Boomers Can Be Grey And Groovy

Richard Gere
Richard Gere

Wearing your retirement lightly
How times have changed since you first entered the job market, wore a suit or silk stockings to the office, and used terms like “groovy”! Now you are facing retirement, and old folk no longer look like old folk back in the day. The elderly wear jeans and T-shirts, try to decipher the texts their grandchildren send them, and no longer take retirement lying or sitting down!

Experts argue there is a lot to be said for staying active and engaged during your retirement years. You will not only be healthier and live longer, but you will be able to create an entirely new life and find your true happiness doing those things you never had the time for while you were still working.

Where to begin to plan for a rich and rewarding retirement? Well, here are some ideas to get you started.

Give in order to receive

There are few things that act as such an immediate pick-me-up, confidence booster and natural high as helping those who are less fortunate. There are many ways in which you can pay it forward, whether by using the skills and experience you have gained during your career or by simply sharing of yourself and your time. Charities, welfare organizations and even political causes are always appreciative of an extra pair of helping hands, and you will get back far more in terms of the feel-good factor and a sense of working for something bigger than yourself.

Open your mind

You may be concerned that you are starting to forget things – no worry, learn some new stuff to replace what you’ve forgotten! It may be decades since you last seriously studied or sat for an exam, but the great thing about studying when you are retired, is that you don’t have to worry about getting good grades. You are simply learning for personal growth and development, and because a particular subject interests you. What better reasons are there?

Consider taking a course in something unexpected, such as a sculpting class or a guitar course, or even learn at home with dvd guitar lessons, its the next best thing to having your own private tutor. Find out if there is an art school in your area, or go online and be prepared for the wealth of information about anything from flower arranging to learning how to master blues guitar.

Unleash your creativity

The routine and structure of corporate life has had a hold on you for a very long time; now it is time to let down your hair (or wear a French beret if you no longer have hair) and find the artist within you. Kick off your sensible shoes and join a dance group. Express yourself through writing, singing, art and music.

But you don’t have to do the dance of the seven veils to connect with your creative side. A fun way to start is to take up scrapbooking – organize your family photos and mementoes in an album, and bring some artistic flair to the project. You will be doing three things at once: Tidying up your valuable treasures, creating a beautiful object, and giving your loved ones something truly memorable of yourself. Creating a beautiful handmade book or illustrated diary can be the next step.

Reality is virtual

You may think that you are up to speed, for a golden oldie, because you have a smartphone, and you know how to send an MMS. But what about Skype? Which blogs do you follow? And do you have a twitter account? Obviously it’s not necessary to keep up to date with every cyber fad that comes along, but from the comfort of your dining room table you can do some fancy things these days. It will be worthwhile to get to grips with internet shopping, for example, if you haven’t already done so. And to connect with groups online that are interested in the kinds of things you are interested in. Believe it or not, through the internet you can establish a real sense of being part of a community of, say, chess enthusiasts.

Smell the daisies

Something that is truly good for both body and soul is taking a stroll in nature. And when you have spent several hours immersed in cyberspace, this is just what you need. You can find out whether there are walking or hiking groups in your area, or you could arrange to take regular walks with a friend at set times. When you were still working, you would hope for good weather at the weekend; now you can simply make use of a sunny day with no restrictions. Or simply take a book and some bottled water along to the park on a nice day.

Pets are priceless

The value that an animal can add to your life is enormous: They are loyal, loving, devoted friends who will encourage you to be more active, make you feel special and needed, relieve stress and provide companionship 24/7.

Boomers At Retirement Age

When I was young, just like some of you, I did not give much thought to retirement.  Being a divorcee and raising two children was my main priority at the time.  I was fortunate to always have a job.  Again, I did what my parents taught me which was: work hard and that is what matters.  Like them though the jobs only allowed for the basic needs of housing, food, clothing, transportation,medical needs and an and occasional vacation.  Saving for retirement did not fit into the plan.  I can remember thinking, just as they did, social security will be enough and that time is a long way off.

That time is now here.  My parents and most of my family have passed on.  The children are raising their families.  Friends have passed.  Social security and Medicare are not stable.  Twenty-five cent candy bars now cost $1.50 or more.  With that said, there is no need to say more because I know that boomers every where know about the economy and etc.  The point that I would like to make is the difference in living and staying.

