | No 
Help Help | Help 








Calculating Your OASI Benefit 
Form To Estimate Your TVA Retirement System Fixed 


A NOLEN EGR SN ne OMEN! Weis Weston 
feces Bal Deri in: ST, NL: SN 


Leisure-time Activities —Checklist 
Your Health Inventory 


17 


Have you had a medical examination in the past six months? 
POA cikiweeae SPR ee 


If not, do you intend to ask for one in the next six months? Yes ______ > 
Pe 

Have you seriously considered reviving an old interest or developing 
a new one since you started this series? Yes _______ GWM cs taai lacea 


Oy MONI in cdi si sacle aserglgscaeh ne laa ets istics an sah ma saa teks okie AL 


det | eae eee jp TO es 
if yes, about how much? Check one: 
L.. tess hon SIonli quew et 
2. $100 or more but less than $150 ________ 
3. $150 or more but less than $200 ________ 
4. $200 or more but less than $300 ________ 
5. $300 or more but less than $400 —________ 
6u:$400 wtammerd: je frica off mot eociteoe _eabwoll 
Have you tried making out a budget that will fit your retirement income? 
5 le Ee SIU dics aa assert 
If it becomes necessary to supplement your retirement income, have 


you developed ideas on howto doso? Yes _______-_ Pema aoe ee ? 
Not necessary _____-_-_-_. 

Have these meetings helped you to make any plans for volunteer com- 
munity work you would like to get into? Yes __-___~- A.” res 


Fee fe Bp gp eploeeges Ene yar tec tipat pt sate teirn rs te je meee careent nt t metroesereeny nr epee 
Have you made a will? Yes ________, ,No ______.. If yes, do you 
plan to make any changes in it as a result of these discussions? If 
no; do you plan to make a: will? colli. pons eee 


ee ee ee ee ee ee ee ee ee ee eee ee ee eel ee 


Have you made any changes affecting joint ownership of bonds or 


other property? Yes _______~- NO cccwewnns 

Have you discussed with members of your family what you will do 
after retirement? Thoroughly ______~_- FE ene er eel , Very little, 
Se ae See 


At the first meeting you listed on the enrollment blank what you wanted 
to get out of these meetings. Did you get what you wanted? 
WB ais, ascii pO ici as eres on If no, what did you not get and do 
wee oO want IE. 910-004 new eaten deed a5ene- Sust-toot ae eth | 


18 


U.S. GOVE XNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1961 








PATTERNS FOR PROGRESS IN AGING 


Case studies in the Patterns for Progress in Aging series are 
available under the following titles. 


Case Study : Price 
No. 1. A Community Nursing Home____-_-_-_-_______ i¥S 
No. 2. A Vocational Training and Placement Program for 

co la dilntwdanilacod otter 15 
No. 3. An Activity Center for Senior Citizens____________ * 
No. 4. A Community Craft Program_______-_--_______ 15 
No. 5. Retirement Preparation: Chicago Plan___-_______ 15 
No. 6. A Senior Citizens Association. ________-______-~ 15 
No. 7. A Vocational Counseling Program for Older 

Co  RRSRATIRRG ATER ATES SAAD RAY NBS imap cae 8 OY DO SS ARR A PEN gE 15 
No. 8. A County Health Department Geriatric Program ___ mB 
No. 9. The TVA Preretirement Program______--_____-_- is 


No. 10. A Senior Citizens Service Center______________-_ 
No. 11. Senior City at the New York State Fair___________ * 
No. 12. A Low Rent Public Housing Project for the Elderly__ * 
No. 13. A Friendly Visiting Program___________-_____-_~- * 
No. 14. Senior Housing-Golden Age Center Program__-_-_-_ - 


Additional titles will be announced in AGING as they become 
available. AGING is a monthly news bulletin issued by the Special 
Staff on Aging, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. 
Both AGING and the case studies are for sale by the Superintendent 
of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, 
D.C. The subscription price for AGING is $1.00 per year. 


*In production. 


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