House with incredible view

2013-10-05 Ansel Adams

It’s fun to think about where we would like to retire.  This sort of “possibility thinking” is especially likely to happen when we’re on vacation, and we’re enthralled with a new place that we’re discovering and enjoying.

I got swept up in this big-time in February, when my husband and I visited New Zealand and Australia.  On our recent cruise from Amsterdam to Barcelona, several cities and towns appealed to us as well (Lisbon, Portugal and Seville, Spain in particular).

Before you get too swept away by a new place you’ve discovered or too committed to moving to a new destination for retirement, there are some more practical, down-to-earth things to consider.

...continue reading "Deciding Where to Retire"

Two guys juggling

2013-07-23 Brian Dyson

I discovered this quote about ten years ago.  It resonated with me then, and it resonates with me now, but in a whole new way.  (By the way, this quote came from a commencement address that Brian Dyson gave at Georgia Tech in 1996.  Read his entire address here – it’s full of wisdom.)

In my last post, I spoke of men and women (but especially men) who are miserable in retirement because they derived all of their sense of self-worth from their work accomplishments.  After they left work, they lost their validation and reason to exist.  They devoted so much of their time, energy and focus on their work that they abandoned all of their hobbies and interests, and their non-work talents atrophied and died.

The same is true of parents who devote themselves so much to their children that they lose themselves.  Then they suffer from “empty nest syndrome” and purposeless retirements.  They may claim that they have no time for themselves, and they may feel selfish and neglectful if they allow any time for their own interests and not their children’s.  A recent article on Gay Star News refutes that belief by claiming that “gay or straight, if you want happy kids, be a happy parent.”

This makes perfect sense.  Kids look to their parents as role models in everything they do.  If their parents are living full, happy lives, their home environment will be happy, and the kids will learn how to live full, happy lives.  If kids see their parents as workaholics or empty, unfulfilled shells of people (or both), the kids will be less likely to grow up to be happy and well-adjusted.

What does this have to do with retirement?  If you choose to live a balanced life during your working years, you will allow time for and nourish your talents and interests.  You’ll have rewarding things to do during retirement.  You will already be in the habit of balance and happiness.  You will have learned to define yourself and value yourself in ways beyond your work accomplishments.  You will be living for your family, health, friends and self more than for your work.

...continue reading "Happiness Today AND Happiness Tomorrow"

Niagara Parkway - Jul 20 2013

2013-07-20 Thomas Nichols

Much has been made about the fact that the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) is now starting to retire.  Boomers are now ages 49-67.  Combine this with the facts that this generation was characterized by a high birth rate and our life expectancy is longer, and you have a formula for retirements that may last three decades or more.

Many employers across the United States are responding to this challenge in several ways.  Some realize that they will suffer a “brain drain” of experience-based knowledge, and are offering a part-time work option.  Some, including my employer, are offering incentives for people who qualify for retirement based on various age-plus-years-of-service formulas, to go ahead and retire early.  They realize, correctly, that some of us are just hanging on a few more years in order to reach age 59 ½, when we can start tapping into retirement savings, 62, when we can start collecting social security, or 65, when we qualify for Medicare.  (These are U.S. milestones; programs differ in other countries.)

To sweeten the incentive, my company has also engaged with Encore.org, whose purpose is to encourage people to have “encore” careers – second careers that generally involve civic involvement and non-profit work.  Their web site waxes excitedly about “inventing a new stage of life and work – the encore years – between the end of midlife and anything resembling old-fashioned retirement.”  Their goal is to “build a movement aimed at making it easier for millions to pursue second acts for the greater good.”  Their motto is “Encore careers – purpose, passion and a paycheck in your second act.”

...continue reading "Encore! Encore!"