What are baby boomers saying about retirement?

Retirement is a hot topic among baby boomers. For most either it’s close … or it’s here. Emily Cass writes about the impact of retirement on our identities. A graduate student at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia, Emily is a part of Generation Y, the children of baby boomers. But to help build a better understanding within the community of boomer retirees, she writes about “The R-Word: What are people saying about retirement?”

After spending the majority of your adult life working, it is natural to ask what impact retirement might have on you. This was the focus of my conversations with recent retirees Brenda and Thomas, and soon-to-be retirees Jillian and Dianne. Here is what they had to say:

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Emily Cass

1. We are ready.

Having ticked all their boxes for financial preparedness, the decision to retire was easy. Office politics have taken away what once made work meaningful, Thomas explains. “Work is more frustrating than fun,” says Dianne. Jillian puts it simply: “I’m too old for this!”

2. We are prioritizing what is important.

The ability to focus energy and efforts on one’s self, health, friends, and family, was the biggest opportunity cited in my conversations. “Without work, I’ll be fully untethered,” says Dianne, who was looking forward to focusing on creative activities such as painting and dancing. “The number one thing I’m looking forward to is swimming in the morning!” says Jillian. These things have always been important, but adequate time wasn’t necessarily available while working. On his next vacation, Thomas is combining two interests, travel and genealogy, something he didn’t have time for before. The retirees also spoke of true enjoyment in their activities. Brenda doesn’t cook nearly as often, but when she does, she says she gets really into it because she wants to do it!

Emily with her parents in Victoria, British Columbia.

Emily with her parents in Victoria, British Columbia.

3. We will probably continue with some sort of work, by choice.

After retirement, many take on work or volunteer commitments. Though work has never been an important factor for Jillian in determining who she is, she is not 100% sure she won’t work or volunteer in some form. “I’m driven that way,” she says.

A family kayaking trip in Tofino, British Columbia.

A family kayaking trip near Tofino, British Columbia.

Unlike work, however, commitments must work with their schedules! This was what Thomas was looking for when he picked up seasonal work where he could work when he wanted.

4. We are not senior citizens.

Nobody identified even remotely with the term ‘senior’ or ‘elderly’ although it was challenging to think of a term that described who they felt they were. Dianne suggests she would identify with ‘Jr. Senior’, but others assert they are simply lucky! Retirement is not a choice for all. As Jillian puts it, “To have a choice is a blessing and I’m really looking forward to this next phase, I really am.”

What do you have to say to your fellow Baby Boomers about retirement?

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7 Comments on "What are baby boomers saying about retirement?"

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William Courter
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I love your points! I struggled at the beginning of my retirement, uncertain of my best direction, so I wrote and self-published my own book, The Boomer Survivor Kit. I do not know how much it has helped others, but it made a great impact on my retirement choices. From my perspective, it’s a good process for all of us – to write down your own plans, challenges, and dreams. Life is so much more than just a bucket list. We all need connection, meaning, and purpose in our lives. Good luck to everyone!

Uncle Albert
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Retirement or refreshment from work in March of 2015 has been freaking awesome! We bought a brand new motorhome and a new boat of our dreams since we live on a large lake (33,000 acres and 640 miles of shoreline). Since we bought the RV, we have put 20,000 miles on it (purchased in July of 2015) seeing this beautiful country and our old friends and family scattered everywhere. We are never bored and if we get restless, we get out on the road. The last trip we completed was 40 days away from home. I do have some thoughts… Read more »
Ian Bond
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While I appreciate all of your points, #3 really resonates with me as I like to be engaged and the income will be a must. As a corporate worker, a career telescopes in very fast. Also, there are fascinating things to do online and by connecting with people doing them. It will be an awesome time to be alive!

Bikernurse
Guest

I heard that in Great Britain, people our age are called super adults! We are not referred to as Seniors. I love it.

deborah
Guest

Many Boomers will never get to retire. I’ll be working til lunchtime on the day of my own funeral. Our retirement funds were raided. Our investments went south. It would help me more if boomercafe addressed some strategies for how to survive that.

Allison hinde
Guest

No we are not senior citizens. I also believe it is a state of mind not age We are still contributing to the future working in the now and sharing the past so others dont forget.

Kathe Kline
Guest

Great article! We talk about some of these issues on the Rock Your Retirement show.

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