You’ve probably spent your life thinking that by the time you reach “a certain age” you’ll have it all together.
But sometimes the path you want to follow just gets more confusing…. Where you thought there’d be a pathway in front of you there is just crazy paving!
Life is too short to keep living a life that isn’t right for you anymore. Maybe you know you need to make a change but life circumstances make it difficult to do anything right now. But you can use this time to plan your next move so when the time is right you can start living life the way you want to.
It’s easy to think that right now older people who want to work are disadvantaged. The government says we should expect to work until we are 70, but most people who have tried to find work after they turned 50 would agree that it is not easy.
Yet we live in a time when it is common to reinvent yourself in a new career, and when anyone with the right niche and strategies can build an online business.
But knowing what is the right thing for YOU to do is your burning question. It’s all good to know that it’s possible…but is it possible for YOU?
David and I have reinvented ourselves a few times over our working life. He moved from construction to civil construction over the course of his employment, with a gap in the middle as a property developer. I have transitioned from teacher to school resource centre manager to career counsellor. Along the way we both developed an interest in having a business that would bring in an income in our retirement, while retaining a great retirement lifestyle.
We are now working online assisting people reinvent themselves from their previous profession to business owners, creating lifestyle businesses.
When I mention that we are both working online, perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration! I’m currently working at the business while David is sailing around the Whitsunday Islands of the Great Barrier Reef, with plans to be back home by mid November. Is he working while he is away? Not one bit! I think he has a business book to read with him, but that’s really just for interest. I’m joining him on the boat soon for a week or two. Will I be working? Well yes, a little, but I don’t think of writing blog posts as “work”, more “self-expression” that I’d be doing anyway.
Why am I telling you this? Because it is important to know that you also can have a hybrid retirement lifestyle…a bit of work, a lot of lifestyle. It’s just a matter of knowing how you want to live your life, then finding the reliable system that will enable you to do this.
My husband David retired after a long and satisfying career this year. Everyone – family, friends and work colleagues – knew what his plan was.
On his last day at work he even wore the t-shirt that bore the message “I have a retirement plan. I plan on sailing”, with the same message on his retirement cake.
He has always been a keen sailor since building a dingy with his father during his school holidays when he was about 14. He sailed mainly catamarans for years, then family life took over. As our children grew older he purchased an old trailer sailer which gave him a few more years of sailing. Again family life took over, with elderly parents needing to be visited regularly in Canada, and there were a number of years when sailing was still his passion but there was no boat and no time to enjoy one.
A few years ago our offspring left to pursue their own lives, elderly parents had departed this world and it was time to indulge the passion. He bought a Catalina 309, a lovely yacht in great condition, and had great joy sailing it around the large bay close to home. The sail cruising group, part of the yacht club that we joined, were fantastic people and shared his passion, so friendships were forged and many hours spent talking about …. yes, you guessed it …sailing. During that time he heard of everyone’s nautical adventures and gradually his plans expanded from local sailing in Moreton Bay to adventures further afield. And finally they are on their way.
And finally they are on their way….three newly retired men undertaking a true adventure. All have had extensive sailing experience. Initially they are sailing “in company” as part of a group from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, so there will be many shared dinners, drinks and camaraderie along the way.
They have been gone nearly three days as I write this, have seen many whales and seem to have settled into their shared life on board the yacht. They sailed from Manly to Mooloolaba, moored for the night, then had a very early start to sail to the Wide Bay Bar entrance which can be extremely dangerous. Fortunately the seas were very quiet as they crossed the bar.
Now they moored behind beautiful Fraser Island, and undoubtedly the crews from all the boats will meet up on the beach around 4pm for ‘Sundowners’ before dinner.
I’ll keep you updated as they travel by adding photos and snippets of their adventures to this blog.
The three amigos had a fabulous sail north to Airlie Beach and saw many whales on their annual migration. One of them flew home while the other two spent about 10 more days enjoying the beautiful water, tropical weather, snorkelling on the reef, and tropical islands. They will all return soon to sail the boat home again, this time spending more time in different islands and inlets. It truly has been, and will continue to be, an example of living the retirement dream.
For many years the golden freedom of retirement hung before us, the reward for a lifetime of working hard. It would be a time of adventure and relaxation, pursuing passions and engaging in activities that you never had time to pursue while you were working.
Much of that still holds great appeal….I want the freedom, the adventure and the relaxation, time to indulge my interests and do new things, time to travel and have fun. But at what price?
I certainly don’t want to stop working completely. I don’t want to wake up one morning and realize I no longer have economic purpose and challenge in my life.I don’t want to watch our retirement savings disappear faster than we expected. I don’t want to feel, or be treated, like an ‘old person’. With luck there will be plenty of years ahead when that will be inevitable, but now isn’t that time.
