Purposeful Planning & Boomer Retirement
The Boomer Generation
Here’s what’s so exciting about the boomer generation – we’ve figured out we don’t have to accept the golden handshake and step away from life. Want to keep right on working in some capacity? Go for it! Want to retire early and travel the world, go for it! Volunteer, or become a llama farmer, or go back to school, or even walk the Camino de Santiago, go for it! The world is a boomer’s oyster and we’re here to hopefully, help others think about purposeful planning and redefining retirement.
- “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” Jim Rohn
We don’t believe you have to have all of your ducks in a row, or a big fat padded bank account before you take that leap of faith. However, it is a good idea to have a nest egg and a game plan. Be aware, there’s way too much doom and gloom out there in cyber space extolling all the reasons why one shouldn’t retire. As such it’s a good idea to be diligent and do your homework. Remember to take what you read with a grain of salt because one man/woman’s retirement path is just that… their path.
Retirement planning is not one size fits all. Nor, is retirement just about the financial aspect. There are a plethora of decisions to be made. Should I (we) downsize, maybe move to the country and homestead or, maybe live in a big city? Maybe the expat life is an inspiring and more affordable option. Do I (we) really need two cars? You get the idea.
The False Assumption
- “Too many people buy into the false assumption that retirement can only happen once you reach “retirement age.” Why should living the life you truly want to live depend on how many birthdays you’ve had or whether or not you punch a time clock? How in the world has it become acceptable to defer your dreams and push the best things in life to the very end? At Intentional Retirement, we don’t think of life as a timeline where youth equals zero to twenty, working years equal twenty to sixty-five and retirement equals sixty-five plus. Instead, we think of life as a pie chart that is divided into time you control and time controlled by others. The more time you control, the more retired you are.” Joe Hearn – Intentional Retirement
Life is Changing
In 2020 the world as we knew it changed, and from where we sit life will never again be quite the same. With purposeful life planning and a diligent path to good health, we will all come out stronger. It’s extraordinary how much has changed in such a short time. The workforce is shuffling and lifestyles are beginning to change. In addition to these changes, retirement planning is starting earlier and there are a multitude of versions of what retirement will look like going forward.
- Money isn’t everything.
- Make health a priority.
- Relationships matter.
- Hone your vision.
- Find your purpose.
Truth is, life is changing for all of us, no matter what age or stage of life we find ourselves. How many stories have you read about a 20 or 30-something couple foregoing a traditional lifestyle and taking to the road as digital nomads? Or, the young family with two or three children who sold their home and joined the skoolie community? And, of course let’s not forget the expat boomer, or the boomers who RV full time. Every day we find new and inspiring stories of how people are purposely defining and/or re-defining their life journey and their retirement. The bottom line is nothing stays the same, learning to adapt is the answer to one of life’s many hypothetical questions.
We’ve retired twice, so far. Firstly, we retired from our careers and bought a small business; a B&B in southern Oregon. We used those years as innkeepers to purposely position ourselves to make the leap to full retirement. Secondly, after just 3 1/2 years we sold our B&B. We took the leap to full time retirement and relocated to the east coast to be near family. Our version of retirement continues to evolve, however, travel will always be a key component. If you’ve been with us for a while here at One Road at a Time, you know our journey.
The boomer generation doesn’t get enough credit for creativity and thinking outside of the box when it comes to purposeful planning. But, the truth is, boomers are making it happen and everyone has a story. At times I spend hours reading about how others are defining and/or redefining their path. If we don’t allow ourselves to grow and change, well, you know what happens. We stagnate, or we break. Just because you start out on one retirement path, doesn’t mean you can’t veer off in another direction, or two or three.
Travel Writers & Retirement
One of the perks of being a travel writer is the community of like-minded souls. I’d like to introduce you to a few who are willing to share their stories. Although their stories have a common thread of travel, each story is unique in its own right. Each story is one of purposeful planning and defining and/or redefining their retirement path as needs/wants arise. Take a few minutes to read the synopsis of their version of retirement. To learn more about them, just click on their name.
