Retirement? This baby boomers says, Don’t Worry, Be Happy

If we baby boomers don’t retire, it’s only because we work until we die! And Hawthorne New Jersey’s Alan Paul sees no reason to go that route. So he’s now retired. Happily retired. And he makes no apologies!

I’m retired. There … I said it. You got a problem wit dat..?

A lot of people, it seems, do have a problem with retirement these days. Used to be that when you were getting close to retirement age you looked forward to it. It represented a goal that was a kind of reward for having worked hard all your life. You earned it.

Alan Paul … happily retired.

And besides, you paid for it. Back in the day, 62 was the official retirement age, but like everything else that has anything to do with the federal government, Social Security has been tinkered with, retooled and, let’s face it, screwed up to the point where it bears very little resemblance to the thing it was designed to be.

Now, for a Boomer like me, who was hatched in 1948, my “full retirement age” is, they tell me, 66. The policy-makers still urge people born in my time to work until they’re 70, though they’ll allow you to retire at 66 if you must. Slacker!

So fine, call me a slacker; I’ve been called worse. But after having been retired for a couple years now, I still don’t see the downside. My wife and I discussed my pending retirement maybe two or three years before the blessed event, and during the countdown year we scaled back our spending. It wasn’t so bad. When it comes right down to it, there’s a whole lot of stuff you don’t really need, don’t really want, and don’t really miss, if you don’t have it. Especially when you reach a certain age.

Alan takes a spin in a midget racer.

We’ve got a little money in the bank, and a couple of relatively small retirement funds to draw from, and we own our house. But we have nowhere near the $1.4-million or so that all the investment promos say you need to retire in the lifestyle to which you’ve become accustomed. Granted, we haven’t got a lot of trips to Europe planned; I’ve come, grudgingly, to terms with the fact that I’m never going to own a Lamborghini; and we don’t have a beachfront house down the Jersey Shore. But, again, I try to practice the pre-retirement, spring-training mantra: “…don’t really need … don’t really want … don’t really miss.”

So … a downside? Monetary concerns aside, I still don’t see it. I could never understand those people (and there are a lot of them) who say, “Why would I retire? What would I do with myself?” In the past when those questions were posed to me, I would generally answer: “I can think of a thousand things I would do if I didn’t have to go to work every day!”

Now, while I understand that about 867 of those things require more money than a retired person would, in good conscience, want to spend, that still leaves at least 133 things you can do in your retirement (and you can probably think of a few that I haven’t.) What would you do with yourself? Please! You would do just about anything you’ve ever wanted to do with yourself!

I’m retired. There … I said it again. And I ain’t got a problem wit dat.


  1. Congratulations on your retirement, Alan. That was a great article. I couldn’t have said it any better myself. A number of years ago — in my late 50s — I got laid off from my tech job. After spending almost two years hunting unsuccessfully for a similar job, I decided to give up on the working world. I’m fortunate enough to have a fairly good nest egg with a 401(k) and IRA, as well as a couple rental properties. And like you, I own my home (no mortgage anymore). So even though I wasn’t yet 60, I said: You know what. I’m going to retire.

    And so I did. I had friends and former co-workers asking me: Won’t you get bored being at home during the week? Well, the short answer is no. I get to do what I want, when I want. I’m my own boss finally. I have any number of remodel projects around the house that I’ve wanted to work on myself, and that I’ve been putting off for years because my tech job kept me so busy. Well, no longer. I can finally get to work on those long delayed projects.

    And, for recreation, if I decide I want to go hiking up in the mountains on a Monday, I throw my backpack in the car, and head up into the foothills. If I want to go see a movie late at night in the middle of the week, I go see it (and don’t worry about how late I’m getting to bed). I hardly ever worry about setting an alarm to get up in the morning. I sleep as long as I feel the need (usually a good 6 to 7 hours), and whatever time I happen to wake up in the morning, that’s when I get up.

    I also have plenty of opportunities to attend free or low cost classes and seminars at our local college here, which helps keep my brain active, and also keeps me socially engaged.

    So even though it didn’t seem like it at the time, getting laid off from my last job was actually one of the best things to happen to me. It pushed me into retiring way earlier than I ever thought I would. And I’m loving it. The freedom of setting my own schedule, doing what I want when I want, is priceless. I’ll admit that for the first year or so it was hard to use the “R” word to describe myself. But now, in my 60s, I can say it loud and proud — I’m retired!

    1. Good for you, Tom. I’m glad things worked out so well for you. I got tired of sometimes feeling like I had to apologize for having embraced retirement–especially after having worked so hard for for some 40 years. So I decided to write the Boomer piece for those of us who may be proud and happy in retirement. Thanks much for telling your story.

  2. Hi,

    I just read your post about retirement and several others you wrote and wanted to check if you would be interested in providing a guest post for our site, Retirement And Good Living. Please send me an email for additional information if interested.

  3. I love this article! I had to retire, suddenly, at age 48, due to my heart. I am now 71, no savings, no credit cards, nothing owed, other than my 3 basic, monthly bills, living on my Social Security (considered below Hawaii Poverty Level), yet, I am rich, in the things which matter to me. I live in a beautiful, affordable, new High Rise for 62+, independent living. I am across the road from Honolulu Harbor and get to see all the action the busy harbor offers including Cruise Ships, and Aloha Tower daily, also have views of Chinatown and Downtown Honolulu, Punchbowl, and the Ko’olau Mountains. I’m tired of reading about how we “older retirees” need to be busy doing something. I raised my six adult children, then adopted and raised a grandson, parenting from age 60 into my sixties. This is my time to chill and enjoy the views!

    1. I don’t see anything to use to edit our comment. I meant to say parented from age 20 into my 60’s. We need an edit like sixty and me!

    2. I’m 59 and my 66 year old husband is retiring in 2 weeks and I work as an on-call for a job that doesn’t have healthcare or any benefits, and worrying about keeping busy and the cost of health insurance where it’s always on my mind. Kanani, your post is just what I need to stop worrying. I grew up in Kailua, Oahu, and now live in Northern California, and what I fondly miss most are the views of Hawaii and the culture too. You are enjoying your life on your terms, not someone else’s. It sounds so blissful. That is the way to live! Thank you!

  4. Alan:
    Retired at age 64, March 2015…No apologies here, either…am with you, we do not have a massive cash stash but we do have a new motorhome (mid-2015, now with 20,000 miles on it), a new tri-toon boat for our no-more-mortgage lake home so we enjoy our toys without apologies and we will get by…and finally, those 133 other things keep me happily occupied daily…no problem wit dat

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