European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network Database, ELGPN Database

[Print view]

Name of the good/interesting practice/initiative/policy

The Retirement Compass



I am proposing that this example will be published also in the KSLLL database


1. Background

What makes this an example of good/interesting practice/initiative/policy?
- The motivation of the initiative (What is the history/background of the policy?)
- Linkages with LLG policy priorities (Please add references to other national/EU policies or documents)
- Participants
In the light of the changing demographics and the future manpower shortage elder people are becoming increasingly important as active citizens. Active aging is an aim and necessity both of the Council of the European Union as well as of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Retirement Compass (Ruhestandskompass) is a new tool to support people with the transition from work to retirement promoting active aging.

It has been developed as part of the Federal programme ‘Local Learning’ (Lernen vor Ort) in the city of Leipzig/ Germany. ‘Local Learning’ (Lernen vor Ort) is a public-private partnership between the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and some German foundations funded by the ESF and the Federal Government with the overall aim to promote coordinated Lifelong Learning of the individual. The programme supports municipalities to strengthen education management in the region. In addition to better regional cooperation and coordination and educational monitoring, the programme aims to facilitate transitions from one life-phase to the other.

Aims and targets
- Objectives of the initiative (What did the policy set out to achieve?)
- Target group
- Methods applied to reach the objective (technological and /or pedagogical)
The Retirement Compass aims to support orientation and planning of retirement and thus helps to manage the transition into a self-determined retirement as a conscious step and should assist to make this phase of life as active as possible.

The tool targets people who will retire shortly (around the age of 65 – but also those who may retire earlier or later). It can be applied individually but consulting a guidance practitioner during the process of working with the compass is highly recommended. Thus, the Compass creates an occasion for guidance and actively encourages elder people, who rarely approach guidance services, to use guidance provisions. It also encourages to exchange reflections, ideas and plans with friends, family and colleagues.

Following a portfolio approach and inspired by such approaches for young people and for competence assessment, the tool also helps to improve self-knowledge and self-reflection, assessing and acknowledging personal interests as well as planning of the future life phase.

The Retirement Compass is open to all possible outcomes including the decision, not to plan anything and leave open space for the retirement. It further provides information on opportunities for volunteer work, and possibilities of leisure, sports and other activities and related services in the municipality.

2. Implementation

Strategy and actions (Please describe the approach adopted to make the reform work and any actions taken.)
- Level of implementation (national, regional etc.)
- Implementation (description)
After its development the Retirement Compass was piloted in 2010 with staff personnel of the municipial administration of Leipzig. Since June 2011 the tool is offered to all employees of the municipal administration who will go into retirement shortly. They are encouraged to use the retirement compass and to see a guidance practitioner. The educational guidance service of Leipzig which has also been established as part of the programme ‘Local Learning’ provides a special guidance offer for the Retirement Compass. The Compass and guidance provision is open to all citizen of the city of Leipzig. It is also available in a fully accessible version for blind and visually impaired people ( developed in cooperation with the German Central Library for the Blind).

This regional implementation results from the context of the development of the tool in the programme ‘Local Learning’ in Leipzig. But, through the exchange between the municipalities taking part in the programme at conferences and working groups, tools and experiences are communicated and shared. In general, the tool is designed to be easily adaptable in all regions.

Other cities have already become interested and are planning to implement the tool. In the city of Dresden the Office for Senior Citizens has made a cooperation agreement with the city of Leipzig to adapt and implement the Retirement Compass. Steps have been taken in the city of Dresden to evaluate the demand and ways of use and dissemination of the tool. Another cooperation agreement has been made with the city of Erfurt. Particularly, the information part on regional opportunities is specific to one region and must be adapted to the provisions and offers available elsewhere.

Monitoring and evaluation
- What has been put in place for monitoring and evaluation?
- What actors are involved?
In Leipzig educational guidance on the Retirement Compass is regularly evaluated on the basis of questionnaires handed out to clients. The evaluation of the 1st edition of the Retirement Compass was broadened by involving senior citizen’s clubs and associations as well as providers of continuing education for senior citizen’s. On the basis of these questionnaires and further reactions and responses a second revised and updated edition of the Retirement Compass was developed.

