Baby Boomers Take on Retirement

“Growing old but not retiring,
For the battle still is on;
Going on without relenting
Till the final victory’s won.”
—Anonymous


Baby boomers have taken on retirement with the same gusto that they faced every one of life’s challenges. The old notion of retirement is gone.  The baby boomer generation has changed the way that we, as Americans, look at the notion of retirement.  Welcome to the new era of retirement, featuring the active adult and an active lifestyle.  A retired life of ease and prosperity is the goal of most Americans, but are now, no longer willing to settle for the idea that they must work for 80% of their life for only the possibility of enjoying the last 20% of their life and retirement.

We grew up believing that if we worked for so many years until we were 65 years old we could retire and finally do all the things we wanted to do. If we worked hard enough, if we saved enough during our working years we could retire and live comfortably for the rest of our lives, using Social Security, pension plans, savings and investments to reach the ultimate goal of financial security. This model was packaged as part of the American dream. We all fell for it. We all believed it. But we didn’t all receive it.

What many failed to do, was to figure in all of the ‘what ifs’ that life surprises us with.

For so many Americans, the work ethic, which they were raised on, encouraged them to work, work, work, all the while, denying themselves the extras and to wait for that promised reward of living the good life. It sounded like a good plan for everyone. Some who followed the plan, retired, and said ‘now what?’ Others may have tried to follow the plan until that plan got derailed.

Changes in business practices, disappearing pension plans and investment losses have adversely affected the retirement dreams of a great percentage of Americans. The health care issues of seniors today may now threaten their retirement dreams while adding to the overall costs to insurance companies and to Medicare. Diverting retirement funds, intended for enjoyment and recreation, to pay for medical care, many seniors now find themselves unable to enjoy even a slight extravagance in their retirement. Instead, far too many seniors are barely maintaining their standard of living. Changes in how people plan for retirement must start much earlier.

If your retirement plan ends at the age of 65, it’s time for a new plan, one that includes what successful retirement means to you beyond the age of 65. The classic retirement model may have looked like a good plan years ago but the new generations of retirees, the baby boomers, seem unwilling to settle for that. For them, pleasure delayed, may be pleasured denied. Redefining retirement is the new catch phrase.

Industry analysts have debated for years the economic and social impact of the baby boomers hitting retirement age as they have for every milestone in the lives of the baby boomers. The boomer generation has altered every aspect of these milestones and not always in the expected manner.

Their ideas of retirement have turned many of the negatives of the old model around. The generation who grew up asking the questions, ‘Why?’ and ‘Why not?‘ to just about everything in life have carried those questions into retirement as well.

“Why can’t I keep working?” “Why can’t I live the good life now?” “Why should we settle for less?”

The active lifestyle that baby boomers have enjoyed throughout their working life continues into their retirement life. It isn’t enough to just be not working anymore. They demand more from life.

Everything this generation does is studied and surveyed. They were the first to be targeted by market analysts and set new standards for generations to come. How business markets to the boomers has also changed. The priorities set by the boomers, no matter what the venue, have become the standard across the country.

When the boomers needed new homes, suburban communities spread up all across the land. When they needed better diaper options, a whole new industry developed and the disposable diaper was created. When they needed better appliances, more camping choices, faster communication and countless other products, industry evolved and new businesses were formed, all to fulfill the wishes of the extraordinary demand by this generation for the new and improved.

The activity level of the newly retired has also impacted our communities. Well known for their activism in political and social issues their entire lives, this generation has brought that energy to their personal lives as well. No longer is a house in the suburbs enough. Now communities are being built to once again feed the need of this aging generation. These communities include a wide variety of amenities to attract these seniors. Fitness centers, walking trails, social outlets and hi-tech security systems are the new standard for these neighborhoods. Convenience to shopping and community centers located nearby is a must. Golf courses, complete with a country club atmosphere, are hi-lights that are very attractive to the active senior and not to be ignored.


We have all heard that variety is the spice of life and once again it is the generation with the can-do attitude that is changing what we consider normal. We want it all even if it turns out to be just a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

It is this sampling of life, this illusion of perpetual youth, which is the legacy that the baby boomer generation has bequeathed to the following generations.

“It’s a very funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”~William Somerset Maugham

Comments 34 comments

eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Some people who retire feel bad to retire, because they have worked all their lives to keep a job, then to walk away from probably the best job they have ever had, and making more money than they ever had. It feels strange for them to do that.

Keep on hubbing!


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment eovery. It is a big change for people that's for sure. Uncharted territory can be both exciting and scary.


CYBERSUPE profile image

CYBERSUPE 6 years ago from MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.

Yo Joni, I am there---Retired, but this latest financial crisis has hit me and other retirees very hard. Our retirement accounts have lost better than 66% of its value. I was born in the last great depression and if this sitution doesn't turn around I just might die in this depression. However Joni, I am retired and LOVING IT !!


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Glad to hear it Cybersure. It is sad to hear about the losses that people have had to take especially given that it was greed on the part of others that caused it.

Do you find that you need to manage your 'free' time more so the day doesn't just slip away?


