The Retirement Boom is a practical roadmap for making your "retirement years" a time of reinvention, excitement, and fulfillment.
The coauthors of this practical guide are four Boomer professionals who have walked the walk and transformed themselves from corporate executives, CEOs, consultants, and national security policy experts into a range of new careers that more closely hew to their passions. They interviewed more than 300 people and 30 organizations in the writing of this book.
The Retirement Boom includes tips, stories, exercises, and techniques to help you:
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About the Author
Catherine Allen is a financial services and technology executive, corporate board director, and expert in cyber security and risk management. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Nancy Bearg is a consultant and educator, former national security advisor, and budding photographer of horses. She lives in Washington D.C.
Rita Foley is a former Fortune 500 president, corporate board director, and photographer.
Jaye Smith is a former founder of a human resources company, corporate executive coach, and expert on Cuban arts.
Read an Excerpt
The "R" Word: Reboot and Reinvent Rather Than Retire
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
— Mark Twain
The concept of retirement is evolving and changing. The 76 million U.S. Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) who have redefined each stage of life as they passed through it are redefining this one as well. They are not going to retire like their parents or grandparents. With longer life spans, better health, and myriad opportunities to play, work, volunteer, travel, and try new things, Baby Boomers are exploring the next chapter of life with enthusiasm and creativity.
This book is about just that — revolutionary retirement. The Retirement Boom.
Some people embrace the "R" word; others are uncomfortable with it; all are interested in how it will impact them. In this opening chapter, we give you some background on the concept of retirement and introduce our major themes for the book, among them, revolution, rebooting, and reinventing — all key ingredients in describing the new phenomenon that is sweeping the Baby Boomer generation. We also talk about the critical importance of planning plus many other challenges and joys of this next exciting chapter of your life.
We will define some terms — as we use them — to get started, then describe the rest of the book.
Retirement: The lifestyle you choose after leaving a full-time career. It may involve continuing to work or not.
Revolution: It's not really a revolution the way the Beatles sang it to us, but Baby Boomers are creating revolutionary retirement — individually and as a group. It's a major change in the way things are done.
Rebooting: Rebooting is refreshing, renewing life, and beginning to transition to a new phase.
Reinvention: Reinvention is figuring out how to do the things that make you feel relevant, inspired, and inspiring.
Remember when you were younger and your grandparents retired, or at least you heard about it? It was probably an important event, marked by a farewell ceremony or party and many congratulations on the career well done and the earned relaxation ahead. The Gold Watch.
Then maybe your parents retired, and it was similar. A long time spent in a career or job. Time ahead for well-earned leisure. Time to spend with the grandkids, even to fly frequently across country to see them. Congratulations. The Golden Years.
Now, you may be contemplating the "R" word yourself. But ... golf, gardening, and grandchildren? Some embrace it.
But, many say: Who, me? Retire? Maybe later, maybe part-time. There's still too much to do in life to settle into a totally leisurely routine.
With possibly 30 more years of living after leaving a full-time career, the future requires some serious contemplation. Take it easy for a while? Volunteer? Start down a new career path? It is a time of exploration and doing things a new way.
Maybe the apt phrase about retirement these days (besides revolutionary) is "looking for more." Ten thousand Baby Boomers turn 65 every day, and they are looking for more — more life, more adventure, more discovery, more relaxation, more balance. They yearn for continued meaning, purpose, and contribution. They still seek an edge and a role, relevance and fulfillment.
They also want to maintain identity and self-esteem. For all those years, they were known as a worker of some sort: lawyer, teacher, member of the military, businessperson, baker, scientist, banker, plumber, office worker, farmer, mechanic. Many want a title that signifies that they are still in the mix, such as volunteer, consultant, author, instructor, counselor, advisor, board member, coach.
"Being retired" for many sounds too much like "out of action." But hear this: Retirees are not done. They are still active and involved — or at least they want to be. Life fills the space and yearns to take more shape.
It's never too late to balance the beloved aspects of retirement like grandkids and travel with an additional purpose — a new kind of work based on discovered insights, old skills or new skills, revived dreams or new interests.
Here are some of the many successful retirement stories we have heard:
When Helena retired from the World Bank, she wrote on her Facebook page: "Feels good to start my new life." That was and is her attitude, as she has settled into a new, full life in New Mexico balanced among leisure, volunteer activities, and plenty of travel and time with her grown children and friends. She does not miss work.
Jack, a lifelong architect, designed his next chapter by going back to school at age 69 to gain a doctorate degree in architecture with a philosophical base so he could fulfill another dream: to teach. Now in his 80s, he is a full-time teaching professor at Montana State University School of Architecture.
Suzanne says, "My spouse, David, is a remarkable specimen of retirement. He was a molecular biologist one day and the next day a gardener-furniture maker-trail maintainer-beer maker-etc. He has never looked back! Me, I'm easing into it." Both Americans, they now live part- time in Mexico.