3. Outcomes

Achievements (Please describe the main outcomes/results according to the following headings. Each option can be answered - up to 50 words)
- Specific results
- Cost effectiveness
- Budget
- Innovative aspects
- Specific results
Results from the piloting show that individuals who have used the Retirement Compass felt better informed about opportunities in their region. Further, they had clearer plans for retirement which they were confident to realize.

- Cost effectiveness
The tool is free of charge and is available online as well as in print.

- Budget
The budget is part of the overall budget of the “Local Learning” project in Leipzig which is funded by the city of Leipzig, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, partly by the ESF and which is supported by private foundations.

- Innovative aspects
In the aging society the elder generation is becoming more and more important for the society. Many retired people are still healthy and motivated to work or engage themselves voluntarily. It is important to keep social contacts and to ensure participation in the society. This may also support well-being and health as some studies suggest. The transfer of knowledge and experience to new generations is also of importance to the individual as well as to the society.

Success factors (What key success factors have led to or prevented success?)
- Lessons learnt
- Unintended impacts (Have there been any unintended impacts? Positive or negative?)
Despite the need for orientation at the transition to retirement and the growth of further education for senior citizens confirmed by the Senior Citizen’s Council in Dresden (Seniorenbeirat), the actual demand for the tool is low. Elder citizen are not usually accustomed to using guidance provisions and hesitate to visit places they are not familiar with. Hence, the Retirement Compass needs to remain a voluntary tool which may be used in easily accessible guidance provisions. Thus, the tool is intended to be offered and guidance may be provided in places which older citizens frequently visit, such as libraries, senior’s citizen’s centres etc.

The information on provisions and offers in the region supports local networks between the relevant stakeholders in the field of education and social work for senior citizens.

Strengths and weaknesses
- What areas of the policy can we learn lessons from?
- Are there still challenges ahead?
The Compass may be used individually without consulting a guidance practitioner which may not lead to the same results as if a professional practitioner supports the reflection of the personal interests and aims.

Implementing the Retirement Compass more strongly in public administration and to involve more organisations (e.g. the Job Centers for the long-term unemployed, the local PES) remains to be a challenge in Leipzig. In addition, the Retirement Compass shall be disseminated to as many employers as possible. It should be offered more openly than before in the educational guidance service of Leipzig.

Another critical question which is discussed in other cities is the question of publishing. If the tool is published by the municipality it may, on the one hand, receive a higher level of authority. On the other hand, it runs the risk of becoming part of public administration. The question of publishing through the public authorities or the local agencies and non-profit organisations for education or senior citizen’s and social well-fare is also a question of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms of cooperation and coordination with all its implications.

4. Additional narrative description of the policy/practice/initiative

The Retirement Compass is organised in three parts:
1. Reflection of working life (positive and negative aspects, leaving and new beginning)
2. Clarification of interests (hobbies, commitments voluntary work)
3. Information and service including adresses, profiles and courses offered of providers adult education etc.
Discussions on the contents of the Retirement Compass and their organisation and arrangement are still going on. While some exoperts feel that the contents and their representation in the tool is banal, others argue that the simplicity of the tool enables all citizens to easily access the Compass by themselves encouraging them to access educational guidance and to review their past, present and future.

Additional information

Name of contact
Stadt Leipzig, Amt für Jugend, Familie und Bildung, Stabsstelle “Lernen vor Ort”

Role (in policy initiative)
Bureau responsible for Local Learning in the city of Leipzig

Organization name
Stadt Leipzig, Amt für Jugend, Familie und Bildung, Stabsstelle “Lernen vor Ort”

Postfach, 04092 Leipzig




Website address

Documents and publications

Attached files


This information was provided/updated by:
Bernhard Jenschke

No comments by users.

good practice, initiative, interesting practice, policy, access, active ageing, citizenship, transition, continuing education, elderly persons, employed, Germany, hobbies, guidance services, information, instrument, libraries, life planning, lifelong, guidance, municipal, administration, municipalities, portfolio, project, Regional level, self-assessment, social welfare, transitionadult education, older adults