My husband recently turned 60. I am not far behind. As a result, retirement – we prefer “the ‘r’ word” – has become a part of our vocabulary.
But retirement will not be a part of our lives any time soon.
How things have changed from the days when our parents were that age. At 62, my dad was offered a retirement package from the company he was connected to for many years. He reluctantly accepted the offer, even though he felt too young.
He tried a few other jobs but chose a life of leisure and travel with my mom. Luckily he was fortunate enough to do that, for he had scrimped and saved for many years.
Today our lives are much different. The financial upheaval we have seen during our lifetimes means it will be many years before many of us can retire.
Is it because our generation has chosen to help our children get off to a more secure start? Have we enabled them for too long? I left home at 19 years old to marry and never looked back; returning home was not an option. Today many of our children ventured out into the world in their 20s only to return to home base in their 30s. Are our arms too wide-open and welcoming to our children? We so want to help our children have fulfilling lives but is it at the expense of our own? Have we given of ourselves so much that we now are still sacrificing well into our seasoned years? To live a comfortable lifestyle these days, both partners must work and find a way to save at the same time.
Our parents sacrificed in their early years so as to enjoy their senior days. It seems we have reversed this way of thinking; I think our generation has woken up and realized that life is so very short and should be enjoyed sooner than later.
True, we need to save money for our later years but not at the expense of enjoying the present. Besides, people at our age these days are much more health-conscious and are able to continue working well into their 60s and 70s. And why shouldn’t they? Seniors have a wealth of knowledge to offer any employer and they have proven to be reliable workers.
That’s why we will be seeing many more white-haired workers in the future, when retirement will be far off in the distance as long as good health holds out.
Baby Boomers need to still live fulfilled lives giving back and contributing every day. Whether it is with work, leisure activities or volunteering, the key to staying “young” at heart is activity.
I have just begun to put together the next chapter of my career and what I will be doing it into the next century. I still find it exciting to be a productive member of the workforce and can still offer much to many. If I can find a way to include travel and work together I will be truly fulfilled.