Retirement is changing! As a matter of fact, many people currently facing retirement don’t think of this phase as retiring, but more of a midlife reinvention. Baby boomers are currently in this hot seat.
The demographic Baby Boomer typically refers to those born between 1945 and 1964. In 2018, this group is between 54 and 73. Baby Boomers benefited from an economic environment during their childhood that is unique in human history and led to the ascent of the middle class in the US. There was a rising tide of prosperity that “lifted all boats” and made hard work rewarding. Baby Boomers have made a mark in all phases of growing up and continue to put their mark on the life phases they pass through. The retirement phase is no different.
Baby boomers are forging new ground and exploring new lifestyles in this period of their lives where previous generations generally “retired” from their former active lives to a more passive lifestyle without making many changes in how or where they lived. Technological and medical advancements have provided boomers with many more alternatives in how and where they can spend their time.
How boomers are different from previous generations has a lot to do with how they define their retirement experience. In addition to their history being unique, how are boomers different today? They will live longer and are healthier. A large percentage of the 78 million American baby boomers are going to live from 10 to 25 years longer than their parents did. Many who reach retirement age now are physically healthy enough to run marathons, build houses and start new businesses. For these reasons, many of the current “retirement communities” have become less attractive for boomers who are seeking diversified lifestyles and new challenges.
Many boomers are finding that small towns can offer things not commonly found in retirement communities, such as employment opportunities and living among family and friends. Other boomers are choosing to move into urban areas to take advantage of amenities such as public transportation and cultural diversity. A few others are moving in with their grown children, either by choice or by financial necessity.
The desire for midlife reinvention is not just for those with adequate financial resources in retirement. Many boomers are choosing co-living arrangements not just to share expenses but to create the community lifestyle they desire.
Boomers are better educated than previous generations, and most have jobs they can physically continue longer. The magic age of retirement, 65, is losing its identity with boomers. Many are choosing to work longer at their current job while others are reinventing their careers as part-time, contract or project workers. They choose new work in an area where they have a passion, such as a non-profit or a hobby. Many are taking their education and skills and starting their own businesses.
The Bottom Line
Boomer characteristics, health, education, longevity and work ethic, help them uniquely define their retirement phase. Technology gives the baby boomer generation choices that did not exist previously. The boomers are blazing a trail through the traditional retirement landscape in the 21st century replacing it with reinvention.
If you are approaching your “retirement”, don’t wait to ask yourself: How can I take advantage of my health, education, longevity and work ethic to create my reinvention?