Gail's Blog

Retirement is a Fading Dream

I was speaking with my younger attorney the other day and he was remarking how the current baby boomer generation (those

What happened to my retirement?

What happened to my retirement?

born just after World War ll) is the last of a group that had it really good.  He went on to say they didn’t realize that they had to really save for retirement and plan ahead.  He was implying that they thought the dance would go on forever.  He sees them now as clients who don’t have enough in retirement and never thought that much about living this long.  They had all the opportunities not available to the younger generation and somehow squandered their moment in the sun.

Retirement was always a man-made construct.  It is artificial and created as an economic structure to assist the economic situation of the depression.  I say over and over again, the Soul never came here to retire.  The problem with this theory is that the personality didn’t wake up to take care of the body until it was in its 50’s.  Unfortunately, by that time many had already hurt their bodies in several ways–poor eating habits, drinking, drugs, smoking, extreme exercise, no exercise, lack of sleep and stress.

Interesting to note that before 1930’s when Social Security was first created, everyone was expected to work or have someone who could manage your business.  Since then, the dream is to work for someone else and earn a pension and then go play golf while someone else takes care of you.  Studies show that today 60% of those retired wished they had continued to work longer.  First of all it helps you keep fit and 2nd, it keeps the mind sharp and purposeful.  But, of that 60%, 72% can’t find jobs due to health issues.  Here we go back to the late start in paying attention to your health.

What can we learn from the Baby Boomer mistakes?  1) Plan on working for yourself.  If you work for a company or for the government, have a plan for your own business.  See if you can run a parallel track of your own business.  On the pecking order of success at the bottom is the employee, the next is the self-employed, the next is the entrepreneur and the highest is the investor who lives from her investments.  2) Stop planning on getting out of working.  We can change what we do but we will be doing productive work the entire time we are alive.  3) Start very early in taking care of your health.  Since I have reached the later years of life, I can easily say start early in doing this.  When you get older, it is all maintenance.  You pay for the extreme sports’ injuries, the rich food and drink you ate years ago, the years of stress and worry, the smoking, the loss of hearing from loud concerts and other loud social events.

Basically, start thinking early of what you can do to be self-sufficient.  Today’s article in the Los Angeles Times entitled “Why Grandma Wants a Divorce” by Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett,  is very revealing.  It speaks to the latest trend of late-in-life divorce.  Gray divorce is on the rise.  “The number of middle-aged people who will experience divorce in 2030 will climb by about 10,000, but among older adults, it will increase by abut 80,000”.

For those who work for a government entity and feel secure in a government pension plan to protect you, as part of this big transit with approximately 8 years left of upheaval, don’t get complacent.  Chances are there will be changes to this big safety net.   Almost all government pension funds are woefully underfunded and growing in size.  The future look at states’ economies is not rosy so many of these pension funds will be renegotiated down the road.

Unconsciously, in the number of Soul Cycles, we made an unconscious decision to live a new part of our lives at age 63.  It is from the age of 63-64 that the line in the sand is drawn.  We either decide to wait out our remaining years in the land of leisure and anticipate dying somewhere in our 80’s or we decide to plan a whole new second act for ourselves.  We have careers in place, life styles in place, business plan in place and get excited about our future.  Live long and prosper so the saying goes.  Live healthy earlier, build your own business and chances are you will live longer and prosper longer too.


4 responses to “Retirement is a Fading Dream”

  1. Hello Anne,

    Thanks for writing. It sounds as if your life has been “enriched” rather than “rich”. 70 begins the wisdom years. Wealth can come at 70, 80 or whenever. I have a student who is 93 and doing well. Just because it hasn’t happened, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Many happy years ahead.

  2. Anne says:

    I don’t think I ever consciously considered retirement in earlier years, as it never occurred to me I might retire. My mother spent most of her life as a single woman, and when she had to retire from the first job, another came along. She never had much money, and she always worked.

    When my current husband of 17 years and I got together, we had some debts to pay off, and a house to pay off. We succeeded in doing all of this, and were celebrating the house being paid off. We intended to start some serious savings, but a major car accident changed our plans, as my husband couldn’t work at all for a number of months, and he was self-employed in his own business. The business was closed for months, and never really built back up. I won’t go into the rest of the illness story, but suffice it to say, we both worked hard all our lives, and the finances did not materialize.

    And this is where Karma comes in! Obviously, there were lessons to learn, and humility in realizing we are not really in charge of our financial destiny. It is OK now. I am working still, and I haven’t missed a meal or roof over my head. I don’t worry about the stock market, as we have nothing to lose. But, we are richer than many people we know. We don’t agonize over money, and we recognize everything is in Divine Order. I am grateful for a meaningful occupation at 70 plus years.

  3. Hi Joan,
    Great place to be in your life. You can make an entire new fresh start. Think of living the 2nd half of your life, because you our. Trust yourself and do what you can be passionate about. It’s your time and a long future is ahead.

  4. joan bonge says:

    Thank you for the article, exactly what I needed to think about at this time. Ironically I am hitting 63, so must be trying to live a new part of my life. I guess I am “retired” as I have a military pension, and I am not working in the civilian sector at this time. I jumped into volunteer work, which is frustrating and breaks my heart many days. I keep thinking “is this it?” I need to get serious about drawing that line in the sand you mentioned.
    Thank you,

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