Baby Boomers retirement has many faces

Baby Boomers retirement is a big deal. We probably have more questions than answers about this. Do we or don’t we? Can we afford it or not?  When is the best time? When is the right time? What can we expect when we do it?

relaxing on the beach

Do our lifestyles support retirement? 

While half of us Boomers on the leading edge – born in 1946 – have already retired in some capacity, the truth is we’re not fully retired. We’re still working at something, still looking for ways to supplement our less than satisfactory income. We’ve simply refocused.

We may have opted for retirement to take care of our aging parents. Or we may be taking care of our young grandchildren while their parents work.

We may be working part time. We may be working for ourselves in an entirely different area than we retired from because we were tired of that field and ready to explore new possibilities.

It’s not uncommon for those of retirement age to use that opportunity to change careers. We figure out ways to make it work – to enjoy the benefits of Baby Boomers retirement life while still earning money in the pursuit of interests that are more important to us.

A meager 4 percent of us leading edge Boomers thought we had enough money saved up for retirement.

Why is retirement income insufficient? It’s pretty simple – we didn’t save enough or plan accordingly. And we racked up credit card debt while we were growing up in a plastic economy, wanting what we wanted when we wanted it. We didn't adequately plan for the Baby Boomer retirement years.

Then the housing bubble burst, leaving many of us with upside down mortgages. And the economy tanked on us, leaving us wondering if retirement was just an elusive dream.

What are Baby Boomers retirement options?

Many Boomers doubt they’ll ever retire and it’s not just about money. We’ve got our own value and worth as a person tied up in what we do for a living.

That’s become our purpose in life, our meaning. We’ve reached certain statures in our careers and define ourselves by those. We often erroneously think that’s all we have to offer.

We’re also worried that we’ll be bored in retirement. That we don’t have enough outside interests to keep us occupied. Some of us are even avoiding having to spend so much time at home with a spouse.

We could always follow Lawrence Doyle's "hilarious journey" into the unknown world of retirement that he wrote about in "Adventures in Retirement." You never know what you'll find.

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However, if and when we do retire, we have numerous options.  We can move closer to our children and grandchildren. We can move to places with a lower, more affordable, cost of living. Studies and opinions about the best places to retire abound all around us.

We can find more agreeable climates and less congestion. We can choose college towns that have many cultural opportunities to explore. We can even retire overseas, which many retired Boomers have opted to do.

We can live in retirement communities or villages, where senior life is vibrant. If we’re single, we can find single Boomer friends and set up our own communal spaces.

Whatever we decide, let's explore Baby Boomers retirement issues together. Maybe we can come up with some revolutionary ideas along the journey to a fulfilled life!