Purposeful Planning & 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.
Five Secrets to a Happy Retirement – AARP
- 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.” Update: Gaelyn has since embraced full-time retirement. 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
This was a great read. These are some of the best retirement planning advice I’ve seen yet!
Finding the best retirement plans should include professional tax advice. The consequences of poor retirement planning can be large tax liabilities, at a time when your income is needed the most.
Some plans utilize pre tax contributions that are taxed upon distribution, while other plans use contributions made on an after tax basis so withdrawals are not taxed after retirement. Tax advice can help you choose the right plans for all of your retirement needs and goals.
William Lyons recently posted…What Would the Repeal of the Federal Estate Tax Mean for Estate Planning?
Haven’t really retired, just a huge life change once the kids were all out of the nest. Sold our house and took off on the road in a beat up old motorhome. Writing about our adventures has led to exploring all over the world and then opportunities to write about that. Later a book, Going Gypsy, and now working on another one. Quite a life, but awfully busy to be calling it retirement.
The GypsyNesters recently posted…How to Get Trapped in a Giant Crater with Wild Animals – and Love it!
Thank you, Veronica. Definitely, the two of you redefined your path once your kids left the nest. You embraced the opportunity to shake it up and take on a new chapter. Speaking of chapters, congratulations on your book and soon-to-be book!
I’ve been retired for 3 years now, my husband for 3 1/2, and I think we’re still defining what that looks like. The great thing is being open to things, knowing one year doesn’t need to look like the previous. We’re doing a bit more traveling and have spent winters as snowbirds getting away from our cold prairie winters. I’ve taken up blogging and am enjoying being able to spend more time writing. We’ve downsized to have less home and yard to look after so we can devote time to other things. I think baby boomers are generally lucky to have more options than their parents did, but I also had some excellent role models in family members (aunts, uncles, my grandmother) who took up other passions in older years (painting, horse raising, ceramics).
Donna Janke recently posted…Ten English Country Pubs
Thank you, Donna. I love this thought, “The great thing is being open to things, knowing one year doesn’t need to look like the previous.” It’s so true! We have so many options open to us.
I’m one of the Baby Boomers who lost my job in the recession and was not able to find another one in my field ( too old, too expensive, etc.) So after a couple years of consulting I moved from Boston to Florida (to be near my sister) and for the last three years have been combining my former career of marketing with my passions for writing and travel and have fairly successfully reinvented myself! I’m a travel blogger and also do freelance travel writing as well as having a regular gig at a regional magazine. It’s a nice life if a less financially secure one and I”m loving my second act!
Kay Dougherty recently posted…5 ways to experience luxury travel without breaking the bank
Thank you, Kay. That whole “too old, too expensive” excuse really hit a lot of baby boomers. I’ve always believed though that life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans. Kudos to you for finding a way to successfully redefine your path.
Cook a little, teach a little, paint a little write a little and love a little. These was how I defined my retirement 12 years ago (I was 54) and I have done a lot of each one, except for paint a little which got replaced by photography! I have become a wife, a book has come out of my blog, I have taught in a university and 2 colleges, and cooked a lot for my hubby!!! And I will continue doing the same things. Plus the passion I share with my husband, travel…a lot!
Thank you, Carol. A little bit of everything, right?! Who says we have to stick with just 1 thing, 1 passion?! And, kudos to you on your book! You’ve definitely defined your path!
Loved your sentence, “Sometimes, you don’t even know the questions” because that’s what our life has been since we retired over 3 years ago. We started out thinking we’d live outside the US which led to 3 years as nomads traveling through many countries which has led to our current location in Portugal. Breaking our lifelong habits of one-year and five-year goal setting has led to the infinite possibilities that arise each week, month and year which are amazing. As long as we don’t tie ourselves down with too much stuff we’re free to see and follow what’s around the next bend!
Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted…Setting Up House in Portugal
Thank you, Anita. It’s true, isn’t it? How can we possibly figure out every aspect when we don’t even know the questions to ask?! I think it’s why so many don’t take the leap, they are tangled in the unknown, which we think is the best part! Kudos to you for defining your path and wading your way through the paperwork of the expat lifestyle!