- “Travel is one of the most important things in my life and I always had a plan to extensively travel when I retire. I have had various stages of retirement and travel has indeed been prominent in all of them. While I am still in what retirement gurus call the “go-go years” I hope travel continues through my “slo-go” and “no-go” years. In fact, I have told family members to put me on an indefinite cruise rather than in a long-term care facility. I have been quite fortunate to incorporate my love of travel into my current retirement paradigm. As a travel expert, my goal is to help people travel happier. For the past few years I have primarily done that by publishing articles and online content for destinations and travel brands. The content delivery methods may change but I expect that people will always want to know how to save money, time, and stress on travel, so I intend to continue providing those solutions as I can. Travel happy, everyone!” Charles McCool
Don’t Postpone Joy
- “My retirement travel plan has been to keep on doing what my husband and I have had the good fortune to be able to do since the late 1990s. I call it “bleisure” travel, a word combining business and leisure. I’m a happily retired attorney. Conversely, my physician scientist husband, Steve, shows no signs of wanting to retire. Over 40 years, Steve has earned sufficient medical science cred to result in invitations to speak at national and international conferences and medical institutions. I plan most of my retirement leisure travel around Steve’s work travel and we have visited 45 countries, most recently a five week around the world trip. Woody Allen once opined, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” Our travel plans screeched to a halt when I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable, but treatable, blood cancer, resulting in 11 vertebral compression fractures and significantly limiting my mobility. Based on my experience, my advice for planning retirement travel is to not wait for retirement to travel. Don’t postpone joy.” Suzanne Fluhr
- “I became semi-retired about 30 years ago when starting a career as a summer seasonal park ranger in western parks. Even as a paid interpreter my job often doesn’t feel like hard work; whether I’m describing the geology of the Grand Canyon or the lifestyle of ancient people in Mesa Verde. I choose to work one half of the year and travel in my wheelestate/RV home in the winter months; mostly in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert where I can stay relatively warm. I have worked and played in the US northwest and southwest. I’ve also traveled to national parks in South Africa on three occasions. Looking ahead toward full-time retirement should provide more time to travel further afield while photographing and sharing stories.” Gaelyn Olmsted
- “I’m a blogger and my husband is a dentist here in the Netherlands. Because of his profession, I get to travel much more than he does, but in two years, when he retires, I’ll continue blogging, and we’ll start our plan to “slow travel.” We’ll keep our little house here as a home base, but spend months at a time elsewhere. Accommodations are generally cheaper by the month, so we’ll choose a country and city, rent an apartment, and stay for a month or two. We’ll come back to the Netherlands during the summers – our favorite time of year here – and at Christmas. Perhaps at other times too. The only problem is choosing places in which to live! I have a whole list in my head, and I’m sure my husband does too. It’ll take some negotiation and planning to decide which destinations to travel to and in what order, but I’m sure we’ll manage it.” Rachel Heller
- “We imagine our retirement will involve living in Portugal and exploring Europe. As such we started the process by moving to Cascais, Portugal earlier this year (2021). We had visited Portugal in the past and immediately fell in love with this beautiful country, its people, and the wonderful food. Not yet fully retired, we still write about food and travel, and we manage our consultancy companies. Moving to Portugal jump-started our embrace of a slower lifestyle. Most days we get out and walk along the water and take the time to enjoy ourselves. When we do retire, I’m guessing we will continue to write but at a slower pace while stretching our creative muscles with more painting and creative writing. We plan on exploring every nook and cranny of Portugal, as well as the rest of Europe and possibly the Middle East and Africa. We’ll also be looking for an animal shelter or food bank to lend our talents to by volunteering. We’d like to give back to the country that has welcomed us with open arms.” Sue Reddel
- “As a retired school administrator, I’ve traveled to France over 34 times, both before and after retiring and I keep going back because I like to write about unique experiences and sites. Traveling by car, train, and airplane within western Europe is so easy to do (and can be cheap). When making my way to/from France, I often stay in other places such as Portugal, Italy, and Switzerland. I’ve also added in a few special places elsewhere in the world to spice things up and while I primarily travel solo, I also travel with friends or join group tours. A group tour to Morocco, and Bhutan, which is located in the Himalayas, was especially enjoyable. I experienced a safari in Kenya and while it was expensive, it also tied in visits to charitable organizations that have been working to be self-sustaining. As such the trip was part luxurious and part educational. Travel allows me opportunities for lifelong learning.” Janice Chung