Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The New Retirement

The company my husband works for is undergoing a reorganization. We are very lucky as he intended to retire July 1, but has postponed his date to see the details of the new retirement package. For those individuals’ who had not intended to retire this year, there has been a lot of evaluation as to whether or not it is wise for them to leave. Many still have children at home or in school. The offer was made to those who will be at least 55 years old by December 31, 2008. The single biggest question they are asking is, “Can I live the rest of my life with the amount of money that is being offered?”

We are bombarded with news about how poorly the Baby Boomers have planned for retirement. Granted the United States has one of the poorest saving rates in the world, but is it realistic to expect to work for thirty years to fund another thirty years of not working?

The definition of retirement needs to change. When Social Security was established in 1933, the life expectancy was 65. If you were lucky enough to live to 65, the government was going to help you with a financial stipend for the rest of your life. It was never intended to be an entitlement for one third of your life.

Mark is a great example of the New Retirement. He retired from the entertainment industry at 51. This is a similar to the retirement age of police, fire and military. Mark wanted to be involved in raising his son, so he started a business he could run out of the house. This has served him well, but his son is now graduating from high school and Mark is ready for a new challenge.

He is looking for work where he is challenged, but more important he wants to feel like he’s contributing to society. He still needs to earn income, but that is the secondary focus.

This is the opportunity for the New Retirement. No longer should the sole question be of the 65 year old, let alone someone at 55, “Can I live for the rest of my life on this fixed amount? But, what opportunities are available to me now?”

Baby Boomers have the opportunity to reinvent themselves in many different ways. The days of existing on the golf course are shifting for many. They are looking for new challenges, and interesting ways to create a more fulfilling life.

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