Over 60 and ready to kick butt…

Senior Politician

“The times they are a changing.”  Bob Dylan was right and it applies to older folks today.  Never in history have older people been ready to kick butt in all kinds of ways.  Let’s look at why.

The Grey wave

Today’s older folks will not be sitting in the rocking chair – unless it’s while listening to rock music!  They are planning on 20+ years of butt kicking in many ways.  You hear lots about the Baby Boomer generation and how they are going to break the Social Security and Medicare system.  But what about the positive aspects?

Political Clout

Older people are voting in record numbers and they pay attention.  When our representatives do something stupid they give them hell!

A little money and maybe a lot more time

It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a little money and some time.  Some 60+ people are hitting the peak of their earning years and they are not in a big hurry to quit.  Not only can they make a contribution to their employers, they also have some extra money because kids are grown and hopefully most debts are paid off.

Others have just a little money from Social Security and savings but a lot of time.  And all that time can be invested in myriad ways.  Think starting a business, volunteering, or helping young people.

So how can you join the “Kick Butt” demographic?

Get your health in order as much as possible

Health is probably the biggest determination of your degree of involvement.  You hear of many people staying very active into their 80s and 90s.  The key is reasonable health.  Minor health issues you can ignore and just keep going but serious health issues can put you out of the game or end your life prematurely.

Start a business where money isn’t the only goal

This is a big trend these days.  Instead of hanging up their work clothes some are putting on a whole new set.  Many times money is a secondary goal.  They are doing work they love and money is just a side benefit.

Start an organization for a cause

The world has so many problems that need to be solved.  Instead of waiting for somebody else to solve them why not start an organization to solve it yourself.

Use your experience and maturity

This is an area where older folks have a real advantage.  Older people have seen it all before.  Nothing surprises them and they don’t panic.  In my career managing programmers I’ve always tried to maintain a mixture of age groups.  I like older people because when everybody else is panicking they just keep trudging along to solve the problem.

Associate with people of all age groups

Don’t hang around all older retired people.  There is nothing wrong with them, just have an assortment of friends and acquaintances.  You can’t help young people if you don’t ever see any.  Choose your company carefully.  You want to associate with people that are doing stuff, not sitting on their butts.

So how will you kick butt?

Trial Retirement in a Weekend

Middle Aged Lady Enjoying Her Meal

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How do you tell if you are really ready for retirement? We’re not talking in a financial sense but more in a “What will I do with myself?” and “What will it be like?” sense. Well, what if I told you that a trial retirement is possible and that it only takes three days!

Trial retirement over a long weekend

Just like real retirement the key to a trial retirement is planning. Let’s assume our trial retirement is three days. Two of the days can be a weekend. One of the days (a Friday or Monday) should be a work day for the rest of the world. Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend won’t work.

Next think of the kinds of things you will do in retirement. How and when will you do them? Here are some examples:

Experience shopping on a work day

Do you know how you always end up doing grocery shopping on the weekend? Well, when you are retired you don’t have to do that, and in your trial retirement you don’t have to either. So, go shopping at 10:00 AM or 2:00 PM on a Friday or Monday and see how empty the stores are compared to a weekend.

Lunch or dinner on a work day

In a similar fashion try lunch at a spot away from the business lunch crowd on a weekday. Or try dinner on a Monday night. I used to know people that owned fancy restaurants and they always suggested going to dinner on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday when the staff wasn’t overwhelmed by the crowds

Time for chores

Yes you will still need to do chores when you are retired. The difference is that you can pick the time, so try that during your trial retirement.

What will you do during the day (besides TV?)

Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

Time for hobbies – dust off an old hobby and spend a couple hours enjoying it.

Can you visit somewhere out of your ordinary? I’m talking about the kind of place that you would consider a little too different to risk wasting your time, or maybe a little further than you usually travel for a day trip.

What people are included in your plans? Maybe surprise somebody with a visit. (You might want to call first!)

Can you do a mini-vacation that feels like a retirement trip? Maybe stay overnight somewhere at a Bed and Breakfast, or an overnight camping trip.

Afterward, review how it went

Were you bored? Were you stressed? Did you enjoy anything you don’t normally enjoy? What did you do that was out of the ordinary?

Give your trial retirement a rating

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 highest how would you rate your mini retirement? How would your spouse rate your mini retirement?

By the time you are done your mini retirement you will learn something about yourself. What would you change? Why not wait a month or two and try the mini retirement again. This time incorporate changes based on what you have learned. More importantly you can use what you learn in planning for your real retirement!

Until next time…


Why is the Retirement Glass Half Empty?

Glass of Red Wine

Image courtesy of BrianHolm / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Retirement is going to be a disaster for most people, right? That is certainly the message that is out there in the media. I see articles all the time that you need millions to retire, and even that will not be enough! Let’s take a look at the “glass half empty” side of retirement.

We aren’t saving enough

We hear this all the time and in many cases I’m sure it is true. It is certainly true that the earlier you start saving in life, and the more you save the easier it is to build your retirement next egg. It is also probably true that if you are behind where you want to be it pays to save as much as you can to catch up. However the reality is that life gets in the way of the best of plans, and maybe you find yourself in a position where you aren’t where you want to be. There are millions of people out there where long term careers came to an abrupt end as a result of the financial crisis and they are still recovering for example. So don’t beat yourself up!  Deal with things as they are, not as you wish they were.

The Financial Industry

Many in the financial industry have good intentions when they sound the alarm that we aren’t saving enough. I fear sometimes the scare techniques may cause people to just give up. If the industry says know your retirement number (how much in retirement assets you need,) and you know that multimillion dollar number is something you will never reach, it is easy to give up. That is a real danger. Some saving and planning is always better than no saving and planning. Don’t forget too that the financial industry makes fees on most every dollar you save!

The role of debt

The financial industry on average says you need about 80% of your pre retirement income in retirement. I’m not a financial advisor and won’t argue the numbers but I think the amount of debt going into retirement makes a big difference. There is a big difference between a person entering retirement with no debt than one with a big mortgage, home equity loan, car payments and a wallet full of credit card debt!

Big ticket must haves

Maybe the big retirement numbers assume some big ticket retirement must haves. For example not everyone needs to travel the world in luxury. There is nothing wrong with that goal if you can afford it but some may be just as happy with lots of more affordable domestic trips. And not everyone needs a 70 foot sailboat to be happy in retirement.

Healthcare and long term Care

This one probably scares me the most. Probably the best we can do is do whatever we can do to stay healthy, and elect leaders that are brave enough to address the healthcare concerns of retired people. I know this is easier said than done. Here in the US we all know people who have had their life savings wiped out by a major illness, or taken by a nursing home in their last few months of life. It just isn’t right.

Retirement definition is wrong

This one you have heard before if you a regular reader of this blog. The point is that everyone’s definition of retirement is different. Some plan to work part time and some plan to never stop working. Retirement for them just means doing things a little differently.

Maybe I am a little too optimistic in thinking that planning and work can make many retirement situations work out. And I sure don’t want to diminish the real financial and healthcare challenges that many retirement people face. I have come to believe however that worrying too much gets in the way of life.

What do you think?

Until next time…