CYBERSUPE profile image

CYBERSUPE 6 years ago from MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.

Joni, I do not have much free time. With 12 grandchildren, HubPages, Ebay, Cycling, a WIFE with long Honey do Lists---well you know------


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

I sure do Cybersupe God willing you have this lack of free time for a long time.


loveofnight profile image

loveofnight 6 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

a definite page turner, it is sad that we work so long to reach what we believe to be the end of the rainbow only to find out that someone took our pot of gold.......


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I enjoyed this read, and you are definitely right on!!


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thank you loveofnight. I know so many people whose retirement plans have had to change because their pot of gold has has come up short. But this is what their lives have always been about, changing needs.


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Carolina muscle, thank you for your comments. Glad you enjoyed it. We, Americans are remarkable people.


coffeesnob 6 years ago

Joni

I walked away from a job that I loved, that paid well, that served others 3 years before I could be vested to earn retirement...because I felt God calling me to do that which I was created to do - write. And I am sooo busy. But mostly I work on my book, which I hope to complete by the end of the yr. it's true, though, the activity doesn't stop and I find there is so much to do - This is a great hub..blessings

I am loving life! :0)

CS


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

That takes a lot of faith CS, to walk away 3 years before your vested. But what a statement of faith it is turning out to be. Kudos to you. Thanks for your comments.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

I love this, Joni. You are a great writer. I figure I am retiring from being a fulltime Mom and moving into the work force to support my kid's dreams. It's a whole new world out there... Thanks!


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

What a great outlook Storytellersrus. The world is waiting for you. :) Thanks for your comments.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

My dreams and many other Canadian boomers dreams were snuffed out with drastic changes to our portfolios, medical needs, and downsizing careers. Fortunately I am still in good health and if need be, still work part-time to help supplement my upcoming pension. There is no doubt, a tightening of the belt is required and more frugality in certain areas. It helps to have your home paid off and no debts looming. But overall it's tougher for a lot of us out there retiring for sure. Good hub, much appreciate the information you provided.


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Well thank you saddlerider1. Glad to hear that you are still in good health. Many of us are still working. Getting the house paid for is certainly a wonderful accomplishment.

Glad you stopped by.


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

Great topic, hadn't really thought how much retirement has been redefined? Loved the fishing picture! Wouldn't that be nice for a older couple, to have such joy and ambition after they retire:) Great Hubpage!


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thanks heart4theword. I sure appreciate the comments. I would love to think that everyone gets joy out of their lives.


K Partin profile image

K Partin 6 years ago from Garden City, Michigan

Hey Joni, I am a fellow Michigander. Great hub. My wife and I are recently retired coming up on 1 year and loving it!! And looking forward to many more years of happy retirement. Thanks for sharing. K.


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thanks K Partin. Glad you stopped by. Here's hoping that you have many more happy retirement years.


Putz Ballard profile image

Putz Ballard 6 years ago

Great hub, now that I'm retired I wonder how I ever found the time to actually work.


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Hi Putz Ballard, thank you for stopping by and commenting. That is the general consensus of many retirees.


katyzzz profile image

katyzzz 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

I hope many get to do these things, if that's what they want, while they still can. A great hub, Joni


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thank you for stopping by and commenting Katy. I hope they do too. Retirement means such different things to different people. It would be wonderful if they could all spend their retirement any way they choose. Unfortunately, it won't be that way for far too many folks.


gracenotes profile image

gracenotes 6 years ago from North Texas

Well, I retired early, and my investments have definitely taken a hit, but I am trying to live frugally until I can start dipping into retirement funds next year. I found out that it's pretty hard, in this economy, to get a part-time job.

It took me a year, and then I found HubPages. What a joy. I'm working toward building a supplemental income here, and I haven't given up that goal yet. :-)

By the way, retirement is great, even if I can't take fabulous vacations.


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Gracenotes, I'm glad you are enjoying your retirement. Here's hoping the Hubpages works out well for all of us. I'm happy that you stopped by and thank you for your comments.


Ann Lee profile image

Ann Lee 6 years ago

Interesting hub.


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thanks Ann. Glad you stopped by.


breakingnews profile image

breakingnews 6 years ago from Pakistan

Thanks for sharing this info, as so many people need this type of impotent information, so i can more say this hub is most wanted and Interesting .


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Why thank you breakingnews. Glad you stopped.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Hi Joni,

As you can see from my HubPages name I'm a boomer and proud of it! I'm recently retired and am loving it. A lot of people ask, "Don't you get bored?" and that just makes me smile cause to me every day's a new adventure, but then I felt that way even before retirement.

For me, the key is to have purpose and passion in life and if I can help others and also keep learning from others along my journey, that makes life all the sweeter. Which is why HubPages is a great place to hang out and contribute.

Thanks for sharing this article. I really enjoyed it.


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 5 years ago Author

Well thank you Happyboomernurse. Purpose and passion are qualities we all need a good dose of. Enjoy your retirement and thanks for your comments.


sameerk profile image

sameerk 5 years ago from India

nice one really loved it


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 5 years ago Author

Hello sameerk. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I really appreciate it.

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