Throughout my adult life I’ve defined my purpose primarily through my roles within my family, but closely followed by how well I accomplished my work role. My definition of purpose may be different from others, but I know I have spent my life measuring myself by what I did and how well I did it.
Perhaps I think differently about this because I’m self-employed and love working in my business. If I were still employed I’d possibly be craving that day when work stopped being part of my life. Certainly those friends who are employed express this desire regularly, as do some of my career coaching clients who are seeking a new job out of necessity. The strongest motivation to retire…perhaps escape…from work seems to be freedom to do what they want to do, when they want to do it. I don’t look on ‘freedom of retirement’ in the same way because I have created much of that freedom within my lifestyle business.
I hear many people around retirement age ask the question: “What’s the Next Step?” Retirement is increasingly being seen as a transition from the career path that has been followed to something else that will be challenging and give purpose and fulfillment to life. For some this is voluntary work, offering their services in some way to contribute to their community or society as a whole. For others the opportunity to work part time or as a contractor/consultant, mixing work and earning with travel and family involvement, is an ideal way of combining work with freedom to do the things you want. Increasingly, perhaps because of the global economic crisis or maybe because technology has made it so accessible, many choose to create their own business online.
Whatever the motivations or the experience, the traditional concept of retirement seems to have faded and is slowly being replaced by a smorgasbord of dynamic opportunities, all offering different variations of purpose, fulfillment and freedom.
BoomersNextStep.com explores this smorgasbord, from job search to creating a laptop lifestyle, from travel adventures to pursuing your passions, as we look at how the baby boomer generation can reinvent and reward themselves.
We have chosen the path of a hybrid lifestyle retirement. We enjoy the freedom of retirement, but we also enjoy the stimulation of our work. We have an online business that we can do anywhere in the world, bringing in additional income to fund our travel, our sailing and our other lifestyle choices. We both love having the additional mental challenge of learning new skills and meeting new people through our business.
Thank you to my friends Greg and Fiona Scott,The Laptop Lifestyle Experts,for this thought-provoking article.
It’s a morbid topic, we know, but . . . it can help form our decisions on how we live our lives right now!!!!!!!!
Which is VERY important.
Why are we mentioning it now?
We’ve just come across a book ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying’, by an Aussie author, Bronnie Ware.
Bronnie worked in palliative care for many years, and got to be with patients in the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
From her interactions with her patients, she found that in the twilight of their lives they shared FIVE COMMON REGRETS.
As you read this, think to yourself what could you do differently right now, with your life, so you live a life of joy, happiness, and meaning, and not experience these regrets.
“When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.”
Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it’s easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled.
Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
From the moment you lose your health, it’s too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it (which is why we make time to exercise each and every day)
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard
This came from every male patient Bronnie nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. They deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
(we’ve both been a victim of this in the past, but . . . now we’re building an online business, creating passive income, working where and when we please . . . means we know longer have this regret)
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result (there’s a lot been said about Steve Jobs on this topic!).
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level.
Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was too late to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved.
It’s common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it’s not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love.
That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
(we’re so blessed we can work together, travel to see friends, and have time to make new friends too)
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice.
They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you’re on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind.
How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It’s YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”
Bronnie Ware, author of the book ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying’http://bronnieware.com/about/
This article raises important questions and makes us examine our own lives.
==> Are you living an authentic life being true to yourself?
==> Are you working too hard?
==> Are you continually growing and becoming all you can be?
==> Do you appreciate the love and friendship in your life?
==> Do you choose to be happy?
Do you need to change your life? Thankfully, tomorrow is a fresh start . . .
In Australia the share market and property market are looking stronger, and it seems that baby boomers may be feeling the love!
Around 5 years after the GFC encouraged many people to continue working longer than they had anticipated so they could continue to add to their superannuation, baby boomers seem to have regained confidence in their ability to fund their retirement.
According to the Australian Financial Review (12-13 October 2013) an analysis of labour market data has suggested that people aged 60+ are leaving the workforce at a higher rate than younger workers. Mr Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital, was quoted as saying
“They’re not giving up work because they’re discouraged by the jobs market. They’re giving up work because they feel they are comfortable enough to retire.”
Do you think people have been hanging out for an improvement in their finances before they had the confidence to retire? Or is it that the bump of baby boomers is moving forward and many are now reaching 60 and are ready to retire, just as they had planned to do?
Perhaps there is a tipping point, when everything comes together to make retirement seem like the best option. Perhaps it is as we expect, when the alignment of finances, family responsibilities, and readiness to leave work all come together. Others may need the push of a redundancy, and to realize it is the right time to go. Maybe a secondary income enables you to move from a traditional job to a different way of working. It could even be a sudden windfall – lottery, inheritance, a successful investment.