Craig retired early from his job as a Seattle high-school marine biology teacher, but continued to take students on field trips and do some consulting. Patty retired five years after Craig and continued her passion of nurturing MESA (the organization she created that encourages girls and minorities toward math, engineering, and science) through occasional consulting. They've moved into the new house they built and love their new time together and with their grandchildren.
Priscilla says she has used her retirement from the U.S. State Department to expand on her profession by carrying her skills into the nonprofit sector to do the work she really wants to do. "I couldn't do what I am doing today building programs overseas if I were still in the U.S. government, but I can only do what I am doing because I am using the skills acquired in my previous career. And I love this new phase as a consultant because I have time to do more than work."
Planning Is Key; Design Is the Goal
Planning is essential to overcoming worries, and to designing and achieving a successful (and you define successful) lifestyle in retirement. It is the reality check that takes into account your desires and resources and puts them together on a defined path.
This is design: thinking about and packaging your own brand of retirement, from rebooting to reinvention and from phase to phase as life evolves. Chapter 2: Planning and Designing Your Reinvention has advice and practical approaches.
Desires need to be considered first. That sounds a bit startling, as resources may be the constraining factor, but without knowing what you want to do and how you really want to live, you cannot know what resources you need. It may be less than you think. If you have not planned, you do not know. Some of the overarching questions about your desires are: How do you want to feel? What do you want to do? With whom do you want to spend your time? Where do you want to live?
We have an exercise at the end of this chapter on readiness to retire, and Chapter 2: Planning and Designing Your Reinvention covers these and other questions about your desires and whether you are ready for retirement. The rest of the book leads you further into answers and your planning.
Two More Words: Fear and Financial
We haven't yet mentioned two words that we expect are on your mind: fear and financial.
Let's start with fear. It's hard to admit, but easy to feel. If the next phase of your life — a very major one — is unexplored or unplanned, such as in a forced retirement, it is an unknown, and trepidation can well up. You may worry about the issues we discussed earlier: relevance, fulfillment, identity, and self-esteem. Who am I after I leave my job? Even people who have a clear idea of what their retirement might look like have those worries. They ask: How will I feel without the fixed schedule, daily demands, hundreds of e-mails, being "on" 24/7? Will I be wanted and needed? Will I be relevant?
Another fear is: What will I do with my time? Will I be busy enough or bored? Will I be boring?
The way to overcome fear, we all know, is to face it. In this case, a way to face it is to acknowledge and explore the feelings. The questionnaire introduced at the end of this chapter should be helpful in that quest, as would talking it through with family and friends.
The other "F" word is financial, to which we devote all of Chapter 3: Making Your Money Last, even though this is not a financial book. Perhaps you are surprised that we have barely mentioned income so far because it's the topic everyone talks about — well, at least, banks and the increasingly alarming news reports focusing on the plight of many retirees in the wake of the recent recession. The rest of us may bring it up occasionally with an advisor or friends, or try to ignore it, especially if we are in the tranche of Baby Boomers farther away from age 65. But, we all know that it is super important. Too few Americans have paid enough attention to saving for retirement, or can't live and save on their earnings, or their savings have been diminished by the rough economic times. A recent U.S. government study reports that 75 percent of Baby Boomers are not financially prepared for retirement. Surely this is a wakeup call, individually and as a nation.
Whatever your means, fear comes in here — fear of not having enough money for the long life we hope we will have, and fear that government-sponsored retirement and healthcare (Social Security and Medicare) will collapse or fall short. There is also fear of using up our savings on our parents or on our grown children still in the nest, and fear of galloping health and long-term care costs as we age. Will we need a nursing home or around-the-clock nursing care?
The reality is that retirement at age 62 or 65 can no longer be assumed, due to finances (and longer lives). Millions will want to, or have to, work longer to have enough money. That requires planning and knowing what you have and how long it can last. Retirement always has required financial planning, but now it is critically important. The world is an uncertain place, and it is important to be flexible and able to deal with that ambiguity. Chapter 3: Making Your Money Last addresses the main issues of financial planning and provides resources to find your own answers. We'll mention again that this is not a financial retirement book, but we do cover innovative and important information on financial planning that will be very helpful to you.
Starting a New Chapter of Work
Retirement need not be an abrupt work stop or be career-ending. It can be a gradual phasing out of the regular, full-time work that paid the bills and consumed your working life for decades. Or it could be a replacement type of work — a part-time gig using the knowledge and skills from your old job, a different line of work based on a revived or new interest, or volunteering. Indeed, many people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s are still working, starting new careers, exploring non-profit involvement, or launching their own businesses. Chapter 4: Reinventing Into New Work explores the ways Boomers are discovering new ways to make money.
Some people are partially retired/partially working and spending time exploring their passions, from art to travel to hobbies. Some people say they never will retire. And they don't. But they may slow down a bit and sprinkle in a bit more travel or other activities, perhaps family-related. Life perspective inevitably changes as time goes on and priorities change.
