BoomerOpinions survey results released this month revealed some fascinating findings about retirement prospects for my generation. Sixty percent of the nearly 400 Baby Boomers interviewed thought it was realistic they could retire within the next ten years. A quarter of those surveyed, however, expressed doubts about their immanent retirement prospects. In a recent New York Times article entitled, Goodbye Golden Years, Harvard economist, Edward Glaeser cited statistics sure to elicit fear in those of us hoping to retire at some point during the next ten years. He suggested that, “Retirement seems out of the question for increasing numbers of Americans who are saddled with debt and whose savings evaporated during the recent bust.”
Our parent’s generation, the so-called “Silent Generation” (those born during the great depression and WWII) enjoyed a retirement scenario unprecedented in our history, and one that, as this data indicates, may not be available to all of us. But, don’t despair, did we ever really envision playing golf four days a week? (OK, so maybe one or two days a week.)
I can’t imagine not being productive, not contributing, not making my own money. Participants in the BoomerOpinion poll were asked the following question:
“If you had the opportunity to change your occupation at this point in your life, how likely would you be to do so?” Forty-six percent (virtually half of all those surveyed) responded positively, saying they were quite likely to do so. I found this data amazing and affirming. I’m one of those Lady Boomers trying her hand at various creative entrepreneurial endeavors so it was nice to know my aspirations had company.
Edward Glaser went on to argue that America needs more entrepreneurship. Baby Boomer can be the leaders in this entrepreneurship as they seek to reinvent themselves, as this data suggests they are willing to do.
West Palm Beach, a retiree haven, has the highest self-employment rate of any metropolitan area in the nation, consistent with other areas in the country attracting older Americans. Self-employment makes sense because it allows for more control over working hours and conditions. And our generation loves control.
Many of us have spent years waking up at 6:00 am to be at a job we found depleting. If we are not going to be able to kick back, drive a golf cart and play bridge all day, lets envision a different kind of retirement for ourselves. Here are a few suggestions:
– Develop an exercise plan; join a YMCA or other gym; walk or ride a bike. We are going to need to stay healthy for this next phase, and exercise is a critical component. Make sure your employment endeavors can accommodate your exercise schedule, so you don’t have to be going to the gym at 5:30 in the morning.
-Choose an enterprise that fits your circadian rhythm (internal clock) one that allows you to arise and go to bed at a time best suited for you
-delve into your psyche through journaling or quiet reflections; explore what you have a passion for. You may want to undergo a personality assessment to discover a field that suits you.
-Make it fun. We are the generation who invented rock and roll. We like to have fun. Now is your chance…Here’s to meeting the new you.