Negotiate a new work schedule. Instead of retiring completely, many baby boomers are interested in working a more flexible and less demanding schedule. When asked about the life changes they have planned for the next few years, more than half (55 percent) of employed baby boomers turning 65 this year say they are interested in cutting back on their work hours, according to a recent AARP survey of 801 adults born in 1946. And about 15 percent of the retired baby boomers plan to go back to work. "People are going to use the guise of retirement to get a break, rest up, and essentially get ready for a new phase of life," says Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures and author of the upcoming book The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage between Midlife and Old Age. "Retirement is becoming a transition, rather than a destination. True retirement is going to get deferred to much later in life."
Plan your new life. Develop a plan for the activities you would like to try next. Baby boomers turning 65 this year say their top priorities for the next few years are maintaining their physical health (84 percent) and spending time with family (81 percent), AARP found. Other popular planned retirement activities include interests and hobbies (76 percent), doing things you have always wanted to do (74 percent), and travel (61 percent). Although you may need a rest after decades in the workforce, eventually you will want to channel your energies and abilities into a new project.
Since retiring in 1998, Doug Stanard, former CEO of bowling alley chain AMF Bowling, stays busy visiting his grandchildren and running a hobby farm in Columbia, S.C., where he hunts and has a pond stocked with fish. "Most people who stay active don't see themselves as growing old," says Stanard, who will turn 65 in November 2011. "It's only when you get out of the shower and you look in the mirror that you see yourself as 65."