Rebooting and Reinventing
Whatever shape it takes, retirement — the "R" word — is a rebooting. It's a new start, with new purpose and energy, a period with time to reassess. It's a new adventure and the glass should be at least half full. In our book Reboot Your Life: Energize Your Career and Life by Taking a Break, we talk about stepping out of work by taking a Reboot Break (another word for a sabbatical or career break), then coming back better than ever. This retirement rebooting has those same aspects, as people step out of their full-time career:
Catching up with oneself by clearing space mentally and physically.
Reconnecting with people and favored, perhaps neglected, activities and places.
Exploring new options and starting down new paths.
Being more creative and passionate about how one's time is spent.
Being secure in who you are in this new lifestyle you are designing.
Living the life you want!
The reinvention comes all along the way, as you explore who you want to be, whether it's with new work to continue to earn money or hobbies. Did you ever say, as we have, that you are still figuring out what you want to do when you grow up? Reinvention allows you to explore this question and see what makes you feel relevant and inspired and fulfilled during your next stage. Try again what you used to do. Coaching kids' sports? Violin? Painting? Woodworking? Try something new. Yoga anyone? Learning a language? Gardening? Writing? Photography? Bowling? Causes?
Reinvention can also mean a new place to live, a new and healthier body, a new partner in life, a new outlook on life, a new way to relate to others. It isn't just doing new things.
Baby Boomers always wanted to make the world better. With thousands retiring every day, think of the creative energy that can be unleashed as people move into a new lifestyle with more time for ideas and new efforts. Even those who work every day now to make the world a better place can look forward to marrying their talents and passions with new causes calling for their attention. Chapter 5: What Will I Do With My Time? covers rebooting and reinventing, and has many ideas about how to spend time in volunteer and creative endeavors.
It's a transition. It may be several transitions as you wind down from regular work and wind up on you. That's right — you can be the designer and star of your story now, probably more so than in decades. There may be an unease to that, to taking time for yourself or focusing more on yourself, but you deserve it. Give yourself permission.
Ultimately, transition results in renewal. Author William Bridges describes three stages of transition, all of which resonate here. The first step is "letting go." It involves realizing that a phase of life is over, and you are moving away from it and into something else. Second is a "neutral zone," an in-between time of self-examination and discovery. This can be an empty and lonely time, or a very creative time, or both. The third stage is "beginning again," with all the attendant uncertainty and exhilaration.
Transition can be difficult for anyone because change is difficult. It is normal to feel emotional and even at a loss, especially in the beginning. People mourn — even if they don't realize it — leaving behind a job and its schedule and built-in network and way of life. It can take time to adjust.
It can be especially hard if retirement was forced upon you earlier than you planned, as in Gene's story.
Gene, an executive, felt betrayed when he was suddenly forced to retire without even being included in the decision-making. He was mad, sad, and confused. He mourned the job loss for six months. Then he began to take control with specific steps, including signing up for training to do taxes and attending our Reboot Your Life Retreat. At the end of a year, he had re-geared his life to a new norm in which he does people's taxes as a volunteer and is on the advisory board of a small company. He has reduced his expenses by moving to a smaller house, and he took an RV trip to see family and reconnect to himself. He says, "Life is good."
Practicalities of Transition
Several major themes relate to the practicality of transition. Retirees — whatever they are doing once they leave the full-time professional structure on which they have depended and in which they have functioned — ask, "Where's the IT desk?" They also ask about the support they need from bankers to brokers, career advisors and mentors, health and wellness experts, and more. In short: "Where is my support team?!" We suggest building your own advisory Team of Experts, and we offer ideas and resources throughout the book.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Retirement Boom"
Copyright © 2016 Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, and Jaye Smith.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Alan Webber 11
Chapter 1 The "R" Word: Reboot and Reinvent Rather Than Retire 15
Chapter 2 Planning and Designing Your Reinvention 27
Chapter 3 Making Your Money Last 51
Chapter 4 Reinventing Into New Work 75
Chapter 5 What Will I Do With My Time? 95
Chapter 6 Retirement Robbers and Other Challenges 115
Chapter 7 Renegotiating Life at Home 135
Chapter 8 Most Important of All: Your Health 147
Chapter 9 Leaving Your Legacy 165
Chapter 10 Simplifying Your Life and Living a Life of Passion 183
Appendix: Recommended Resources by Chapter 207
About the Authors 247
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A useful, empowering and enjoyable read packed with stories and information. I'm 25+ years from retirement, but I had heard about these co-authors' style and it's never too early to start thinking about or planning on this topic, especially in view of semi-recent economic events. So much on this topic can be scary or dry. This book, however, is story-filled, information-packed and an enjoyable and empowering read. I hadn't really thought about it before, but especially enjoyed the "Leaving your legacy" chapter-- defining and acting on your values, gifts to your family and/or society, of time, money or being a role model - eye-opening, compassionate, very thought-full. I highly recommend it for all boomers, but also for us GenX-ers who like to think ahead. I may pick up a few for holiday gifts.
This is a "must buy" for anyone entering their retirement phase, and who want to reinvent themselves and reboot!