As you know, the Baby Boomers are about to change the economic landscape once again, as they plan to retire soon. During the last five decades, every move that this large group of individuals have made, has had a great impact on the sales of products and services sold in the United States. Dating back to the phenomenal sales of hoola hoops, to the incredible strength of the Lexus Brand today, the Boomers have had tremendous influence on the marketplace. Now that Boomers are finally facing retirement age over the next decade, every business is scrambling to determine how they can cash in on the next big idea that Boomers will turn into success.
Consistently, the covers of each business magazine that I subscribe to, contain headlines about Boomers and retirement. It seems like the new national obsession for journalists to write about. Also consistent are the sentiments that Boomers are hesitant to stop working completely when they reach retirement age. Members of this group may sell their businesses or retire from their lifelong careers. However it appears that they are not ready to quit work cold turkey. I believe there’s much truth to these statements for many reasons. The first and foremost reason is that Boomers are the healthiest group of 50 – 60 year olds in history. They still have enough energy to work at least part time at a job or business that can supply satisfaction and some income. If that’s not their excuse, many Boomers may find that they have not planned properly or accumulated enough assets during their careers, to afford to retire. Thus out of necessity, they will have to continue to work. However regardless of the reason, it appears that Boomers are not rushing to sit at the beach every day just yet.
As a Boomer myself, I sold my business several years ago and retired ahead of most of my peers. I feel very fortunate that I was always thinking about life after retirement, and had a long- term plan in place for my future. Immediately after retirement, I formed a consulting company with my wife, in order to share the knowledge we gathered at “The School of Hard Knocks” as well as many other disciplines of learning. During my career, I made it a point to document most of what I learned over the last 35 years, and now enjoy sharing this knowledge with limited clients for a fee or through our websites for free. If I were to choose one major factor that separates my days today from my hectic pre-retirement career days, it would be…….the FREEDOM of having complete control of my time. This is perhaps the most rewarding part of retirement.
Having control of what you want to do each day is the equivalent of letting a butterfly out of its cocoon to fly wherever it wished to go. When you are locked into a hectic workweek for decades, this freedom is only something to dream about. Add this freedom to well defined daily goals that you would like to accomplish and you have the makings of an extremely satisfying life.
I must caution at this point that Freedom of time in itself is not always a blessing. I know many individuals who have retired from hectic yet satisfying careers, without a plan for their life. They do not know what to do with themselves and their lives have no meaning. They become miserable and depressed and seem to drown in their memories of their earlier productive years. If you are a Boomer or even a Gen X’er, it’s never too early to begin planning what you will do with your time after retiring from your full-time career, so that your days are filled with satisfaction and delight.
Like the butterfly I described above, retirement should be a new awaking for all. Never a fan for American History as a student in high school or college, I now find myself truly enjoying American History. I have in my library a couple hundred tapes and CD’s on American History and really enjoy the facts from a more mature perspective now. I am also a biography buff and love to listen to audio books that describe the great feats of mankind. A whole new world can open up to you with your new found time and make life so much more fulfilling.
In retirement, you also REALLY get to know your “Real Deal Partner.” Many couples find that after retirement, they can’t stand being around each other all day long. Thus it’s important that both individuals have plans for free time alone to pursue their own interests as well as more time to enjoy doing and sharing together. As with all flourishing endeavors, proper planning and conscientious execution is paramount for sustained success.
So there you have it - the sharing of one’s experiences regarding Boomers and Retirement. Be sure to make the most of this GREAT period in your life. And always strive to make everyday better than yesterday!