I agree, I think us Baby Boomers are a lot more flexible when it comes to retirement than our parents were … but I guess we didn’t have the same terrible hardships they had with wars and depressions. We hope to ‘retire’ one of these days soon, but I can see we’ll protire rather than retire and be busier than ever. My blogs will always be what I love doing, so I can’t see that stopping 😉
Jo recently posted…Bohemian Rhapsody … 5 Boho Style Tips
Thank you, Jo. I like your term “protire” rather than retire! I haven’t heard that one before. I think, also, for some of our parents they just couldn’t imagine any other way of living and change is so difficult for some to embrace.
So I’ve been retired 2 1/2 years and occasionally “sub” for absent Principals in elementary schools. I don’t miss the “grind” one bit. It was extremely stressful and as a lot of retirees say, I am busier than ever (trying to improve my blog and continually learning about coding, websites, technology). I am loving what I am doing now: travelling, blogging, taking courses and although hindsight is 20/20, I wish I had discovered these passions before i became a Principal. I would have no doubt taken a different route. But, that’s in the past and I’m only looking forward now. Great reading other people’s perspectives on retirement!
Janice Chung recently posted…Definitely An Experience Eating These French Foods
Thank you, Janice. As a retired teacher I can relate to hindsight. I taught a university course for 3 1/2 years and loved it. If I had known I would have skipped working with elementary-aged children in favor of teaching at the university. But as my good friend suggested, I would not have been as successful at the university had I not had the prior elementary teaching experience. It pained me to say so, but she was right. I am thankful for my somewhat short (by most standards) teaching career, but I do not miss it one little bit – especially, knowing what my teacher peeps deal with each day. Good for you for redefining your path!
My husband plans to retire when he’s 65, in about 6 years, though I’m not sure he will because he still likes his job so much! The plan right now is that I’ll retire at the same time (I’m 5 years younger) and we’ll go somewhere else and volunteer: perhaps VSO or similar. We’ve already bought a much smaller house that we’ll keep as our home base after we sell this bigger one we’re in now. My parents saved to travel a lot after retirement and they both died before that. I have too much to do to wait till I’m 67 to retire! (That’s the new retirement age here.)
Rachel Heller recently posted…FATCA, the Tea Party and Me
Thank you, Rachel. It’s great that your husband still enjoys his work so much! It will be interesting to see if he feels the same way 6 years from now. For many, the idea of saving for the future is paramount, and it’s certainly a good thing, but it doesn’t always play out the way we hope. Planning, saving is good, but there is a time to pull the plug and ask ourselves, “What are we waiting for?”
I found and fell in love with journalism, initially moonlighting while employed full-time as a psychologist in a research institute.
That enabled me to hone the skills I would need to launch into a full-time career as an author, blogger, and journalist.
As an empty nester with more time to travel, I think I’m the luckiest person in the world to have experienced these two entirely distinct and satisfying careers.
Thank you, Irene. Kudos to you for finding two satisfying careers and finding a way to morph one into a life-long passion of writing!
I semi-retired 10 years ago (where did that go?!). I’ve gradually eased out of being a lawyer by starting with part-time appellate legal writing for my old firm. This year for the very first time, I actually considered not renewing my law license—but after a bit of cogitation, I plunked down my license fee and re-upped, so I guess I’m still a “recovering lawyer”. My retirement planning is heavily influenced by the fact that it seems that Mr. Excitement won’t be retiring anytime soon. He is very motivated to continue his work as a cancer researcher and he enjoys it, so yay for him. The huge plus is that he has many invitations to present his work internationally and I am very happy to be a trailing spouse. (Last night I was the only spouse at a dinner for 12 scientists here in Madrid, Spain. I sat across the table from a Paris based researcher who has dual citizenship from France and Italy and who in the course of 15 minutes I heard speak 4 languages fluently: English, French, Italian and Spanish. He is currently studying Basque because his girlfriend comes from the Basque region of Spain.) We are, however, changing some things. We just purchased a down sized Center City Philadelphia condo, having already downsized once. One of my goals for 2016 is to figure out what I want to do with my blog. Of course, that was also my goal for 2015. 😉 Write on! (One of these years, I hope to meet you and Abi IRL).