Many years ago at a conference, I was listening to a speaker who explained the difference in living and staying.  At the time the speech was very humorous but made a lot of sense.   I will never forget what he said.  I still apply it to my life today.  He asked the audience this question.  Have you ever known a person, we will call him George that you see every few years only?  You ask the person when you meet, “where are you living now?”  George replies, ” Well, I had some rough times so I am staying with my Mom over on the East side.”  Then five or ten years pass and you meet George.  Again you ask, “where are you living now?’  George replies, ” I married Martha. I have a good job. I have money in the bank.  We are staying up town in the big house.  Times are good!”  Several years later George pops into your life and once again you ask, “Where are you living now?”  George replies, ” Martha left me. I lost my job. My family is gone. I am staying with a guy I met yesterday over on Fifty Second Street.”  Years go by.  One day you meet George again and ask, “How are you?  Where are you living now?”  George replies, ” Man, I finally learned after all this years about the word living.”  My family is gone, Mom passed away.  My health is good. I live in a small house on Maryland Avenue.  I have some great friends.  We play cards a few times a week and help the homeless.  My daughter, that I left years ago, lives in Virginia.  I am going to become a grandparent.  I have been invited to visit them next month.  I planted vegetables in my small garden.  My tomatoes are huge.  On Fridays, I volunteer at the Senior center.   Life is good!  Today I live, I don’t stay.  I finally learned how to live.  Life is not about what I have, who I am with or how much money is in the bank.  Life is not about staying with a friend or in the the big house.  Life is about living and accepting what is good just for today. I learned that life changes on the outside but it is up to me to change on the inside in order to live.  Thank you for asking and caring for all these years.  You know, I never asked you before but, where are you living?”

So I will ask you as  I have asked myself, “Where are you living at retirement age?”  We boomers are in the last stage of our lives.  Let’s live.  Are you living or staying?  No matter where we are, single, married, rich or poor, we still have the choice to live today.  George learned in time.  Have you?

A facebook friend just posted a quote/photo that I feel would sum this story up.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass…. Life is about dancing in the rain!/John Kelly

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Debt Killing Ideas for Baby Boomer’s Retirement Planning

Baby boomers retirement planThese days, retirement of baby boomers is the hottest topic around the country. This year, the reports issued by American Bankruptcy Institute and wikipedia revealed some astonishing facts. Between 1946 and 1964, more than 76 million American children were born and this historic Boomer generation are reaching their retirement age of 65 this year in 2011. In fact by 2030, it was expected that all boomers will reach 65 and will make an estimated 20 percent of the population. However, the recent economic depression raises questions regarding the level of comfort baby boomers can expect in their retirement years. Its being noticed they are constantly struggling to relieve their outstanding debt burden and it seems they severely lack capital to fund their retirement.

Nowadays, statistics displays a raise in bankruptcy case filings for individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 and shows an increasing number of workers tapping their 401(k) accounts for emergency withdrawal. Withdrawing money from retirement plan can be dangerous because of the risks and costs associated with it, whereas increasing cases of bankruptcy is equally dangerous as it indicates the current financial impediments that Baby Boomers are encountering now. Everyday they are struggling with thousands of financial issues like the dwindling value of their homes, the stalled returns on their stock market investments, the absence of interest rate returns and the employment scarcity after 50. All these problems are leading them into a huge debt crisis, which  remains unresolved even after their retirement. However, strategic thinking, the right knowledge, and few affirmative can make life a whole lot easier for them and can secure his post retirement days. Read ahead, to know a few significant ideas, which can help a baby boomers retiring to deal with their outstanding debt.

Live within your means

Let’s face it, spending is fun and the use of plastic and delay in paying bills, have made it much easier to overspend. If you tend to overspend, put a stop to impulse purchasing and start tracking your expenses. Think before you buy and understand the difference between the things you ”want” and things you ”need”,before buying. If required, embrace frugal living, cook at home, shop in bulk and avoid luxuries like expensive dining out.

Increase your income

After calculating your incomes and expenses, if you find out your monthly income falls short to cover your expenses, supplement your incomes through different ways. Go for a over time or part time job or start up a new business.  If you have any skills or “stuffs” that others are willing to pay for, start utilizing them. You can work as a freelance online writer or photographer or bookseller on eBay and Half.com. Find baby boomers jobs. You can arrange for a yard sale and can sell off your excess and unused items. For God’s sake, don’t use this extra income to buy a new dress or an expensive dinner, apply it to pay off your debts. Be creative and explore different innovative ways to earn more money.

Set priority

Baby-boomers often face financial difficulty, while putting their kids through school. In fact some go to the extent of sacrificing their own retirement plans to help their adult children. You must realize the fact there’s no point in putting your financial future at stake and securing your retirement days should always be your first priority. No matter what your financial obligations are, make sure you save at least 10 percent of your monthly income for emergency or retirement fund.

Financial planning

Last but not the least, remember, the sooner the better. If you are feeling financially tight, because of outstanding debts, you should address the problems immediately. Don’t work in haste; take baby steps towards paying down your outstanding debts. Set small realistic goals for yourself and put forth sincere efforts to achieve them. You can seek the help and guidance of a credit counselor in this regard as well as part of your retirement planning. It’s worth bearing in mind that paying down your debts will be the best investments you will ever make to ensure your future financial freedom after retirement.

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