The days of retirement where everyday is like a lazy Sunday afternoon are behind us. It seems society has made all us think that retirement is a time where you are supposed to travel the world, play golf five times a week, or hang out with our grandchildren every day. Retirement has changed from decades past. We really need to redefine the way we look at retirement so we have a clearer picture of reality and what retirement should truly look like.
The recent recession really hit our savings hard and most people lost somewhere between 20% and 50% of their retirement nest egg. The Baby Boomer generation took the brunt of the storm and many of these boomers are planning to work for years to come to make up for what they lost. To add onto that, boomers are now finding themselves taking care of adult children who have lost jobs or can’t find jobs and at the same time they having to care for their aging parents. Many experts think that the boomers may become the first generation to spend the same amount of years taking care of their parents as it did taking care of their own kids.
Up until this point, this article has had sort of a sad tone to it or at least that is the feeling I get when I read it. And this is the image that the media presents when talking about how scary it will be for people at or nearing retirement. Why does it have to be negative? Just because our retirement is not going to be what it was for past generations does not mean we can’t create a positive image of retirement and a retirement where one can really create the purposeful engagement with others and change lives.
Working longer is not necessarily a bad thing either. My uncle retired when he was 49 years old after working for 25 years for a major corporation. The next week after he retired, he began working as a caddy at the golf club he had been a member at for 10 years. He loves to be around the game of golf and share his knowledge of the course and share stories about his experiences over the years. He has been retired for 14 years now and still works as a caddy 3 or 4 days a week and gets paid pretty darn well for his work. Another example is my Dad who retired when he was 58 and he became a high school football and basketball referee. This allows him to stay active, get involved in the local community, and continue to supplement his retirement income.
By keeping active in communities, older adults will not be pushed to the side and ignored. Don’t let the media and gloomy outlook for the economy get you down. Take your golden years by the horns and create a positive outlook no matter what your situation may be. And with this purposeful engagement in retirement, you will live a longer and much happier life.