Suzanne Fluhr recently posted…Zentangle Diva Challenge #246 – Hola Madrid, Spain Edition
Thank you, Suzanne. It would seem you and Dr. (Mr.) Excitement have figured out a way to define your path as well. And since he enjoys his work and there are added perks – i.e. travel abroad – why not?! I understand the concept of re-upping your license, it took me a few years before I “officially” retired my teaching credentials. Once I did, I never looked back and I suspect you’ll reach that point as well. I predict 2016 will be the year in which we do the IRL thing!
Retired after 36 busy years working on a weekly small town newspaper in Oregon. Don’t have near the money they say you need, but my house is paid for and I’m used to living on the cheap.
Try to take a photo a day and write in a daily journal so the time doesn’t slip by without me knowing where it goes. So far trips with friends to Montreal/Quebec and to New Mexico, with family to the Oregon coast and multiple trips to visit kids/grandkids in Portland area. Am loving being retired, living alone and looking forward to the future.
Am planning to host a reunion of college friends here in my beautiful little town in the mountains this summer and spending a month in Paris is still a goal. Love your list and have enjoyed your blog for at least a couple of years.
Thank you, Elaine! I suspect the amount of money the experts tell us we need before retiring, prevents a lot of folks from ever taking the leap. I think it’s a matter of how we define, “enough.” I love that you take a photo every day, that’s such a great idea, along with the journal. I hope you get to spend that month in Paris!
I like your new page Patti, lots of great information. My husband and I are working towards early retirement or rather a change of lifestyle. We want to travel more and work less, but it has to happen at the right time and also it is important for us to feel that financialy we will be ok. I will keep coming back to your page for some good inspiration.
Gilda Baxter recently posted…Iceland – The Ring Road In a Camper Van – Part 2
Thank you, Gilda! I’m really looking forward to learning more and passing it forward.
After leaving the teaching field, I redefined myself as an author. I use my new career as an excuse to read, travel and take classes in French. (I am writing my second book about Paris.)
Deadly Secret by Joy Brighton on all platforms and in a book with real pages.
Thank you, Linda! I love the way you think – and any excuse to travel to Paris, right?!
As a “Middle Boomer” I’ve been working on semi-retirement for 22 years and lovin’ it. Only a couple years ago I realized I had nothing more than social security for retirement. Gave me a jolt and caused me to think, which I’m still working on. I love to play yet still embrace working as a seasonal Park Ranger, which is kind of like play anyway. Maybe I’ll become an expat in South Africa and do part-time, intermittent volunteer work while continuing to travel as I may/desire. I don’t see myself just hanging around waiting to die and want to Live each moment.
Great info. I know us boomers are a glut in the population but not by how much.
Every journey through life is different, ever changing along different paths. I continue to look forward to following your journeys.
Gaelyn recently posted…Hanksville west along Capitol Reef Country Scenic Byway = 28 miles of wonderful
Thank you, Gaelyn! I admire the way you carved out your semi-retirement as a seasonal park ranger, you’ve really got the best of both worlds. And, I completely agree with your thought that every journey through life is different, along different paths.
Ok, I don’t qualify by two years which I’m pretty happy about because I hate the word ‘retirement’. But I’m 49, so does that mean I’m a baby boomer at 51? I don’t consider myself old at 49…
I’m already semi-retired by choice and pretty happy about it. I wouldn’t want to be younger, I think things tougher than they ever were for younger people.
Do I think about ‘retirement’. What is retirement? the word depresses me. We (because Spanky is the same age as me) are going to keep on travelling and having fun as long as we can, talking to people of all ages along the way. When we get to old we’ll have a couple of young hotties take care of us and when we really get too old I’ll go out in a dignified way, hopefully the laws will have evolved by then. But I’ll never be put in a box and categorized. Maybe one day I want to work part-time to connect with others, maybe I just want to lounge around and be a cranky old man. But for me there is no such thing as retirement…does ‘retirement’ just mean not working?
Frank recently posted…Safe and Sound – Paragliding over Cape Town
Thank you, Frank! I think retirement used to mean – just not working – as you suggest, but what’s so great is that we can define it in whatever terms we want. And, I’m pretty sure no one is going to be able to categorize you! 😉