Many people claim that baby boomers entering retirement are in for a world of hurt. Financial challenges due to a faltering economy have damaged lifelong savings. And advances in science have increased average life spans to the point that we fear outliving our resources. But these two significant challenges won’t necessarily ruin retirement for the baby boomers.
Although we have been through some difficult times, the doom and gloom forecast for the baby boomer’s retirement may be a bit premature. Earlier this week, while sitting by the fire at a little hotel in Montreal, a group of older southern ladies came into the lobby. They were laughing and teasing each other and happily planning their next move. I closed my eyes and listened to their excitement about exploring Eastern Canada as they expectantly looked forward to what tomorrow might hold.
Take a look around and it quickly becomes apparent that not all baby boomers will suffer through a dismal retirement. Rather, many boomers will take advantage of a unique time in life custom made for enjoying each moment. And, why not? Life is actually looking pretty good for the baby boomers:
The kids are out of the house and sustaining themselves. Educations have been paid for and their bedrooms are now available for conversion into that theme room you have always wished for. (A movie room was our choice.) We love them always, but it is healthier for all of us to have separate lives and independence. Now we can look forward to visiting and catching up versus the uncomfortable avoidance experienced by a guest overstaying their welcome.
We enjoy the freedom to go where we want, when we want to. We are no longer required to supervise the home front. Retirees are free to roam. Planning a trip for just the two of us, we no longer struggle to keep everyone happy and end up doing something that no one likes. Spur-of-the-moment is our new travel style and our options are limitless.
We realize that it is not that stifling to live economically and within our means. Having survived the debt inherent with raising and providing for a family, we refuse to add to what we owe. Travel becomes much more affordable as we venture out during the week and stay at affordable hotels. That old car of ours still has some good years left in it. If we do not have the money to pay for it, we accept that and can do without it.
Shopping around is for fun, rather than a necessity. There is not much we still need. Now is the time we shop for what we want. But finding a deal still adds to the overall enjoyment. And we have all the time we want to search for exactly what we are looking for.
Baby boomers entering retirement are not so bad off. We are living longer, more productive lives and have no shortage of fellow baby boomers to play with. Our generation is full of creative and adventurous people who are always trying new things. Despite what you may hear to the contrary, the baby boomers are doing just fine.
Dave Bernard is not yet retired but has begun his due diligence to plan for a satisfying retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.