Of course there are many people in the Baby Boomer age group (born between 1946 and 1964) who are well financially situated to retire, or have retired already and are in good shape financially. At the same time, there are many for which this is not the case.
Let’s spend a few moments, and take a closer look at this and see what we come up with. Regardless of the state of affairs impacting the retirement of baby boomers, there are always viable solutions.
What are some of the Statistics and Facts?
The oldest baby boomers are in their seventies (70’s) while the youngest are around fifty-five (55) years of age. Companies are not only faced with the cost of so many people retiring, or getting ready to do so, but the other challenge, and even more important, is the loss of all that knowledge and skills which this generation possesses.
Also, it’s hard for companies to predict when and how this will affect their overall operations. Since many people work longer these days, rather than retiring upon reaching a certain age, companies are facing somewhat of a moving target. For example in 1995 only thirteen and a half (13.5%) percent of American workers intended to work beyond the age of sixty-five (65), in 2018 that figure is now forty-one (41%) percent.
In addition, the age where you can get full social security benefits has risen. If you were born prior to 1937 it is still sixty-five (65) years old, but for those born in 1946 the retirement age is now sixty-six (66), and for those born after 1960 is age is now sixty-seven (67).
Many workers do not know themselves when they will retire given their current circumstances, financial and personal, so it is hard for employers to determine exact figures. People are also reluctant to be transparent about this because they may change their mind and do not want to risk being replaced if they do.
Many will only retire when forced to do so, and there are a lot folks working not because they love their jobs, but because of financial circumstances. As I mentioned in a few previous posts concerning this subject, one being, How To Survive Retirement, and another, The Baby Boomer Retirement Crisis, there are many challenges, but at the same time solutions are also available.
In fact, I would suggest you browse the entire category I have created on Baby Boomers, as there is a lot of info there which may be helpful to your particular situation. As I mention in some of these articles, fundamental changes in the retirement system here in the United States have contributed greatly to current financial challenges among many of the baby boomer generation, and the last two (2) recessions did not help at all.
“During the Enron debacle, it was workers who took the pounding, not bankers. Not only did Enron employees lose their jobs, many lost their retirement savings. That’s because they were at the bottom of the investing food chain.” — Robert Kiyosaki —
Given all these variables, there is no longer a specific given moment when a person says, “this is it; I am now retired”. Many continue to work part-time with their same employer, while others do consulting work or pick up a few gigs here and there. Many companies are now offering shorter hours and /or partial year employment. This trend is anticipated to double by 2020 with two (2) in five (5) companies offering such options.
Although the service and retail sectors are not as concerned, companies in the non-profit and mining industries (2 out of 3 employers) and manufacturers (4 out of 5) have expressed grave concerns about losing their elderly talent. Finding people with similar knowledge and skills is not easy.
In addition to the job market and social security being affected by all these folks at retirement age, consumer spending is also affected. The people that do retire have social security benefits which provide around half, give or take, of what they were originally earning. Unless a person has other sources of income like pension and private retirement plans, they will need to cut back on spending.
A Few Ideas to Sort Things Out — A New Beginning
Regardless of one’s current circumstances, it is important to do some planning and stick to sound financial principles like save as much as you can, invest in a low cost portfolio which is diversified, and know you can deal with whatever comes your way. If you have lived this long, you definitely have some good survival skills.
But at this point in our lives we desire to move beyond survival to an enjoyable lifestyle filled with many attractive choices. Spending quality time with our families, traveling as much as we desire, engaging in the hobbies we most enjoy, volunteering for the causes which are most dear to our hearts, and expressing our creativity in these and many other ways.
I consider this time of our lives as a New Beginning. There is so much to learn and do that boredom need never enter the picture. I know a few folks who have more financial resources than they can exhaust in this or several lifetimes, and they are simply not enjoying their lives.
If money is an issue find something you enjoy and are good at and share your knowledge with others. In this age of technology there is no excuse for not having options to create additional money doing what you like to do. Here is my #1 Recommendation for learning and earning in an area of expertise which you can share valuable knowledge with others and help solve their challenges and problems.
Baby boomers, seventy-eight (78) million individuals, have greatly impacted the habits and mindset of the market for six (6) decades. This is not going to change now as more and more baby boomers are creating businesses of their own.
People in the baby boomer generation are motivated and willing to try new things overall. More and more folks are into working out and aerobics and similar activities rather than the standard bridge clubs or bingo night out. These people are redefining aging and retirement.
Even with other responsibilities such a work and taking care of aging parents, more and more boomers find time for enjoyable activities. This does include various sports as well as hitting the gym. Jogging, golf, walking, and tennis are a few of the more common, as well as martial arts for some.
Continuing to enjoy music, going to concerts, and dancing are all favorite activities, as the boomers accounted for twenty-five (25%) percent of music sales in 2006,and twenty-five (25%) to forty (40%) percent of this generation own an iPod or MP3 player.
For the more adventurous boomers we have extreme sports such as paragliding, skydiving, and rafting. A few even go in for rock climbing and bungee jumping.
On the quieter front, many find a fulfilling outlet with volunteering for their favorite charities and causes. Also, many “do it your selfers” will keep busy with projects around the house.
With around fifty (50%) percent of baby boomers familiar with the internet (20% are confident with its use), many enjoy learning technology as most have a desk-top computer and cell phone. Many enjoy using technology to reconnect with past friends, and maintain new ones. They also enjoy online dating.
Finally, most baby boomers find fulfillment spending quality time with family and friends. They also enjoy interacting with people in public so that they tend to engage in face-to-face outings such as art galleries, sporting events, and other cultural experiences.
So When to Retire?
Let’s finish up this discussion with a short video and a few more thoughts on this subject.
Well if you are like me, the Un-Retired Entrepreneur, full retirement is not an option. It all goes back to my catch phrase of “why retire when you love what you do?”. Finding meaningful activities is an ongoing process throughout life. No need to stop when the calendar hits a certain date.
In order to release the Genius within ourselves and live our lives, whether retired or not, as a New Beginning, it is critical for us to form new habits as well as change a few of our beliefs of what is possible. It is just a matter of getting clear on exactly how we wish to design our lives, and then committing to do so.
In the book Psycho-Cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz indicated that it takes twenty-one (21) days to change a habit. This idea caught on and was picked up by many personal development teachers such as Tony Robbins, Zig Ziegler, and Brian Tracy. The only thing is this idea was based on Maltz’s observation and not scientific fact.
In July 2009 a study was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology by Phillippa Lally who is a health psychology researcher at the University College London. Her results indicated that it takes sixty-six (66) days to form a new behavior which is automatic. The time period for a new habit varies depending on the exact behavior, the circumstances, and the person. It was found that a new habit can take anywhere from eighteen (18) to two hundred and fifty-four (254) days.
Also, it is not an all or nothing process. If you miss a day or two here or there you can still get your desired results.
The key point here is that if one commits to learning something new for sixty-six (66) days, it then becomes a part of a person’s natural routine. There will be some struggle and ups and downs during that time period, but once you get it on automatic is becomes natural and easy.
So no matter whether we retire early, later, or not at all, we can all live fulfilling lives which make a difference in the experiences of others and to the entire world. No matter what our age this is a New Beginning, which makes the question of when baby boomers retire rather insignificant.
May you all enjoy Expanded Lives full of Peace and Joy.
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