I suspect for me it is financial security…Do we have enough to live comfortably for the next 30 years? That question in itself shows both profound optimism and some pessimism, but let's go with the optimism and presume we have 30 years to worry about! There is also a bit of "I'm not sure I want to completely retire" thrown into that mix as well, an awareness that I enjoy my work and would like some of my work to be part of my next stage of life.
What was, or will be, your tipping point to decide that you have the confidence to retire from your main source of income?
Here’s an interesting bit of trivia: Did you know that between the years of 1946 and 1964, there were more than 76 million babies who were born in the United States? It is these individuals who make up what is known as the “baby boomer generation”. This means that many of them recall the invention of color television and definitely, cell phones and the internet.
Indeed, a lot has changed since a baby boomer was a teenager, especially when it comes to technology. If you’re someone who is a part of the baby boomer generation and you’d like some tips on how you can manage your finances with the help of technology, but you don’t want to use anything that will overwhelm you with a lot of “techie jargon”, we have five things that are very hip and also pretty user-friendly below:
Annual Credit Report. There’s no way around the fact that your credit score is vitally important when it comes to making big purchases, negotiating prices on insurance and getting low interest rates on credit cards and loans. The reason why Annual Credit Report is a wise pick is because they are true to their word when they say that they will send you your credit history from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion every 12 months, free of charge. (Plus, there aren’t any hidden fees for signing up with them, either.)
Quicken. If you’re looking for some software that will help you to manage your checking and savings accounts along with your credit card bills and online transactions, Quicken can definitely help you out. Not only will it assist you with organizing your funds, but you can use it to create a budget and set retirement goals too.
Bank Rate. This website is awesome because it provides all kinds of news and statistics on things like home equity as well as student loans. Plus, it has an interactive element known as a Bank Rate calculator that helps you to tally up things like how much you owe on your credit card (including interest).
Your iPhone. Even with all of the technology that is available to us, paper checks are still a vital part of our economy. If you do happen to own an iPhone, you don’t have to wait in line at your local bank in order to deposit the checks that you receive. PayPal has an app that you can download that will let you photograph your checks for immediate deposit up to the amount of $3,000 per month.
Online banking. Although there are plenty of popular website builders that are coming out with new ways to handle your finances every day, make sure to not forget about your bank and it’s free online services. With online banking, you can check your balance, set up automatic payments, transfer funds and even receive alerts straight to your mobile phone when you have made a transaction or even if some suspicious behavior has transpired with one of your accounts. It makes it possible for you to do your banking no matter where you are, so definitely make sure to take full advantage of this option that is made available to you.
There’s no denying that the baby boom generation has left a lasting impact on the world. This generation has spent the last several decades as the leaders of almost every industry, and continue to play major roles in politics, entertainment, science, agriculture, medicine and pretty much any other market you can think of. But as this decade rolls on, millions of boomers are getting ready for retirement. Whether you can’t wait to hang up your work clothes and sail off into the sunset or you feel like they’ll have to drag you away from your work kicking and screaming, there’s no stopping Father Time. So now you’ve got to focus on how the rest of your life will play out, and you obviously want it to be as comfortable as possible. As you enter retirement money becomes a larger issue, and keeping expenses down is a crucial step. You’ve got to get rid of debt to make sure that the money you do have coming in isn’t used up without contributing to your life. Here are a few ideas to help boomers prevent carrying debt into retirement.
First of all, you have to get rid of any credit card debt. This is something that can take some serious time, depending on the size of your debts. So you should look to put together a plan several years before retirement to make sure it is possible. Start out by setting a deadline for your credit cards to be paid off, and then come up with a monthly payment that gets it done. It will be more than worth it to sacrifice a few creature comforts now if it insures you don’t enter retirement with credit card debt hanging over your head.
If you’re going to have to get a new car soon, you should consider renting instead of buying. As you get closer to retirement, buying a car makes less and less sense. Why take on the large purchase price or significant monthly financing payments just to end up with a vehicle you are responsible for repairing? A better bet is to go with a lease. The monthly payment and money you have to put down are both lower, and you don’t have to worry about repairs. You get to drive a safe, new car every two or three years, and if you end up moving or your lifestyle changes you can just let your lease run out and walk away.
Now you’ve got to turn your attention to your mortgage. You’ve spent your whole life working in order to end up with that home, which is also your investment. But if you’re still making mortgage payments it’s time to get that handled. Once you get closer to retirement, the balance changes. It will be worth it to liquidate some investments if it helps you pay off your debts. Your living expenses will be reduced significantly, leaving you with more money to reinvest later. If you’ve carried a life insurance policy to protect children that are now grown and working themselves, you can probably cash that in without worry. Hopefully you’ve got some additional investment set aside you can pull from, and you don’t have to resort to fast cash loans that don’t solve the problem. But do whatever you must to get that mortgage paid off. Otherwise you could find retirement a bit more uncomfortable than you would like.